The single life can be a bit of a challenge for people who insist on finding love the good old-fashioned way. But when you really think about it, is there a good old-fashioned way? Sure, there’s the classic meet-cute at the gym or sultry glances from across the bar on Martini Mondays, but the dating game always seems to be steadily changing. Ask your grandparents how they met and you’re sure to hear a tale of family friendships leading to arranged marriages or two kids who grew up on the same block and became high school sweethearts.
In this digital age we embrace the Internet as an everyday tool, and a barrage of romance apps have become useful for linking up with eligible bachelors and bachelorettes. Should we continue on in this new era of dating with open arms? Here are a few reasons why crushin’ on the web is here to stay.
1. It’s The New Normal
At long last, digital dalliances have taken over the dating scene and are becoming the commonplace method of meeting people. Now that 40 million Americans partake in the virtual world of romance, it’s much less intimidating. One of the main perks of this good news is that you no longer have to introduce your new love interest to your social circle with a prepared lie explaining your first encounter. “Oh, you know, we met at a friend’s house party. The rest is history!” Then you’d have to make up a fictitious mutual friend who could never rat you out. It was a lot of legwork, when you really think about it.
Luckily, the shame and stigma around online dating is diminishing as quickly as you can swipe right. Connecting through clicks is not only prevalent but its benefits are supported by modern research – new studies suggest that relationships that start online are actually proving to be just as successful, if not more so, than ones that start in the real world. With the average Tinder user spending up to 77 minutes per day on the app, it’s clear that people are ambitious in their desire to find a match and the results are more successful than you might think. Whether it’s because of the ‘plenty of fish in the sea’ model or the fact that potential candidates are more likely to disclose more information before the first date, it looks like dating is not dead – it’s alive and well.
(As a personal tip, though, I highly recommend steering clear of PlentyOfFish.)
2. First Impressions Can Be Curated
You only get one first impression when meeting someone offline, so the pressure is on to make it good. Another bonus of online dating is that you technically get two. Your online persona gets your foot in the door and when you match with a dating prospect, your first few conversational exchanges can speak volumes. These days it’s entirely possible to feel that spark with someone through a screen, a concept many of us would have never imagined to be a reality. That knowledge of being able to entice people through words and ideas has changed the way we conduct ourselves on the web. We can be the best version of ourselves – or the worst.
An interesting twist in the narrative of modern romance comes in the form of a new dating app – Bumble. This app was designed by Tinder co-founder Whitney Wolfe and was created to reverse the traditional expectations of men asking women out. On Bumble, all matches can only progress to conversation when initiated by a female user. This gives women all the power of interaction, which is a refreshing change. With this dynamic, women know that men who have downloaded the app are okay with being on the receiving end of a first message. Not only does this concept take the pressure off of men, but it also allows women to curate their dating experience and bypass the onslaught of indecent messages they receive on other apps.
Deciding to meet someone in person gives us a chance to solidify feelings we suspect we have or find out that the spark was better left in our phones – either way, the luxury of curating the first impression is a huge plus.
Research has also suggested that the chances of finding a good match are higher due to the widened dating pool. We have access to thousands of matches in our local area and we can tailor our search according to taste – it’s practically a Build-A-Boyfriend workshop out there. Before apps like Tinder and OkCupid, dating meant initiating or accepting advances with people at school or social events, and ‘types’ of people were pretty limited. Now it’s like a buffet of options to mix and match. A new GPS-based dating app called Happn allows you to connect with people you’ve crossed paths with recently at a specific location. For instance, if your match was just at your favorite neighborhood Starbucks when you were in the area, it will show up. Tastebuds is a similar app that connects you to people who share your taste in music. With apps like these, common interests can be linked much faster. Just think: you could be a few clicks away from the man or woman of your dreams instead of a few sips of beer away from going home with that dud at the office party.
Remember when people thought that meeting a complete stranger in a dimly lit bar was safer and more sane than meeting someone on the Internet? Let’s really take a moment to think about how crazy that is. When it comes to safety and filtering out the nutbars, the ability to do a little sleuthing comes in handy. With everyone’s digital footprints being easily detectable, a quick Google search can you give you everything you need to know about a person before you’re face to face. If your match is 40 or under and appears to have no online presence at all, that could be a red flag. Never hesitate to play the ‘1, 2, 3 swipes you’re out’ game when you’ve got a gut feeling.
5. Quantity Over Quality
There are seasoned daters who are specifically looking to make the rounds and see what’s out there en masse. Nothing wrong with that! The Internet lets you search for quality through the magic of quantity, and that can be helpful for those with social anxiety who want to use the dating app scene to get out there and get their feet wet. Online dating gets a bad rap for causing a culture of flakiness and casual hookups, but the positive side is that singles can take their time getting to know all kinds of people, increasing their confidence, and figuring out what they really want. While it’s true that Tinder’s notoriety for being a fast food dating equivalent influences the way users approach it, there are still plenty of options that are tailored for all interests and people. As for what women are looking for, here’s a hot tip: studies say that men get the most positive reception when they use the words “love”, “relationship”, and “children” in their profiles.
Who knows – maybe the divorce rates will take a nosedive now that we’re all a little more picky?