While technology may have utterly transformed our day to day lives, our underlying needs and desires as human beings haven’t really changed at all. We all want to feel loved and appreciated and form meaningful relationships. In a world where you can learn volumes about a person you’ve never actually met face to face through their social media and online presence, technology and the Internet has somehow managed to make dating simultaneously easier and more complicated!
Let’s take a look at the good and the bad – how you can make the most of the modern tools at your disposal, and when it’s better to ditch the tech and date old-school style!
Do opposites still attract?
One of the most profound impacts of the web has been its ability to connect people with similar interests – even if those interests are particularly… obscure. Whether you’re passionate about a little-known author or long-forgotten folk band, finding people who share that interest has never been easier. Online dating platforms gather up a whole lot of information about you, and compare it against potential matches to come up with a kind of compatibility score. It sounds good on paper, but do you really want to date someone who’s just like you?
In the past, you’d have to spend a decent amount of time getting to know someone, and part of the fun was discovering their little quirks and passions along the way. Faced with so many other potential matches online, however, there’s the risk of overlooking someone you might have been very happy with just because an algorithm has decided your interests don’t line up.
Add to this the fact that its human nature to embellish our online profiles and only post the most flattering photos and updates, and you have to accept that any person’s online persona is at least partially fabricated – and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. To get the best of both worlds, keep your options open and consider partners who are a less than perfect ‘match’, and take things into the real world as soon as possible. If you’re not quite ready for that, phone or Skype calls where you can interact in real time and hear each other’s voices can be a nice bridging tool.
One of the most interesting impacts of online dating has been the rise in interracial marriages, as it’s easier for people whose social circles might not overlap in real life to meet each other. And anything that allows people of different races, cultures and social backgrounds to connect and communicate better can only be good for society as a whole. And aside from romantic relationships, dating apps can be a good platform to meet friends too. Just because the romantic spark isn’t there, the shared interests that brought you together in the first place could spark a lifelong friendship! If you enter the online dating scene with an open mind, the potential for richer and more rewarding connections is definitely there.
Flirting, dating and hanging out
And it’s not just finding a potential partner that’s changed – once we’ve connected with someone we’re interested in, how we communicate, flirt and stay in touch has changed dramatically too. It can be a lot easier to broach potentially awkward topics over text than in person, especially if you’re still getting a feel for the other person. You might cringe at the idea of bringing up adult toys face to face, but sending a naughty little link to your partner’s phone can be a great way to gauge their interest! Scouring their social media can be a great way to come up with gift ideas. Firing off a quick message to let them know you’re thinking of them can turn their whole day around… or make you look a little stalkerish!
As with any changing technology, it’s not the technology itself that’s good or bad, but rather how we use it. Finding a balance between online and offline connection is key, but that balance can be highly individual too. If you’re hiding behind a screen rather than taking the plunge and meeting up in person, you have to realize that you’re only hurting your own chances. Dating is and always has been a scary business – you’re putting yourself out there and running the risk of being rejected. No technology can help you avoid that entirely. But with risk comes potential reward – and if using a dating website or app can improve your chances of finding a really meaningful connection, we think the risk is worth it!