Computer Love

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Popular dating apps like Tinder have helped to make online dating almost cool. Granted, everyone I know who has used the app has at least one horror story to tell. That doesn’t necessarily mean much though, because just about every woman who goes on dates has at least one horror story to tell. There are some serious pros to online dating. Like anything else in life, there are also some pretty significant cons. Once we review both of those, then I’ll provide some online dating tips to help reduce the chances that your next meet up will be a nightmare.

Goods things first:

  1. If you live in a small town where everyone knows everyone else’s business and the dating pool is quite shallow, online dating helps to expand the dating pool. Instead of being limited to just the guys or girls in your town, you now have access to potential compatible mates all over the country/world.
  2. You have the chance to have real conversations with the person, and get to know them and how their mind works before worrying about the first date outfit. This has benefits. First dates often come with nervousness. This nervousness tends to prevent us from putting our best faces forward. Sentences come out wrong, there are those dreaded awkward moments. Getting to know each other a little beforehand ensures that you’ll have things to talk about.
  3. Because your interaction at first is limited to online and telephone communication, emphasis is placed on what matters: you. Him or her. Your personalities and any potential connection.
  4. Not being face to face right away can also take a lot of the nervous edge off, which allows you to get comfortable speaking with each other. This lends to a more natural style of flirting.
  5. Since you get a sense of the person before meeting, you can avoid going out of your way to get dressed up for a date or shell out money for the date, only to find out that you don’t vibe with the person at all. You can make sure that if you are getting dressed up or shelling out money, it’s for someone who you’ve already established a connection with.
  6. Thankfully, that old “if you have to look for someone online you’re desperate” mentality is going away. People are realizing that we are in a technological age, people have busy schedules, and it can be a convenient, efficient way of getting to know someone.

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And voila. I’ve made online dating sound so appealing, a few of you are fighting the urge to hop onto Match.com, one of the most popular paid online dating sites. Those are the highlights, the positive aspects of online dating. But trust me, it’s not all sunshine and roses when it comes to online dating – and some of you out there know this from experience. Here are some of the drawbacks:

  1. One of the upsides to dating was that you have access to people all over the world. And one of the drawbacks? … That you have access to people all over the world. Seriously. Imagine seeing someone’s photo and having that first sense of initial attraction, and having a conversation with them, only to find out they live in Italy, while you hail from North Carolina, in the USA. Meeting each other won’t be cheap and when it comes to online dating, there are always risks with meeting up anyway – which we’ll go over farther down the list. It’s nice to have such a deep dating pool to select from, but there is nothing fun about falling for someone you aren’t able to spend one-on-one time with on a consistent basis.
  2. Another pro was getting to know someone before you first meet with them. This is also a con – in some cases. People are online dating more intelligently these days for the most part but the occasional catfish still happens. For those who aren’t familiar with the slang term of catfish, it refers to someone who uses fake photographs or lies about a major detail and shows up looking like a completely different person. In a day and age when just about every cell phone on the market has a video camera, and people are still not claiming to have access to a camera. And this doesn’t even have to be limited to looks and aesthetics, by the way. Sometimes people lie about their marital status, what they’re really seeking, or hide major personality flaws, such as a verbally abusive nature.
  3. Dating apps. I kind of just want to leave it at that, but because I’m a thorough person by nature, I have to explain. There are going to be the exceptions to this rule; there always are. But dating apps are…kind of the devil. I can’t even begin to tell you how many female friends have told me that the guy they were into on the app were just interested in hooking up – despite claiming otherwise. This is something that often happens outside of online dating, so it shouldn’t come as much as a surprise…especially considering the young target audience for a lot of these hip, edgy dating apps. I’m on the fence about online dating in general, but can say with certainty that I personally wouldn’t ever use a dating app.
  4. Remember that pro I was talking about when I said that you don’t have to worry about the typical first-date nervousness, because you’ve already established a rapport? Sure, you don’t have to worry as much about stumbling over your words, but since you have spent time getting to know this person, maybe you’ll still be nervous – just in a different way. There’s an emotional investment that has already started to build and because you’ve gotten to see how this person’s mind works, you really want the date to go well. Or maybe you feel pressure to seem just as interesting in person as you did on the phone. When it comes to dating, it seems that some form of nervousness is inevitable.
  5. Have I mentioned the potential distance yet? I did in #1? Well, tough. I’m mentioning it again. There’s nothing like being head over heels for someone, but having to catch a flight to see them. You might really be jonesing for a backrub for them, but not until you’ve booked a flight, possibly a hotel, checked in luggage, etc. It’s much easier to drive ten to thirty minutes away to someone, much more convenient.

