Monday, 14 May 2012

The Advantages of Online Dating

I have read a piece in Scientific American titled The Scientific Flaws of Online Dating. The article pretty much said that online dating is flawed because humans are not good at selecting compatibility based on details found on a profile, such as income, height, or age. This, in my opinion, is a poor reason for someone to not try online dating mainly because this flaw exists in offline dating as well. If your friends set you up on a date, they are selecting based on very superficial traits such as income, height, and age as well. If you go to a pub or bar, you are doing the exact same thing, judging someone based on physical appearance and then, when you're talking to a potential date, you ask about income, occupation, interests, and so forth.

One of the key advantages of online dating, in my opinion, is that you are in control, as opposed to using your family or friends to set you up with someone. This makes it easier to walk away from a bad relationship. For example, if your friend sets you up with someone and the relationship goes bad, your relationship with your friend can suffer. Furthermore, negative rumours may spread among your circle of friends. Finding someone online allows you to date in secret and, if something goes wrong, your circle of friends or your family are unaffected. Some argue that the ease of walking away from a difficult relationship in online dating is a negative, as it makes it more difficult for you to stay close to someone you like. I disagree. If I am with someone, I don't want her to stay with me because she feels she is trapped. I want her to be with me through her own choice. If she is staying with me because she doesn't want to cause problems with her friends or family, we may not be compatible, and this incompatibility can manifest itself into problems later on.

Another argument against online dating is that it is easy for people to lie in their profiles. They could give the wrong height, income, or age. This also applies with offline dating. When your friends set you up with someone, your friends may have received incorrect information. Poor profile pictures is a problem that exists in online dating that would not exist e.g. if you met someone at a bar. However, if you meet someone online and then go on a first date, only to realise that he or she looks nothing like the profile picture, simply finish up the first date and then end it there. Simple.

Another potential issue is privacy. If you put your profile up, your friends, family, and coworkers may find it and this may cause embarrassment. This is a fair point, but I get around this problem easily by putting up a very bland and generic profile. Most dating sites nowadays allow you to put up private pictures that are only revealed to people you approve. This means I can browse profiles of other females and if I see someone I like I can share my private pictures with her. Of course this would not really work well if everyone does this. But that is not the case.

No comments: