Let's face it, dating can be terrifying. Not only do you have to be concerned about getting your heart broken, but you also have to be worried about allowing a complete stranger into your personal life, your social circle and your home. You may think I'm referring to the horrors of online dating, but I am not. I'm talking about old-school dating. In my experience as online dating coach, I've seen that it is much riskier to meet someone using traditional dating avenues: bars, grocery stores, the office or at a party.
Although there are scary stories like the Match.com attacker that I wrote about in 2013, when you consider that a whopping 10 percent of all Americans are on a dating site or app, those cases are still outside the norm.
Technological and cultural shifts have made online dating mainstream and have shed light on the frightening factors of dating the old-fashioned way. Still skeptical? Here are four reasons why online dating is less scary than meeting "in real life" and dating the traditional way:
1. Rejection Is Harder in Person -- It's been said that with great risk comes great reward and that has never been more true than in matters of the heart. If you cannot open up to someone or simply ask a person on a date knowing that there is a high probability you will be rejected, you will have a hard time finding true love. The humiliation of face-to-face rejection (being told you're not good enough, pretty enough or smart enough to date a person you're interested in) is gut-wrenching. Online dating and texting has created a buffer to soften the blow of receiving bad news, allowing people to take bigger risks in finding love. Feeling rejected? Just delete!
2. New Technology Gives Peace of Mind -- Two of the most common complaints I hear from online daters is that they are averse to giving out their phone number and they wish they could ensure the person they were chatting with online is real. Luckily, as with most modern dilemmas, "there's an app for that." Recently, I discovered bTru, an app that allows singles to not only call their date from within the app without divulging their phone number but also run an employment level background check on them. Herb Rim, founder of bTru says, "With bTru, you can get the truth before you agree to a date. And save yourself a ton of time and emotional energy." When you meet a stranger offline, it's harder to go through this authentication process and in our instant-gratification-driven society, time and emotional energy is worth its weight in gold.
3. Increased Workload May Be Causing Workplace Dating -- In the current economy many workers are logging more hours than ever before. According to a recent Gallup Poll, 40 percent of U.S. workers clock over 40 hours per week. Could this be one of the reasons that the youngest working Americans are more accepting of office romance? Eighty-four percent of millennials said they would have a relationship with a co-worker compared to just 29 percent of Baby Boomers. With so much time being spent at work, it makes sense that is the pool that they would first turn to for dating, but it comes with a host of consequences that are larger than just having your heart broken. Companies are cracking down from the top down with the CEOs of Best Buy, Hewlett-Packard, and Restoration Hardware in recent years all being forced out due to workplace romances.
4. The Hangout Date Has Replaced Courting Altogether -- At the very least when you connect with someone on a dating site you have the clarity that you're meeting for a date -- traditionally the first step in building a relationship. New data has revealed that 69 percent of people are unclear if they are on a "hangout" or if it's an actual date. It's hard to build intimacy when you're starting from a place of complete ambiguity. If you've swiped right, you know that there is some level of attraction between you.
Technology is making our lives easier every day-by-day, so it's no surprise that dating is just another aspect of life that becomes less stressful the more it syncs with technology. Opening your heart and sharing who you truly are to someone is scary enough, but online dating is taking a lot of the fear out of falling in love, one click at a time.
Dating sites see the largest number of new members between Christmas and Valentine's Day. If you're looking for love online, check this out.