In the late 20th century the most common way men and women met was through friends or through work. There were many benefits to this; when meeting through friends, you know something about their history and background as well as being more likely to have shared values and interest. In the last 15 years this has started to change with the event of online dating.
Online dating can be a great way to meet other single people, with a much larger pool of people to meet than through friends or work. Some of my clients have been reluctant to do online dating however; they have said they would much prefer an introduction by friends. A recent survey has revealed that whilst nine out of ten Brits think online dating has become more acceptable in the past three years, 84% don't believe it's the best way to meet a long-term partner.
The survey also showed that classic online fears are still common amongst singletons. Many are reluctant to try Internet dating because they're worried their date might be "weird" in person (15%) or not look like their picture (8%). Many have had negative experiences; nearly a third (29%) admitting that they have resorted to running away from an online date, got drunk (20%), or faked an illness or emergency (9%) because it was so bad.
With single people also admitting that they are three times more likely to trust a Facebook profile (40%) than an online dating profile (14%), Macmillan, the cancer charity, has just launched My Mate Your Date, this is a unique social media fundraiser allowing people to ask friends to set them up through Facebook, and raise money for Macmillan at the same time.
In my opinion, this idea combines social media with the more traditional method of being introduced by friends, and thus takes the best of both worlds - the wider pool of possibilities offered by Facebook and the benefits of a traditional introduction by friends, which allays any concerns people might have about meeting strangers. Whilst only a third (32%) of single people have previously gone on a date set up by friends, 69% said they would be happy for a friend to suggest dates through Facebook.
With our ever-increasing schedules, people are often too busy to play cupid or too embarrassed to ask friends to set them up. This gives you the chance to ask for introductions from your most trusted Facebook friends and at the same time helping a charity. Instead of paying an online dating subscription fee, you donate money for every date and all the money raised going to help ensure no-one faces cancer alone. This should give you the warm, fuzzy feeling you get from helping people before the dating has even begun.