Have you ever used Tinder, OkCupid, Happen, or Plenty of Fish? If the answer is yes, you are definitely not alone! Online dating apps and websites such as these have become huge in the last few years and for good reason. Dating as an adult is HARD.
There is absolutely no shame in online dating, and sometimes it actually does work (I have an online dating success story myself!). However, there are quite a few negative aspects that we should be aware of as we are using these sites and apps.
1. Your confidence is constantly on an emotional roller coaster
From my own experience, and that of my friends and my clients, I know what it feels like when you message someone you are really excited about and then receive no response back. Or even worse, after talking for a long time to this amazing person, you go on a date that seems perfect and the person even says they had a great time too, and then you never hear from them again. Every time something like this happens your confidence gets a little shaken and you start to think, “can it really have just been that person being an idiot, or is there something wrong with me?’’ Then a hot person begins messaging you and your confidence sky rockets and things are great until he or she randomly stops talking to you and the negative thought process begins all over again.
2. You lose touch with what is actually on the other side of the screen
As we have seen with how big and terrible cyber bullying has become, people feel extremely empowered when they can hide behind their screen and talk to someone they don’t know. People then tend to forget that there are real live humans with feelings on the other side and they can become a bit desensitised to how their actions truly affect people. That is why people don’t even blink an eye while cutting off all communication with someone they’ve been talking to for a significant amount of time. Or why people don’t even hesitate to send extremely ridiculous and sometimes seriously offensive messages that they would never ever say to anyone in real life. (One of my favorites that I received a surprising number of times as a first message was ” I really want to dip you in Nutella and then lick it off of you” what? why?) It’s a good rule of thumb to just never say something that you wouldn’t say to that person if they were right next to you.
3. It is hard to stay true to the person you are in real life.
Being on a dating site can be overwhelming for both sexes. There is a LOT of messaging going on all the time. Sometimes you get a message that excites you instantly, and sometimes you can tell it’s probably not going to be a good match from the get go. But then how do you proceed next? Is it more polite to message someone back if you have no interest, or is it more polite to not answer so you don’t get their hopes up? The lack of an official online dating rule book makes things so unclear. You are constantly trying to figure out how to conduct yourself, and then you also have to figure out how to make your profile stand out. So you start trying a few different things to make you get the most positive responses, or you put up new pictures that show you in different angles, or you tweak your profile justttttt a bit to make it sound more exciting. Before you know it you’ve morphed from a 5′ 9″ guy who enjoys going to the gym into a 5’11” fitness model who also loves kittens.
4. It wastes a lot of precious time
If you actually kept track of how many hours you spend swiping on tinder, reading profiles on OK Cupid, or seeing who you’ve crossed paths with on Happen, i think the majority of you would be shocked to see the actual amount. These things start as nice distraction tools for when you are bored, and then quickly become addictive. Most people I know on the sites spend a lot of time messaging people from it, trying to keep straight what they have said to who, going on dates, and looking for new people to talk you. Life is hectic. This time and energy could be better spent with friends, with family, or even just doing something else for yourself that makes you feel nothing but positive and happy and like the incredible person you are.
5. It becomes hard not to think about what else might be out there
So you finally have a good date from a dating site and you are really excited! But then you get home and see you have three new messages from really attractive people. You begin messaging them, and slowly your date that literally just ended gets put in the back of your mind. Online dating makes it so much harder to commit to one person because you are constantly talking to and going on dates with multiple people. Back in the old days, you met someone and you asked them out and you saw how that went before you started looking for another person to ask out. However, with the way online dating is set up its difficult to just focus on one person unless you actually delete all of your apps after just one date so that no one else can contact you. Having so many exciting options at your fingertips creates a paradox of choice that results in many people actually being able to commit to no one because of the fear that there might be something better one swipe away.
I know I just said a lot of negative things about online dating, but I really don’t think it’s the worst thing ever. If you are looking for a relationship, I think it makes sense and doing online dating is much better then doing nothing if you aren’t sure how else to meet someone. However, it does have some big flaws that I think people should be aware of. I also want people to know that there are other ways to find someone that require way less effort. For example if you are extra bold you can try to start introducing yourself to people you find intriguing in every day life and decide right away if they are someone you would like to take on a date or not. Or, you can ask your friends if they have any friends that you might get on with and trust them to set you up on a date. Or, you could hire a professional to do the whole matching process for you and sign up for a dating agency. No matter what everyone else is doing, if you are serious about finding someone special, you have a lot of options. Don’t be afraid to use them!
By Bekah Obi – Owner and Founder of Full Circle Dating. A full-service dating agency located in Amsterdam. We offer styling, counselling, matchmaking and pre-date support services.