But in the back of your mind, you're thinking... it's weird, it's impersonal, it's... fake. Well, maybe you're not thinking it, but I was. Last year, about this time, I took part in one of ChristianMingle's "free trials." My classes in school were really small and filled with the same people, there were no prospects in my social circle, and I really couldn't see myself meeting anybody new anytime soon. I felt victim to a toxic combination of chick flicks and online dating commercials. (Those marketing people really know what they're doing. Props to them.) Well, with the "free trial," I could look at all the profiles I wanted. I could even "smile" at them (the CM equivalent to "poking" on facebook). However, to message them or receive a message from them, I had to pay about $30. So I called it stupid, finished my beer, and cancelled my account. There. I had tried, and failed, at online dating.
So for roughly the next twelve months I sat by watching people end relationships, begin relationships, get engaged, get married... all the while the commercials haunted me... "Did you know that one in three relationships begin online?" I wondered if my failure had altered their statistics. After all, people look online as a last resort. What did that say about me? I decided not to care, and changed the channel.
A little over two weeks ago, on Christmas day, I was looking at a friend's iPhone and saw an App I didn't recognize. I asked her what it was and she said it was an App for a website called PlentyOfFish.com She sheepishly admitted that it was an online dating site. I'm one of those people whom my iPhone still amazes on a daily basis.
I don't know what drove me to do it... It could have been the holiday season. (Side note: the Holidays are horrible for single people. It's like an entire month of straight Valentines Days.) It could have been the fact that graduating made it seem like being an adult was actually real. It could have been pure curiosity. Whatever the reason, on Christmas day, I created an account with Plenty of Fish. One major difference between PoF and Christian Mingle was that PoF was free. I could not only browse profiles, but I could message those I found interesting, and open message from people who were interested. I know what you're thinking, and the answer is yes. Yes, there are some people you have to weed through. There are people who have chosen sites like PoF to take the place of actual interaction. Through reading a bunch of About Me descriptions, introductory messages, and seeing various pictures on people's accounts, I feel like I should write about what works and what doesn't on an online dating profile, but that's an entirely different post.
The truth is, the best way to approach online dating is to primarily know what you're looking for. If you take the approach of "I'll know him when I see him," you're going to hit a lot of dead ends. On the other side of that, online profiles present you with different opportunities and challenges than meeting someone "organically." I can look at someone's profile and see their height, ethnicity, occupation, if they smoke... even if they want children or not. When I say, know what you're looking for, I don't mean, search 6'2", brown eyes, blonde hair, architects. You'll miss out on meeting some really cool people. Instead, look for things like; are they career driven? Is their family important to them? Do they mention their faith? Do they enjoy similar things as you do? (If they're a hunter and you think guns are evil... probably not a good match.) I've never been a fan of the idea of meeting people in bars. Most relationships that start that way end, and when I'm at a bar, chances are I'm already with people I want to spend time with, I'm not looking to add more. Online Dating gives you that opportunity to meet people you otherwise wouldn't.
This Friday night, I have a date with a guy I met on Plenty of Fish. He seems really great, we have a ton in common, and I see the date going really well. We'll see what happens :)
Online Dating is still new. There's still some hesitation to it. I understand that. However, if you haven't tried it, keep an open mind! Many sites do have a free trial period so you can see if it's even something you're interested in. Maybe you'll meet your soul mate, maybe you'll make a new friend... maybe you'll just waste an afternoon. In any way, it's not going to hurt, and you may find yourself pleasantly surprised :) If you have any questions or want any more information about my experience with it, feel free to comment below :)
Have a wonderful Thursday,
and Thanks for Reading!