Accurate Expectations

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Recent studies are beginning to show that online dating can, in fact, lead to successful, long-term relationships for many. This isn’t exactly a surprise to those who have witnessed or experienced success already, but it’s yet another step in breaking down the antiquated stigma that, for some, still surrounds online dating. These studies might even bring a fresh wave of those who want to take the plunge and sign up with a site. All good news, right? Well, yes - as long as we keep a few key points in mind. If you’re new to online dating, or just want a refresher on points to mention when you’re chatting with the curious, here are some to start with:

First and foremost, online dating isn’t really that different. When people have a negative impression of online dating, they usually believe something along the lines of a bunch of robots, clinically matching up the desperate. It’s otherworldly, foreign. Now that online dating is getting positive attention, it might still reinforce that notion that it’s “different” - only this time, it’s seen as a magic wand.

In reality, of course, online dating is just another way to meet people in person. You don’t strive to fall in love with a profile; that profile piques your interest enough that you send an email, and if there’s mutual interest, you meet in person. That’s where the real magic happens - and it’s a tale as old as time itself.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that online dating doesn’t have several benefits for those who have difficulty dating - it does! Since you don’t have to be on-site to learn that your potential match exists, you don’t have to worry about the serendipity of ever finding them. You can stumble upon their profile when you’ve just gotten home from working the night shift, for example. Or you can find the only other person who’s ever heard of your favorite movie, even though you’d never run into each other through your daily routines.

Another point to consider if you’re new or talking to someone interesting in signing up for online dating: even the most shy people have to be a little proactive. Online dating sites can show you profiles of people you may be interested in, but you’re the one who has to take that first step and email them. Online dating is efficient, but it doesn’t do the work for you.

That being said, for someone who’s shy, emailing can be considerably easier than approaching someone in person. And by the time you meet in person, you know there’s already at least a little mutual interest, so that first in-person meeting is all the easier. Testing out compatibility is always nerve-wracking, but online dating can at least ease those difficult initial steps. And with the sheer numbers involved in online dating, you have the ability to practice and get comfortable much more quickly than you might otherwise.

Online dating can indeed be a way to find love, as hopefully more and more people will discover over time. And by having honest conversations about it, we can continue to break down misconceptions. After all, the more people who approach online dating with accurate expectations, the faster they can find the love they’re seeking.