Internet dating, social dating, Facebook dating, or the old-fashioned way of meeting offline at work or with a little help from your friends or grandmother. There are so many more options available to singles dating in the digital age, yet so many can't seem to connect. What's a single dater to do?
As an online dating expert and coach, one of the top questions I'm frequently asked is, which method is better? Is online dating versus meeting someone offline best to find the perfect date or someone to spend the rest of your life with?
While experts might not agree on this topic, even offline Matchmakers are incorporating online dating and social media into their business models. I believe the answer is clear. There is no one-size fits all formula. As each person's relationship goals may differ from their best friends or neighbors, know that from hook-ups to marriage proposals, there's a site and way for everyone.
Whether creating an Internet dating profile leads you to marriage or not, finding love online needs to be part of your dating regime, just like finding a job online from a message board or Linkedin can help you find your dream job. Being able to grow and maintain your relationship offline is critical as you go through the different phases of a relationship.
As one who believes in casting a wide net, I tell singles that you really need to do both. It's not one-way or the other. In reality, online dating, if done correctly, is just a method or service that will get you out there in the real world to meet someone offline and meet more people. Even sites such as Match.com, Plenty of Fish, and Spark Networks' Hurry Date take their online daters offline with their special events divisions.
However, some really think the process of finding someone to love is an either-or proposition. I beg to differ. If you're truly not comfortable with the computer and don't think your iPhone or Android is truly a SmartPhone, you're leaving opportunities behind that could change your relationship status to "In a Relationship," "Engaged" or "Married," while watching your friends cheer you on.
Here are some pros and cons on finding love both online and offline.
Pro: Over 40 million singles in the U.S have tried online dating.
Con: It's a crowded digital marketplace and can be an exhausting experience.
Pro: One out of five relationships start online. Whether it's on Social media, Facebook, Twitter, a mobile app, or traditional online dating site, there are a lot of success stories.
Con: People lie about their age, weight, height, income, and marital status. Singles get frustrated after a few bad dates.
Pro: You can meet people outside of your geographic area and social circle with similar interests. You'll meet more people, so you can learn what you're truly looking for in a date, mate, or relationship.
Con: It can become addicting to some, who never meet offline or are looking for the next pretty face. Beware of the Digital Pen-Pal Syndrome.
Pro: It's efficient and available 24-hours a day.
Con: It's feels like a full-time job for many and you must be organized.
Pro: Many sites provide matching tools and send you emails of suggested matches to make it easier for you to view potential dates.
Con: Many singles limit their search criteria to height, zip code, or income and can miss the opportunity to meet a compatible match.
Pro: You may have friends in common which will make you more comfortable.
Con: You're not really sure of their relationship status.
Pro: You can determine if there's chemistry in person sooner.
Con: You're limited to your existing social circles or regular activities and will meet less people.
Pro: It's pre-dating, without the pressure of wondering if you're date's profile is accurate.
Con: Singles may feel shy and not ask someone out for an official date.
Pro: You can easily date in groups, while developing new friendships with people with similar interests.
Con: You're limiting yourself to a certain geographic area.
Pro: Dating sites have entered the events business giving you more choices to meet in person, without the pressure.
Con: You're not really sure if someone is interested in you romantically at a group event.
At the end of the digital day, if you're serious about meeting someone special, you must include a combination of both online and offline dating in your routine. Remember the goal of online dating is to take your relationship offline. Riding into the digital sunset together is now a way of everyday life.
Julie Spira is an Online Dating Expert who was a very early adopter of the Internet. She created her first dating profile almost 20 years ago and coaches singles on the dating scene. Julie's the author of the bestseller, The Perils of Cyber-Dating: Confessions of a Hopeful Romantic Looking for Love Online. Follow @JulieSpira on Twitter and sign up for the Free Weekly Flirt newsletter.
First appeared in CyberDatingExpert.com
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