5 key problems with online dating
It’s 2013 in San Francisco, CA and online dating is officially socially acceptable and widely used. Between eHarmany and Match.com, there are over 35 million users. There are tons of others too including Zoosk, OK Cupid, Scout, and lets not forget the infamous Tinder. I haven’t dabbled in online dating before. I’m not a fan. I think it removes a lot of the challenges that makes dating incredibly exciting and suspenseful. From what I hear, there are several issues coming up in the online dating sphere, and I’m just thinking about how we can alleviate them?
problems with online dating
- Lack of privacy
- Superficial Interactions
- Story without narrative
- Focus on Fucking not Friendship
- Sketch balls
What is it that we are all looking for? Is it love? Sex? Or Both? Is online dating the best way to get those things? In theory, it certainly cuts off a lot of the old school courtship practice, but not without compromise. On one end, you might spend less time in dingy stinky dive bars hoping the next drink will make her/him attractive. At least you have your privacy in the dark.
your face showing up on a dating sight sends a message
Once you go onto an online dating site, you might have your profile protected from public view but let’s FACE IT; Your pretty face is being solicited in public for everyone to see. What kind of messaging does it send out? At the very least it says, “I’m single and looking for action.” I know if any of my friends saw my face on one of these sites, I’d hear my coworkers saying, “so Lief, I saw you on Tinder the other day. Did you pull any tail?” San Francisco is not a big town and if you are looking for other singles in a tight proximity, there is a high chance you can find someone you already know. In a small town, forget about it. You might as well head to the corner store.
superficial interactions are the norm
Pictures on dating sites are mostly a good thing. You can screen prospects to some extent, but the savvy online dater is no stranger to photoshop. A little grayscale and free transform and you can make any fat face blotchy skinned slob look classic, fit and refined. There is an element of deception.
Suppose you’re a nice guy/girl that’s a hair less than stunningly beautiful. You deserve an honest chance right? The other problem I see with online dating is that every person in inundated with selection, and naturally, everyone wants to sync up with the most attractive person they can. 64% of people said they were driven by common interests (Source: Statisticbrain). I’m not buying it. They use 400 questions on the eHarmony survey so I’m sure they can link up commonality in some form or another with a ton of unqualified potential partners.
the story without a narrative
Friend: So where did you guys meet?
You: Oh we met online. I submitted all my data to this website and the the algorithm hooked us up.
Friend: Cool story bro.
I don’t like that part of online dating. Sure, there are stories beyond the first encounter, but that first encounter is pretty unromantic. Tinder has some potential for adventure, but that app is like taking the 1-10 rating scale and just going binary. This is your real life and if you don’t have a good story, you are probably doing it wrong.
focus on fucking, not friendship
Relationships already seem to have a tendency to move fast for single adults. For singles going on more structured dates, there is a lot of pressure to push things to an intimate level or risk falling in the friend zone. Online dating actually accelerate the process significantly. Couples that meet online spend a third the time courting into marriage compared to offline couples. This goes back to what people are looking for in online dating. My postulation is that the expectation for relationships to “progress” is a little more urgent for those resorting to online dating.
The reality is that this is not a race. There is no population crisis. The tax breaks aren’t worth it.
Sketch balls are a big problem for all forms of dating. I have a flag system worked out for every type of sketch ball. It is kind of like the soccer penalty system. A red card is a no-go. That is usually set off by tramp stamps, outfits consisting of greater than 50% animal print, high heels taller than 3.6 inches, or cigarettes. Yellow cards are dished out to dates with a number higher than 30, or ones that walk out of the restroom with a powder coated nose.
I’m exploring and researching this space a little more. I’m intrigued by the rapid growth of some of these companies receiving millions of dollars in funding. I think there are some ways to alleviate some of the problems with online dating. I think there is room to create more interesting ways to bring potential partners together. It would be interesting to see gamification tied to this segment. I remember Chris met his girlfriend Elissa playing his Boombot portable speaker at the farmer’s market. He created common ground over music interest which is proven to be effective for most anyone.
On the other hand, if you can meet your dating objectives without using online dating, you’re gonna be a better person for it. I promise. One thing for sure is that online dating is here to stay and I will continue to observe this social experiment passively.