Scroll and swipe: 7 reasons you should better meet people in real life
The benefit of online dating is pretty obvious. It’s an easy way to meet a range of potential partners whenever you want. But is all this comfort also quality?
Many singles are looking for great love online these days. Some even find what they are looking for there, while others drag themselves frustrated from one date to the next. There is now a lot of scientific research on this modern form of dating that gives us a little perspective. However, many studies show that there are still many reasons to look away from smartphones and try to meet people in the traditional way, i.e. face-to-face.
What are the cons of online dating and why should you put more effort into getting to know someone in real life?
1. The unlimited options may make it difficult for you to decide
It sounds like a singles’ paradise: an unlimited pool of potential partners who are all looking for love. However, such a large pool also has disadvantages. Not only can it make people feel less satisfied with their final decision, but it can also make them freeze and make no choice at all. In fact, a 2012 study found that people who dated online were less willing to commit, even though they had almost unlimited options, as is the case with most online dating portals. A lot of choice is not always better.
2. You run the risk of viewing potential dates or matches as goods
Who does not know that? You swipe one profile after the next and scan each photo in seconds. The selection has never been so quick. But with every swipe, the demands also increase. A comprehensive study of different dating websites in 2012 found that access to a seemingly endless supply of profiles led people to view their potential partners as a commodity. In these circumstances, it is quite easy for people to become overly picky and perfectionist.
3. Communicating in real life before the date can lead to building unrealistic expectations about your date
This has certainly happened to most of the people who use online platforms for data. You get to know someone online and at first glance (regarding the profile picture, of course) you are blown away. The problem is that we humans like to picture things up before the first meeting takes place. And when the time comes, we are amazed because we expected a completely different person. Maybe the guy looks like the one in the pictures, but somehow his way is completely different from what you thought? This is no wonder: According to science, chats that take place longer than 17 days before the face-to-face meeting often lead to great disappointments, as people tend to fill information gaps about a potential partner with characteristics they would like to have. Meeting a person within 17 to 23 days of first contact seems like the worst time, because then your idealizations have just peaked. This was confirmed by a study at the University of South Florida.
4. You trust dating websites’ compatibility algorithms that are not as effective as they sound
Another possible limitation is that websites may not know how people will behave once they have reached a match, as the intake questionnaires only collect information about singles before they find their potential partners. Factors like communication styles, problem solving approaches, and romantic compatibility are really fundamental to predicting the success or failure of a partnership. However, they cannot be recorded in an algorithm on the Internet. When you get to know someone in real life, things are much easier.
5. The ones suggested to you may suit your interests, but less suit your personality
If you want to find out which singles share your interests, online dating is great. However, if you want to find out which singles match your personality, you will likely have to find out in real life. According to a 2013 survey by the Pew Research Center, 54 percent feel that their potential dates misrepresent their personality on their profile.
6. There are loads of men out there who are just out to molest women online
Such men, of course, not only lurk in every corner of the Internet, but also everywhere in real life. However, they are more anonymous on the internet and may feel less inhibited to harass women. The same can of course also apply to women. It is estimated that 28 percent of users on dating websites or apps were contacted in a way that made them feel harassed or uncomfortable. A full 42 percent of women are affected.
7. Usually there is no personal meeting anyway
Often these pages are not taken very seriously or a meeting simply does not take place because it is too complex or too time-consuming. Many want to remain without obligation or quickly lose interest again. A third of the users do not have a personal date with their matches. Apparently nobody has time for this or it simply fails because of the first contact.
Ultimately, this does not mean that people shouldn’t be dating online or that online dating is inferior to traditional means of getting in touch or getting to know someone. However, it can be helpful to consider these insights as you navigate today’s confusing world of dating both online and in real life.