Wednesday 16 January 2019

How to banish online dating hang ups

One of the most amazing social changes in recent years is the rise of online dating.

If you’re single and dating, chances are that you’ve tried your hand at online dating. If, for some reason, you’ve been a bit hesitant to try it out, now is the perfect time to give it a go.

It’s the easiest way to meet people. You don’t have to get dressed up, spend a fortune on drinks and wait for ages in a queue on a rainy night to get chatting to someone.

Online dating, or any form of dating, can understandably generate a spectrum of fear and hang ups - whether it’s safety concerns, confidentiality, the reluctance of finding a romantic partner online as opposed to more traditional settings, or simply the fear of writing a bio and selecting a suitable profile picture.

It’s natural to feel a bit hesitant but online dating is a great way for you to expand your circle and connect with more people. All roads to love can be bumpy, no matter where you look, but you can have a meaningful date with someone you meet online.

Let’s look at the biggest concern for potential daters - safety. A quick Google search of online dating horror stories will bring endless waves of scam articles or ‘catfish’ incidents (where people create fake online profiles to form romantic relationships) so, don't worry. It’s common and even necessary to question safety online.

It could be argued that in terms of personal safety, the risk of meeting someone dangerous online is the same as meeting someone in a bar or gym. Still, people can feel a bit more vulnerable online because they’re never quite sure who’s at the other end of the screen. You need to know who you’re talking to.

Many sites offer an array of security features, including ID verification services. This means you can be sure the person you are speaking to is indeed who they say they are. When moving the date into the real world, be sure that you’re meeting your potential paramour in a public place. Inform friends or family members of the place you’re meeting, who you’re meeting, what dating platform you met them on and when you’ll be back.

If you’re worried about meeting someone online instead of in the “real” world, remember that it’s exceptionally common now. In your 30s or 40s at least, when people tell you they’ve gone on a date, it’s safe to assume that they met that person online.

These days, if you go on a date with someone you met in person, everyone is generally surprised because it’s so rare. “You met him how? In real life? Tell us again about how you bumped Leap cards and he got chatting to you on the Luas!”

Online dating makes it easier to click our way to love. On average, each of us has a personal sphere of about 150 people that we know. Of those people, half will be married or taken and half that number again will be too old or young for us. So this leaves you with a pool of about 30 people who are suitable for dating.

If we whittle this number down further, and exclude those who do not match our personal preferences, you begin to see how quickly we can exhaust the natural pool of potential partners. The success of online dating mainly comes from transforming this small number of potential suitors into a much greater and varied source of people.

With the advances in modern day dating technology, sites using psychological personality tests have the majority of the hard work already done for us. By filling out a questionnaire, the site algorithm matches you with people with whom you are statistically most likely to have a successful long-term relationship. Data is the key to successful dating.

And if you’re worried about how you come across online, the best way to tackle it is to ask a friend to read over what you’ve written. We live in a sound bite so the first 30 words of your profile are crucial. Try to avoid cliches and stick with speaking in your own voice. It’s nice to emphasise your hobbies and interests too and be sure your photos look like you and don’t use old photos, or ones you know are overly flattering.

It’s also important to develop a strategy before you dive in. What, exactly, are you looking for? Create a list, be as specific as possible and define what you want but don’t make it about searching for ‘The One’. If you open yourself up to meeting different kinds of people, you may be surprised by what you discover.

Are you ready to take the leap? Independent Dating Reviews ranks the leading online dating sites in Ireland to help you find the best dating site for you.

Start your journey now on Independent Dating Review.

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