Thursday, July 19, 2012

Finding Love Online – The Basics

This article is focused on the use of online dating sites to find love and happiness. I have observed the online dating industry for some time now, more as a curiosity than as a member.  As a member of several dating sites over the years, I have seen first hand how it is that people interact both successfully and unsuccessfully. I have also tapped into my own extensive circle of friends and acquaintances in this same time period and also witnessed most aspects of the offline dating world as well.

So what have I found?
Perhaps not too much that has not already been discussed by others in the past, but perhaps with a different twist on it.

Offline dating has been going on for thousands of years, and I doubt if anyone today could actually find much to add to the existing literature. I will therefore not try to pontificate in any manner on that aspect of dating, other than to note that most people tend to date within an extended community of friends for the most part. 

When it comes to Internet Dating, which has only been in existence since about 1995 or so, there are some insights that can be shared.

So lets start with some popular misconceptions:
Dating Sites Have Fool Proof Matching Formulas
False – Some dating sites work very hard trying to perfect their compatibility algorithms but some others just use superficial matching criteria – what is interesting is that neither extreme of these sites perform statistically better than the other.  The reason is that, quite frankly, there are two main obstacles that cannot be overcome when you are trying to match by formula.

It Is Less Work To Find My Match On a Dating Site
False – To make a long story short, it takes a lot of time getting to know anyone that you hope to be your life partner. You just cannot take any shortcuts here. In fact, for this aspect of using a dating site it takes more effort because of the anonymous nature of the environment. Everyone is using made up handles, so it is not as if you can check with a mutual friend to see what they are really like.

Internet Dating Sites are a Great Place To Find People to Date
True – If you are a person who uses dating to interact with someone that you are interested in; then a dating site is likely to connect you with many more people than you can possibly find via your own means offline.

Internet Dating Sites Are More Likely To Find My Soul Mate.
False – Quantity does not equal quality. Just because you can see and interact with a lot more people online than you can in real life does not mean that you are being exposed to quality people that you have any real compatibility with, and even if you are compatible from an intellectual point of view, there is no guarantee that you will find the chemistry with them that you need to achieve soul mate status.
So What Good Are Dating Sites Anyway

 They are dynamite if you are willing to be open and look outside of your normal comfort zone for possible matches. They are good for people who have not been successful finding their soul mate in real life because quite frankly they are looking for the wrong type of person in the wrong places.  The secret with online dating is to open yourself up to other possibilities that you might not have looked at before. Be willing to be disappointed with each person that you connect with, but also be willing to be entranced. You might be shocked at the person who ends up winning your heart.

You should approach using a dating site as you would approach using any new tool that can improve your productivity. It is possible for someone to use a tool incorrectly and end up being hurt. It is possible to be sloppy how you use a tool and end up getting inferior results (don't blame the tool). If you take the time to learn the advantages and disadvantages of the tool, and employ that tool correctly, then you have the optimal chance of finding your perfect match.

So, open your heart and give online dating a try.

You can start here:

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