Online dating-- horrible idea or best concept ever?

So we've all heard the horror stories before, recounting in gory detail the scarring first dates and awkward encounters with quasi-strangers who look nothing like their online photos. For those of us who've tried the online circuit to find our plus ones, I think we can all agree that it's truly a matter of trial and error (more often than not, the later). With Valentine's Day fast approaching, my girlfriends and I got to talking about the years prior and our sentiments concerning the somewhat ominous day. We went from reminiscing about romantic dinners with our then boyfriends, to solo nights spent on the couch with a pint of Ben & Jerry's, and of course, my all time favorite memory: "Remember that time we found that teddy bear your ex gave you and set it on fire in his front yard?" Yeah, we're insane... but we've made a pact, being that we're all currently single (hmmm, wonder why?), to each make an online profile in the hopes of finding dates worthy of us on Valentine's Day. So, what we're wondering is, is it worth a shot? And what are the top five things we should know before we unleash ourselves upon the world of online dating?


Most Helpful Guy

  • Online dating CAN be great, but there are plenty of pitfalls as well. The big pluses for OD are that you get much greater exposure to many more people than you probably get in your normal life, AND that you can filter out people who aren't a good match (assuming they did a good job building their profile), saving both of you wasted time and effort.

    Know that if you're a good-looking girl, you're going to get a ton of guys who are "window-lickers"; guys who are trying to hit on you just based on your looks. Many will be directly sexual with their offers. Every decent-looking girl deals with that, and you have to have a thick-enough skin to just delete those emails and move on. Don't bother replying; you'd just be wasting your time.

    Concentrate on the guys who write to you and actually have something to say, and know how to say it. Guys who treat you like a person instead of a call girl or stripper. If they can't compose a few sentences properly and introduce themselves, you probably wouldn't get much out of a date with them either, no matter how good that picture of them might look.

    Finally, you aren't going to meet a ton of guys online who look like they could be on TV. Most really good-looking guys get enough interest in the real world that they aren't online; they're either taken or busy juggling 3 girls. You'll have a few guys above average, but most are going to be average or below. Looks aren't everything, but again, keep your expectations reasonable.

    If you meet someone you like, email them back and forth a few times and ask plenty of questions. If things are going good, try to set up a video chat (Skype or Google Hangout). That's a good, safe way to make sure the guy is real, and to get a better idea of what he's like. If that goes well, arrange a date in a public place. Try to have fun, but take some safety precautions too. Arrange some check-in phone calls with someone, and make sure they know where you're going and when to expect you home. You might want to give them the guy's picture and info too. It's almost always overkill, but your safety IS important, and if you take these steps, then once on the date, you can relax more.

    Don't expect a Pretty Woman date. A good date is one where you have lots of time to talk to each other and be comfortable, not one where he's showing off where he can take you and how much he can spend. Beware of those guys.

    Ask plenty of questions; your main job is to check for compatibility, and also to have fun. If you aren't having fun, don't accept another date with the guy. If you are, then you're in good shape.


What Guys Said 33

  • i've been with my girlfriend for goign on 2yrs now. we met on eharmony so yeah I'd say it's worth it.

    top 5 things to know:

    1) look out for dudes just looking for sex

    2) I spent nearly a one 1/2 years on the site and went out with a lot o losers

    3) more reputable sites (eharm, match, etc) generally do a better job of getting quality peeps. free sites obviously often have sketch balls

    4) if you really want to do it be patient, I went through a lot of crap before I found a diamond

    5) cast a wide net and then filter out the bad ones rather than casting a small net and having less options

    good luck

  • You're better off posting photos of random guys on a dart baord, and asking whoever you hit with the dart for a date.

    At least the 'winner' won't be someone who spends a lot of time writing about himself online to impress people.

  • Its just another way to meet people.

    To a large extent, people who are good in any other dating arena do well online, those who don't, don't. It does provide you with a large pool of single people.

    The guy I know who had the most success with online dating (i.e. multiple girlfriends and TONS of dates between them looking for next girlfriend) was of the view that online dating is inherently odd, so he always tried to move it 'offline' as soon as possible. Based on that, he'd generally -directly- ask girls out rather then engaging in a big back and forth for a long time. Now that probably is more awkward if you're geographically isolated, but he lived downtown in a big city, so if he thought someone had an interesting profile, he'd immediately ask if they were interested in a drink or coffee. His view was that if they weren't interested in meeting him for coffee (or at least talking about it) they were either not into his profile or they were not -actually- looking to date.

    Almost always quick drink dates to start - basically he assumed that what you see online is never more than 20-30% so all you can do is say 'yeah, lets meet in person' and see if there's enough to set up a longer date or not.

  • I say yes...definitely get into online dating. It's a way to "catch more fish" versus just meeting guys in your daily grind of a life.

    MrOracle touched upon the rest of the details, so I'm speechless!

  • My thoughts on online dating, in general, is that it's a lot like regular dating, and slightly better than a singles bar. (Though I went into detail on it here - link I say go for it if you want, but not specifically just to get a date on Valentine's Day. That would be wrong.

    Five things you should know?

    Number one: Actually fill out a lengthy profile. I'm serious, talk and talk alot. There are a few reasons for this. One, is because if your profile just consists of cute, pretty or sexy pictures of you - or if it just consists of pictures of you - and nothing else, then the only possible messages you're going to get are from guys messaging you on your looks alone. It's simple logic but true. So fill it out, or you have no right to complain if a guy turns out to just want sex. When you do fill it out, try to think of as much to say as possible so that people know who you are, but say just enough, so you can bury things in the mix, to see if he was paying attention.

    Number two: Never respond to a hot guy who's initial message is (or similar to) just "Hey" and nothing else. Any guy who does that is usually stupid and / or shallow, with the intent of just getting sex. If the guy read your profile, and had nothing to say about it, or nothing interesting to say about himself, then he's either not interested in you, or he's got nothing to say. Either way, the relationship will come down to just sex. That's not usually ideal.

    Number Three: Not giving information that is too personal, or makes you easy to track down. I mean, there are many people who portray the internet as if all men are rapists who will lie about everything, just to meet you and stuff you into a van, but that's stupid. This is just the fallacy that contributes to the stigma on internet dating. Still, it's best you remain at least a little anonymous, in case things don't work out. After all, look at all the stalkers on Facebook, right?

    Number Four: Common sense is your best tool. Basically just think about what they say. A good profile can say a lot about someone, even if they're lying. If you exercise common sense you should see the holes in their story. But the more you talk to someone the more you can get to know them, and a good profile aides in getting to know someone. It's the foot in the door. Just figure out who they are as they talk. Kinda like real life.

    Number Five: Don't let one, or a couple bad experiences get you down. Internet dating is just like regular dating. There are good people and bad people. Some you'll want to talk to, and some you should steer clear. Use common sense, along with the other three pieces of advice, and it should help you weed out some of the less desirable people, but remember, just because the last guy sucked, doesn't mean should write off everyone else. The internet is Soylent Green. It's people.

    Good luck out there.

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What Girls Said 2

  • It's a really terrible idea, in my opinion. Then again I had a terrible experience with a horny pig who just kept me around until he found a girl who would give him the time of day. Even if the two people who find each other are madly in love, it's still a bad idea because they'll have limited time around each other. They may never get to see each otehr and it won't be like a real relationship

  • Sure it's worth a shot, but be careful. It's dangerous and people lie all the time.