In recent times, yes, really, not that long ago, people met by chance at the grocery store or the bar, or perhaps a set up through a friend. They then got to know each other, learn about each other and hear it all in context. But times have changed, and to this generation the idea of going out on a date without first doing your research is unthinkable, never mind the idea of just “meeting someone”.
In fact in today’s society it’s almost easier to turn online and visit any of a growing number of online dating sites to find your perfect match. Sites like Match.com and eHarmony work with users and questionnaires to match potential dates with similar interests, making it easy to find someone else that also has a deep love of monster trucks and embroidery. And social media sites like Twitter and Facebook have helped many people overcome geographical boundaries as they meet up in interest groups and find themselves attracted to someone from across the globe.
The numbers show how Americans in particular are moving towards online romance in droves. In the United States 41 million users have tried online dating sites and their use resulted in a whopping 17% of all marriages in the US in 2013. And other studies have suggested that those whose online dating turns into marriage have more successful, longer lasting relationships.
If you’re about to start dating online it’s best that you realise it has as many potential pitfalls as it does benefits. While it can be a great way to meet people it can also set you up for some disappointment. Consider how you present yourself on your social media profiles. Are you being truthful or will it end up in embarrassment when your date realises that you used a younger or thinner picture, or one that’s not really you at all. Because you can be sure that they’ve seen it, after all you’ve researched them already too right? Snooped through their Facebook and Twitter, looked up their friends, what movies they like, and where they work. You can also find out about ex relationships, see pictures of them partying and at some not so proud moments, or discover if he’s a mamma’s boy, and of course, they’ve likely discovered all the same things about you too. It’s common and can be useful to weed out potential losers, but can actually have a further detrimental effect that many don’t consider – the feeling that you already know someone before you meet them.
Sure, feeling that you know someone already sounds like a great idea, after all it skips all that awkward getting to know you stuff right?, it also, well, skips all that awkward getting to know you stuff that can make a first date so sweet, special, and romantic.