Increasingly, more and more men and women are turning to online dating to meet that special someone. It’s not hard to see the attraction in it.  After all, dating websites have a lot to offer to the dating scene, but only if you go about it the right way.

Let’s start on the downsides before positives:

The biggest downside is anonymity.  Yes, there are a lot of people to choose from, but how do you tell the players and psychos from the ones who are online genuinely looking for a relationship?  It’s much harder to tell, because online, you lose so many of the communications cues we rely on in face to face communications.

Remember, about 80% of human communication takes the form of body language, so when you’re online, you’re essentially flying blind.  You’ve lost the greater bulk of the tools you normally use to communicate and assess the person you’re talking to.  Combined with the fact that so many people exaggerate or outright lie on their profiles, and may not even use a real picture of themselves, who knows?  You could be talking to anyone.

Onto the positives:

If you live in a smaller town or city, the pool of available mates might be quite small, and venturing online can be about the only way to meet those people hiding nearby, but whom you would normally never run into.

Oddly, the anonymity is also one of the biggest plusses of online dating though.  It allows you, from the comfort of your own home, to converse with and get to know a number of people you might never meet otherwise.

It also forces you to really focus in on the remaining 20% of communication tools you have at your disposal.  Words.  Both yours, and the person you’re talking to.

People tend to be freer

freedomIn that regard, online dating can be considered kind of old school.  It’s like getting to know someone by way of letters before you actually meet face to face for the first time, and that’s pretty cool.  People also tend to open up more when writing back and forth than they do when they’re talking face to face.  There’s something that just makes that seem safer when the other person is just words on the computer screen.

The plain truth: Meeting offline:


At the end of the day though, sooner or later, you’re going to have to meet face to face to see if you connect in person the same way you do when you’re talking online. That’s when things can take a dramatic turn.  You’ll know very quickly if the person you’ve been talking to has misrepresented him or herself, and can plan accordingly.

One form of dating is not necessarily better or worse than the other.  Some people are more comfortable meeting new people face to face, while others (yes, I’m talking to you, shy men and women!) are more comfortable having something in between the person you’re talking to.

Twenty years ago, if you mentioned that you met the person you were dating online, it would have raised eyebrows.  Today, it’s considered the norm, and lots of successful marriages have been born online, so if it’s something you’re interested in, you should definitely pursue it.  Just understand that it’s a very different ballgame from the one you’re use to playing.