A colleague asked me: “What’s the stigma with meeting people online?” My concise honest response would be: “Because people don’t want to admit that their loneliness led them to take a chance in finding a relationship via the cold-hearted technology.”
However, we all know there’s more to it than that. So long as our generation continues to let technology be intertwined with every action in our daily lives, we will continue to read and hear stories about how either online dating led to a happily-ever after or an epic fail. Remember though, people usually only share stories when something “bad” happens, so usually we are already jaded by those stories of the Craig’s List Killer, etc.
Along those lines, my female cousin (and her roommates) tried Match.com and blogged about how many “creepers” contacted her. My childhood female friend made a Match account too because she relocated Northeast for a job and wanted to meet more people. While she didn’t gain a boyfriend out of it, she did meet a few guys. Nothing romantic came about, but one of the two stories I can clearly recall was when one guy stood her up.
On the other hand, my stellar male Yale alum lawyer friend once jokingly asked if I was thinking about Okcupid. My facial reaction must have answered his question because he responded with “I’ve gone on a few dates with girls. Some of my female friends tell me that they clean up well on that site.” With that in mind, I seriously contemplated joining the community for a bit, especially since it’s a free (pros & cons) service. When I told my close “perfect-husband material” male cousin that I was thinking about this, he admitted that him and a bunch of guys had made accounts in college. I was stunned. Not because I never thought he would turn to online dating, but because this was the second male that I view as solid relationship material to tell me that they were on an online dating site. He wasn’t active on the site, so he let me gain access to get a feel for the setup before I created one. I wasn’t particularly impressed and never opened my own.
How do you find that fairy-tale prince/ss with online dating? First, don’t do what my female cousin did. If you’re going to do online dating, you need to dive in with a positive mind-set hoping that there will be a positive outcome(even if it’s just a friendship). Second, be understanding and smart. Realize that there are a range of people on the dating site; not everyone will be a winner but also don’t be shallow. Third, ignore the “stigma” that my friend asked me about, which in turn prompted this post.
Based on my experiences, my male gay new to the area colleague should have more luck than someone like me because I’m already slightly tainted. When I complaining about how I needed someone I could “force” to spend time with me was when a few of my friends suggested going online. My immediate reaction was “I must be desperate.” For some reason that another characteristic placed upon online dating. It might be because these advertisements run clips that say “Oh after 12 years of unsuccessful dating, I finally found the love of my life.” You also hear personal accounts of a supervisor saying that she was a workaholic until about 10 years ago and then went online and is now happily married. It makes you instantly think, these people must not have had lives and been “forced” to turn to online dating. However, this isn’t usually the case. Sometimes people don’t realize that they aren’t actually “trying” to find a relationship the correct way. Whether they simply weren’t in the right mindset to be seeking out someone else or that they weren’t going to social places to meet others because they were simply unavailable, but then when they commit to online dating, they are ready and determined to “find love”, which is what they accomplish through online dating. Other times we become so consumed with what is happening in the moment that we often forget about how to plan for the future. If this is the case, then online dating could be your tool.
For me, I am going to actively avoid trying to use online dating because I don’t want to “force” anyone to hangout with me. Rather, I am going to make a conscientious effort to put myself in situations where I can meet people. Not because it’s a last resort, but because I recognize that there is a very real possibility of me finding someone that way.