PlentyOfFish recently announced it has surpassed 100 million users worldwide -- that's enough people looking for dates to fill 2000 Yankee Stadiums. So with more of us online dating than ever before in this hyper-connected world of ours, why is it so easy to feel like a drop in the ocean?
Of course, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to why exactly you haven't yet found someone, but here are 3 reasons you may be feeling like the modern dating landscape is nothing but a lonely, desolate plain.
1. You're spending too much time cultivating an image.
Crafting our online avatars can take significant time and effort, yet what we're left with when any sort of dating profile is completed is more of an idealized online ambassador than an accurate reflection of who we really are. While it's completely natural to create a sort of parallel version of ourselves when we think it will make us more appealing, it's really just distancing us from what should be a very social experience.
And I get it, we're living in an Instagram world where the bar for adorable quotes and how we photograph ourselves has been set impossibly high. So instead of being 1 out of approximately 500 other men in your city who are hugging tigers in Thailand in their profile images, choose to upload the one at your family reunion last summer instead. Rather than being 1 out of approximately 100 million other single people who like "walks on the beach" and "going out for dinner", choose to share a unique experience or an anecdote. Treat your online conversations the same way - don't be so concerned with how you're appearing online that the actual human interaction takes a backseat.
2. You're thinking big... but too big.
When you sign up to an online dating site, you're being released into a terrifying new eco-system. Suddenly, you're faced with what appears to be endless options to temporarily hold your attention, and it becomes difficult to choose just one person.
Although our prospective dates start out as perfect strangers, we're already privy to details like their profession, education level, and whether or not they have a car or even want children -- all before we speak a word to them. I mean, what if you agree to date a guy with a master's degree and that same day a similar guy, but with a Ph.D., shows up in your Matches?
So although the process of dating (and elimination) has been effectively streamlined, we're still left feeling a little dissatisfied with our choices. To combat this, we need to simplify.Try identifying just 5 realistic must-haves for a partner, and aim to arrange a date with those who appear to meet this criteria. This way, you're able to stick to your core values while keeping an open mind.
3. You're not taking risks.
With more than 4 million logins every day and 30,000 messages being sent each minute on PlentyOfFish, it would appear that conversations are being started online. That said, establishing meaningful personal relationships takes courage, and that means engaging in your communities both online and offline. If you're still sending the same copy/paste note to 10 people each time you login or simply waiting for people to message you all the time, you've arrived at Complacentville.
Online communication will never be as valuable or as real as an old fashioned, face-to-face conversation. Next time you're using a dating app while commuting or standing in line for a coffee, I challenge you to look up, and start a conversation with someone. Of course, this does mean stepping out of your comfort zone, but I assure you, the investment in your real life social network will be worth it. At the very least, you'll have a brand new anecdote for your dating profile about that time you struck up a conversation with that total weirdo on your way to work.
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