That is most of the good, the bad, and the ugly. Those who are online dating veterans might have other pros and cons to add. Online dating isn’t for the faint of heart. Regular dating is tough enough. Some quick dating tips, before I close out the article:

  1. When getting the person, get to know them. If you’re looking for something real, don’t just carelessly flirt without taking note of the person’s tics. When people have personality flaws or when they’re lying about something, they often drop red flags. Even though you’re having conversations over the phone and online, there are still things you can pay attention to: how they speaks about the people in their life, how they regard other people in general, their viewpoints on certain topics, certain habits they might mention, past behaviors or possibly past crimes, etc. Pay attention and while it’s perfectly fine to have fun during these conversation, asks questions.
  2. Be yourself. Don’t try to be someone you’re not. You wouldn’t want someone to trick you or lie to you, so don’t be that person. There are people in this world who would appreciate you for who you are. Allow them the opportunity to find you, instead of attempting to change for someone else.
  3. Don’t be afraid to flirt. After all, attraction is an important element of dating. Don’t be overbearing with the flirting attempts, to the point where it’s unnatural. Don’t feel like you need to hide your sensuality either, though. On the flip side of that, reveal your sensuality in doses – don’t make it the absolute focus, or else you might shift what he/she seeks from you.
  4. Video, video, video, video. I’ll even say it a fifth time: video. The year is currently 2017, meaning most people have access to camera phones. If they don’t, they know someone who does. Be suspicious if someone sends only a few pics. Hell, be suspicious if someone sends only a ton of pics. If they can’t video chat with you before meeting up, really consider whether you should be willing to meet them in the first place. It should be a prerequisite of meeting, and will help ease some of the nervousness of that first meet since he/she will know exactly what you look like. And speaking of that first meet…
  5. Stranger Danger: Sure, you know him. But you don’t really know him. Do yourself a favor and meet him in a very public place on the first few meets. We’ve all heard the horror tales. Don’t end up one of them. Make sure your friends know where you’re going, who you’re going to meet. If you can, even provide a friend or family member with his phone number, just so there is a trace of the person you’re meeting – in case something scary goes down. And to the young men who are smirking, feeling confident because they’re a man and can’t be pushed around…there are some women out there in the world who are psychotic enough to instill a true sense of fear in you. For your sake, I hope you don’t come across one of them. But you should practice safety, just as the young ladies out here. Fists often don’t hold up well to knives or guns. Or for all you know, she could have a gang of guys waiting to rob you. Worst-case scenarios here, of course – but you never know. Act as such.
  6. Don’t go into online dating desperate. I didn’t know how else to say this. But you shouldn’t go into any form of dating desperate. Don’t go in with the mentality that you have to find someone, that you need to be with someone. You’re going in with the wrong frame of mind and since you’re looking so hard, you’ll find something – it just might not be what you bargained for. When we are desperate, we attempt to force situations that might have otherwise happened organically, over time. If you find yourself feeling at all desperate or needy, take some time with yourself and get to a point where you don’t feel like you need another person to complete yourself. Then when you are in a more relaxed mind frame and just ready to get to know someone, assess your options.

Online dating has the potential to be nerve-wracking, stressful, and complete horrific – but if you proceed with an open heart, open mind, and caution, it can also have the potential to be one of the single most beautiful experiences of your life.

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