OPINION: Finding a significant other in the digital age

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Besides going out in Aggieville, there are dozens of ways to build relationships. OkCupid, Tinder and Match.com are just a few to online dating platforms. People are growing more open to the idea of meeting someone online. The Pew Research Center reported in 2013 that almost half of U.S. citizens know someone who has formed a relationship that started online. Is it easy? Sure. Is it the best way to acquire a significant other? Debatable.

Some people still prefer to approach dating and relationships in a more old-fashioned way, and refuse to adapt use these new dating sites. There is still a relatively small number of people meeting their spouses or significant others online. Only 5 percent of couples met their significant others online, according to The Pew Research Center.

Those who believe chivalry is not dead have a point. Online dating runs several risks, including deception via the Internet. You may have a certain perception of the person you’re talking, and, upon meeting them, they turn out to be someone completely different. An online profile can transform a person in ways that users cannot even imagine.

There is a silver lining in this whole argument that chivalry is dead. Upon physically meeting a person, you can be a gentlemen and do things like buy drinks, hold doors open and spout random compliments that your date wants to hear. In short, you can be chivalrous. There is nothing about the Internet that says you can’t be polite and charming, right?

When you’re online, all you have is a keyboard or your phone to utilize for things like flirting. If you choose a specific dating platform, you can also use a webcam to interact with the other person through video. Sites like Omegle and ChatRoulette have this option. These are new features to the online dating business. Thousands of people used an computerized dating service developed by Harvard students as early as 1965, according to the Los Angeles Times. They functioned much like newer dating websites do, all hoping to find users a like-minded match.

Online dating, though, isn’t a hindrance but rather an enhancement to the world of relationships.

Your personality doesn’t change online

When you’re online, you’re still you. Your personality doesn’t change. Just like texting a friend, you can put your personality into your words. You can use emoticons or silly words to showcase who you are. When you talk to someone online, you’re basically texting them.

The older generations would argue that it’s hard to show off your personality through a computer screen. Being able to speak with your own voice proves to be the most efficient way to showcase who you are. If the person you were talking to online, though, was looking for an attractive voice in someone, they’d ask for your number or wouldn’t be online in the first place. Someone who is going to judge you based on the sound of your voice probably isn’t someone you want to date.

Time is on your side

When you meet someone in person, the pacing and conversation is immediate. You’re the front man on stage, and every second counts. If you can’t impress him or her in a minute, you may be doomed. Not all of us think on our toes as well as we would like.

Online, though, you get a bit more breathing room. If you match with someone on Tinder, you have as long as you want to respond however you would like, compared to conversations in person or on the phone. An hour or more could go by before you needed to say anything to a potential match.

With online dating sites, time is on your side. You can plan questions ahead of time and think about what they might want to talk about. Use their user profile to construct and guide your conversation. When you think you have a good game plan, go ahead and hit that enter key.

You’re still headed in the right direction

It does not matter whether you meet someone physically or online. In the end, you’re still looking for a relationship. There are some relationships, though, that stay online. Users must break the cycle and plan a meeting if they ever plan on moving the relationship forward.

At that stage in the game, you’ve already had several conversations that showcase who you are, and you might have a good sense of who they are as well. That first meeting could be well worth the wait.

There are many viable ways to finding significant others including online dating platforms. Explore all of these options when looking for a relationship, because you never know who you might meet, just in time for Valentine’s Day.

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