Opinion: Online dating isn’t always the best ‘how we met’ story

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When I think of online dating, the first sites that come to mind are eHarmony and Match.com. Both of these sites have been around for over 10 years and are, in my opinion, more popular with a middle-aged demographic. While both of these sites have good reviews and great success stories, there are other options out there that were created to target college students.

A popular dating application called Tinder has been spreading across college campuses since 2012. Tinder allows users to view other users within a 100 mile radius with a self-designated set preference of age, distance and gender. Tinder is available to anyone with a Facebook that is 18 years or older; however, in my opinion, it is favored more by college students, age 18-25.

Speaking of Facebook, can that be considered an online dating site too? I think Facebook and other social media site can definitely fall under this category. When Mark Zuckerberg created the site, who knows if it was his plan for people to meet and fall in love? But it happens. My sister and brother-in-law are prime examples. They are both in their 20s and met online when they noticed each others profiles through a mutual Facebook friend. They have been happily married for two years.

We all know that the dating game isn’t easy whether you meet someone in person or online. While there are benefits to online dating, there are also drawbacks that should be taken into account.

Pros
1. Online dating can make it easier to meet people that you naturally wouldn’t meet in a social setting. To me, the only difference in online dating verses the more traditional way of dating is simply how you initially meet and get to know someone. However, online dating can open up a wide range of perspective dates by giving you the option to meet people inside and outside of your area.

2. With online dating, there isn’t as high of a commitment level as being setup to go on an in-person date. Whether you are setup by a friend or are causally asked out on a date by the person themselves, it could potentially be really awkward when you don’t know anything about your date. What if it ends badly? You then run the risk of hurting your friend’s feelings that brought you two together or seeing your date around town. That might not be the end of the world for some of you but, if you’re anything like me, it’s awkward. Online dating gives you the power to see what’s out there and talk to people you may be interested in. At the end of the day though, if you didn’t find anyone you connect with, there’s always tomorrow.

3. This pro goes right along with my second pro. When you finally connect with someone online and decide to take your online dating to the next level by going on an actual date with someone you met, it can be less intimidating than talking to someone for the
first time in person. Meeting someone for the first time can be nerve
racking either way, but with online dating you hopefully know a little
bit more about the person you are meeting for a date and can have more
in-depth conversations.

Cons
1. Personal safety can be an issue with online dating. When it comes to dating in general, I think it is important to be safe and aware of your surroundings. With online dating, I think it is equally as important to be careful about what information you are putting on your online profiles. Although I tend to see the good in everyone, I constantly have to remind myself of what I am putting online on social media and the same goes for online dating sites. You can never truly know who is looking at your page and what their intentions are.

2. Along with not knowing who is following you in cyber space, you are also taking the risk of talking to someone who isn’t who they say they are. The term “catfishing” became popular after the documentary “Catfish” was released about photographer Nev Schulman, who developed a relationship with a woman he met on Facebook. However, the person behind the computer was not the person he thought he was talking to.

3. This last con maybe a bit cheesy. I think that while the concept of online dating is great, it’s less personal and unnatural in my opinion. I’m speaking to all the ladies right now when I say, a lot of us dream about how we will meet are future significant other and online dating isn’t really at the top of the list. For people like my sister, it worked out great for her and her story is really fun to tell. However, I personally don’t want my story to be, “We met on Tinder.”

So before you choose to date by using traditional dating sites, social media, dating apps, or regular old-fashion offline dating, weigh the pros and cons of each. Think about what is best for you and your situation. Most importantly though, stay safe.

Hayley Lollar is a junior in mass communications. Please send comments to opinion@kstatecollegian.com.

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