Lifestyle

Online Dating Vs. Offline Dating: The Pros and Cons

Finding love can be difficult in the real world. When it comes to online dating vs. offline dating and finding the right person to be in a relationship with, I’ve found myself desperate at times and looking in all sorts of places for the best dating advice and dating tips. Between dating online or offline there are many pros and cons, but in particular, dating online has really reduced the difficulty for me in determining who’s actually in the market for love. Afterall, singles don’t walk around advertising their single status by wearing a badge that says, “I’m single: inquire within for details.” But that’s exactly what they do with online dating sites and apps like OKCupid and Match.com.

So, I couldn’t help but smile while listening to the January 3rd edition of NPR’s All Things Considered the other day. The piece, which features Lisa Bonos of the Washington Post’s Solo-ish blog, examined what happens when online dating enthusiasts step away from their computers to try meeting folks in real life.

It was Bonos’s comment about January 3rd being the busiest day of the year for new signups on sites like Match and Plenty of Fish that prompted my grin. Why? Because I’d been there, done that myself.

A few years ago, after the end of a long-term, live-in relationship, I found myself back in the online dating saddle that very week. What I’d never done–and still haven’t–is attempt to meet people without using the Internet.

Happily for me, I met my match about a year and a half ago, and the world of online dating seems like a distant memory. It still fascinates me, though, and the All Things Considered piece really got me thinking. Without online dating sites and apps, how would modern singles find one another?

From what I could tell, Bonos had a decidedly awkward time trying to engage with others out in the real world. As noted in the summarization of the piece, she noticed that ditching the apps forced her to be more social at gatherings. It all backfired, though, when she inadvertently spent a huge chunk of time at a party chatting up a guy who turned out to be married.

That’s the thing: In real life, there’s no quick, easy way to tell whether someone is single. Sure, you can surreptitiously look to see if they’re wearing a ring, but a lack of one certainly doesn’t mean that they are available. They could be in a happy, committed, long-term relationship but just haven’t gotten hitched yet. They may be married but prefer not to wear a ring. They may even be married and in an open relationship, in which case a ring doesn’t mean that they’re off-limits!

It doesn’t surprise me that people flock to online dating sites in droves at the dawning of a new year. For many, getting out there and meeting someone is a reasonable New Year’s resolution. Technology makes it so much easier to, at the very least, line up a few dates. Imagine how much more difficult the process would be if you had to roam around in real life looking for someone with whom you were compatible.

I’ll come right out and say it: I’m a huge proponent of online dating. My go-to dating site has long been OKCupid not only because it’s free but because members answer questions that are quite revealing about their personalities. Unlike Tinder, which expects you to basically choose people based on looks alone, OKC allows you to get a much better feel for what they’re really like.

As enthusiastic as I am about online dating, however, I’m hoping to never go back. Even under the best circumstances, it’s exhausting and stressful. I’ve never quit before to meet people in real life; I’ve only quit upon ending up in a relationship. With all of that being said, I firmly believe that finding like-minded singles in real life would have to be exponentially more difficult, stressful and tiring.

I understand quitting online dating to take a breather, but I also believe that the proverbial cat is out of the bag and that traditional ways of meeting romantic partners have largely gone the way of the dodo. Is that progress? I actually think so. If you’re single, give online dating a try. After all, you can disable or cancel your account at any time.

What’re your thoughts on online dating vs. offline dating? Start a discussion: leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

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