Online dating can be effective but it can also be a big barrier when it comes to getting out there and meeting someone you spark with. Whether you perceive it as the final frontier in your quest for love, or an efficient tool for playing the numbers game, there are at least five good reasons to lay off it and get social.
In my experience organizing dating events for Londoners, there's a lot to be gained from having a little faith in the old 3 step approach: drink, approach, flirt.
Here are my 5 main gripes with online dating based on personal experience and stories from clients:
1. It's harder to seek out the casual characters.
If a man walks up to you at a bar, checks out your rack and uses a bad line in a sleazy tone, it's clear to you right away he isn't there to woo. However, if the same line is delivered over the web, you only have the text to go on - no body language and no tone of voice. There's too much room for analysis. Maybe it was ironic? Maybe he was merely parodying a sleaze? Before you know it you've given him the benefit of the doubt and set up a date.
2. The face doesn't correspond to the person.
Some people don't take good pictures and some take great ones. Either way, it has nothing to do with whether you'll find them attractive in the flesh. When people apply to my agency, they submit pictures and I then meet them in person. 9 times out of 10 I'm forced to completely reform my judgments. Often those who I wasn't so sure about in the looks department are real beauties in the flesh. Others who looked great online, lack a little of the fire or charm that came across in their writing. The point is, pictures mean nothing. It's about your personal assessment of attractiveness, rather than the objective lens.
3. It's not just a numbers game.
Online dating opens you up to hundreds of potential matches at the click of a button. This makes us think we have more options. In reality, it means that people are quicker to dismiss you on the basis of a misplaced comma or spelling error. In real life, we at least let them finish their pitch.
4. It's a pride thing.
Tell someone you've set up a dating profile and, wrongly so, they judge you immediately. Even if they think it's the right thing to do, and you're on a more socially acceptable site like MySingleFriend.com, there's a hint of pity in their eyes. But tell them you're hitting a singles night with your friends, and they're more likely to think YOLO! Suddenly you're a brave and brassy young thing.
5. The awkward transition from online to offline.
You may have met someone online and spent weeks engaging in quick fire banter, getting to know them and finding a place of comfort in your online relationship. But eventually you will have to meet up with them. It's always awkward meeting a blind date for the first time, but imagine the added pressure of knowing that you need to translate your online 'spark' into the real world. With more pressure, there's more room for embarrassment, panic and inevitable disappointment, as online chat fails to live up to the real thing.