Single in the City is a reoccurring column on Philly Happening that will appear on Wednesdays. It chronicles a single thirty-something, new to the Philadelphia, searching for friendship, love, and her place in this vibrant city.
Let’s be real–Finding Love Online is Not That Weird
Shortly after posting my column about online dating the other week, someone close to me said that she was surprised that I was so forthcoming about going online. At first I wasn’t sure why my admission would be surprising, but then it occurred to me that there are still stigmas attached to online dating.
Most people in my age demographic are so familiar with the concept of online dating that it’s not a big deal, but for others outside of our generation, the whole idea is still a bit foreign. The more I thought of it, I remembered that even I had some reservations about going online at one point—even as recent as six months ago.
Societal stigmas, and my own hesitation, was simply from lack of knowledge and understanding. Once I explored the basics of online dating, I found it pretty straightforward, entertaining, and actually pretty brilliant. Don’t miss out on something just because you don’t know what it’s all about. Get to know it. Overcome stigmas and hesitation by educating yourself.
I can’t speak for what everyone’s online stigmas are, but I’ll address a couple that crossed my own mind back before I took the plunge.
One: Going online does not mean that you’re desperate or that you can’t get a date in real life.
On the contrary. I wasn’t desperate. Frustrated, maybe, but not desperate. I could get dates in real life, but the ones I had just weren’t working out. I was often disappointed by who I was meeting in my social circles and in bars. There was nothing wrong with these people, but they weren’t in the right age range and there just didn’t seem to be any viable options.
Online dating is a fantastic way to expand your social circles and your dating pool. When you walk into a bar, you’re basically walking into a random mash-up of people, and whether you meet anyone worth talking to, who fits what you’re looking for, is a total crapshoot. If you have the opportunity to broaden your options significantly, yet also narrow down your preferences, by location, age, interests, and philosophies, why wouldn’t you do that?
Online dating is like job searching. Do you randomly walk around the city, hoping to catch a hiring manager’s eye, or do you put your resume online, and scroll through job boards to target certain companies and roles that are open?
Two: You are not weird or creepy if you go online and not everyone online is weird or creepy.
If you’re considering going online, or already are online, you are doing so because you’re looking to meet someone. That doesn’t make you weird. It makes you someone who is taking advantage of current resources. Being online can help you meet someone a lot quicker than in real life, and with a far greater scope that is catered to your preferences.
Further, from my experiences, I found that most of the people that I was talking to online were really high-quality people with good educations, good jobs, and a lot of good things going for them. Someone who works a lot during the week, or who has an irregular schedule, or a commute, might not have time to be out socializing in the city, so they go online. Or maybe that person isn’t into the bar scene, or doesn’t have time to join an activity to meet people. Think of yourself. They could be going online for the same reasons as you.
A friend of mine seemed hesitate about online dating because she was afraid that she’d get inundated with too many messages from creepy guys. The truth is that you probably will get inundated with messages, and a lot of them will be from creepy guys, but take comfort in knowing that you don’t have to respond to anyone that you don’t want to. You’re in control. Delete what you don’t want. Write back to what you do want. It’s that simple.
Take the control even further, and you can reach out to whoever you’d like to talk to. Don’t wait for people to message you. Control your own destiny.
And don’t forget to have fun with it. If you get creepy messages, just laugh, show your friends, then delete.
In summary, there is nothing taboo about online dating. We live in the internet age where everything, including grocery shopping, is done online. Dating is no different. Don’t be afraid of it–or what other people will think if you do it. Embrace it.
You might not find love online, but your chances will be increased.
You can’t win the lottery if you don’t buy the ticket. So why not buy as many tickets as possible and see if you get lucky?