Let’s be honest; it can be costly, disappointing and time consuming to search for a new potential significant other (SO) within our city streets, bars and coffee shops. That’s why more fellow young professionals (YPs) than you may assume are checking their online profile on a dating site at this very moment. In discussing the ins and outs of online dating with young users both past and present, and even taking the plunge (though only lasting a week) ourselves, we compiled a list of common thoughts characteristic of online dating YPs.
1. “OK, I may need to limit my search settings…”
What surprised us the most was the sheer quantity of matches that graced our inbox every day. Don’t get too excited, however, upon review of certain, um, questionable matches, odds are you’re going question what the heck the system was thinking as you wonder to yourself, is this a joke? We mean, if we live in Toronto, why would we want to meet Jamie from Kentucky? If you really wouldn’t date someone whose income or education level does not match yours, say so – the computerized system won’t judge you. If looks are important, don’t sugar coat that need for arm candy. You quickly realize the need to change match settings to be as brutally honest and restrictive as possible, otherwise you are just wasting everyone’s time.
2. “God, this is like a full-time job!”
The whole process is simply a lot of work. First of all, any site worth visiting for the young professional in pursuit of a serious relationship requires a good hour (minimum) to fill out your profile. Then there’s the process of sorting through all the matches and taking the time to read their profiles…because you know how much damn work went into creating yours. Next comes the messaging and the subsequent juggling of multiple matches at various stages of communication. In short, be prepared to practically double your Internet time once you join the world of online romance.
3. “Wow, a name really does make a difference.”
You never really think a name makes a difference in who you choose to date until you join a dating site. Especially before you even open their profile to assess their pictures, interests, passions and goals, a name is the first thing you notice. A name may not work for you; it could remind you of someone else of the same name, not fit well with your last or first name, or may just be awkward. We admit, we have “closed” matches based on name.
4. “I feel weird about this…”
If you ever get paired with someone who seems a little “off,” (crazy eyes, vacant smile, or disheveled appearance), a degree of vulnerability sets in as you think damn, this crazy person is sitting in front of their computer right now, able to read all about me, in my own words, etc, etc. At least with social media, you get to screen who can access your profile. Yes, it creeped us out a little.
5. “Yikes, I know him/her!”
It seems every YP has a horror story of being paired with someone he or she knows – whether a sibling of a best friend, an ex, or even a friend’s ex. It’s awkward. You have to remind yourself that your familiar match is likely as embarrassed to be paired with you as well, and even to be on the site in the first place. Be prepared to be matched with someone you know and to share a good laugh over it if you are.
6. “Ah, sh*t! (S)he can see I’ve viewed her/his profile.”
For new users, it may take a few logins to fully learn to navigate your dating site of choice. You quickly (and alarmingly) become aware that, with most sites, you can see who viewed your profile, and your matches can see when you’ve viewed theirs. This may get awkward when their attempts at communication have not been reciprocated as you continue to assess his or her profile, wavering on your decision to entertain or deny the match.
7. “Am I really that shallow/snobby/superficial?”
If ever wondered if you were shallow, an online dating site offers the ultimate test. Case in point: our girlfriend who immediately looks at her match’s job before deciding to continue, or the guy who “closes ugly chicks.” Here’s the problem: you assess based on your match’s snapshot of stats, how he or she appears on a computer screen, as opposed to a natural chemistry that can only be achieved in person. This only inspires superficiality.
8. “Wow, there are actually some good catches on here…”
Most first-time users are shocked to discover that there are (actually!) some good catches who grace their match settings from time to time. Yes, we mean well-rounded young professionals with good jobs and sound minds, just like us, who simply don’t have the time to conventionally date. Seriously.
9. “I feel like I know that girl/guy from dating site XYZ.”
The moment you start creeping profiles and communicating with others on a dating site, you think you see them everywhere in real life… in Starbucks, out for dinner, in the next car on the highway or in line at the bar. Trust us.
10. “Well, I can see why this guy/girl is on XYZ dating site!”
Whether judging from their messages or their behaviour post-first date, some people on dating sites are, in fact, painfully desperate. We found YPs on the more serious “life mate” dating sites almost obsessed with the notion of a serious relationship and want it right now, wanting to jump headfirst into something with someone…or anyone.
11. “Where am I going to tell people we met?”
Although increasingly less prevalent in our ever-connected, time-strapped cities, there is still a stigma when it comes to online dating – that it’s for losers, hermits, people who are socially awkward. If/when you meet someone worth emailing home about, you’ll inevitably question whether or not to tell people the truth as to where you met
12. “I think I’ll Just Stay In Tonight”
Suddenly, staying in doesn’t see as daunting, or even boring. With one log in, you can chat and flirt with people who you may never even meet in person, all while stuffing your face with popcorn or pizza, not having to “get ready” or even spend a dime. When you want, you can turn them off and go on your merry way to bed.
Love it or hate it, online dating is here to stay. If you take the plunge, be prepared.