One of the biggest trends these days is for people to meet other people online. Online dating is growing in popularity not only because of the ability of internet programs to quickly and easily connect two people from sometimes vastly different areas, but also because there are many ways that one can ‘screen’ potential dates without wasting valuable social time dating people you don’t like. However, there are some major pitfalls to online dating that must be taken into account before one begins to engage in the practice. These include the very real potential for deceit, interpersonal elements of physical attraction are absent in the online world and the time involved in interfacing with the computer reduces the ability of the individual to interact with living people in physical form.
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It is widely acknowledged that one of the greatest risks involved in online dating is that one is interacting with an individual entirely different from the individual they are presented with within the cold blue glow of the computer screen. “People lie. And they will say whatever they need to say to sell themselves. They’re creating a picture of who they think they are and putting it on the web” (Radetich, 2005). Even when photographs are exchanged online, these can easily be false either by the individual selecting a photo of someone else they found online or by posting an image of themselves at a much younger age.
Numerous elements of attraction cannot possibly transfer through the electronic blips and lights of the internet. Although online dating services will often enable you to almost hand-order the exact kind of mate you are seeking, things don’t work out so neatly in the real world. “In the real world … you may find more appeal in someone different in some ways” (Lawrence, 2004). For various reasons, the other person’s body language, preferences in how to spend their free time, or basic body chemistry, the individual who seemed perfect online may suddenly turn out to be all wrong in person leading to a profound mistrust of one’s own judgment and abilities.
Finally, dating online necessitates spending a great deal of time, often in a solitary room ultimately interacting only with the computer screen. When one dates someone in person, it is possible to go out to the movies, to bars, to parties, or other events in which interaction with each other is interspersed with interaction with others. Life is more social in the real world and, if or when the relationship falls through, there are friends available to help nurse the injured party through the fallout. However, if one has been dating online, everything is done in a solitary way, preventing interaction with other people, encouraging the couple to continue in isolation even when finally together.
While online dating can be fun and exciting, permitting one to meet some different people who might otherwise remain hidden in the obscurity of the city, some issues must be overcome first. Perhaps the most important of these is ensuring that the person being spoken with is accurately representing themselves, a difficult prospect even in real life. Next to this is making sure that there is some means by which the couple can meet in person, giving them a chance to interact with each other on a physical plane to ensure their habits and ways are compatible. Finally, there must also be a means by which the couple can engage with others as a means of avoiding the kind of isolation and loneliness they would otherwise be prone to if they should only speak with each other.
Lawrence, Jean. “Do Opposites Attract?” Medicine.net. (2004). Web.
Radetich, Nina. “Online Dating Awareness and Dangers, One Woman’s Story.” News 3. (2005). Web.