Online dating services. Like them or not, over 60 million Americans are registered users of the Top 5 Online Dating Service. That number does not even include the Facebook, Myspace, Craigslist & Twitter users who use those sites to meet other singles as well. However, to millions of people, online dating is still very taboo, and frowned upon...ESPECIALLY in the Black community. After seeing me on 2 recent Match.com commercials, I've had several beautiful Black women sheepishly admit to having memberships with Online Dating Services. But for some reason it was embarrassing for them to admit and even then they downplayed it like it was "Just for Shits & Giggles". A recent ABC News Study showed that 42% of Black Women have never been married, (twice the % of white women) Yet some would still rather stay single and in many cases, be miserable, than to date someone they've met online. So for those who are on the fence about online dating, here's 5 instant benefits to online dating:
1) SAFE CONVENIENCE:
To many people the biggest benefit of online dating is the convenience it gives a person to get to know another individual before meeting. There are A LOT of singles out there that simply don't have the time to go out and find companionship and honestly, it can be a very time consuming process. Going to bars, parties, clubs, malls, parks etc. can take a lot of time that many people don't have. Online dating can eliminate a lot of aimless chasing. You're on a sight with other singles. BINGO! In addition, once you meet someone online, this initial courting process can go on for as long as need be until you feel comfortable. During the process, if one person loses interest or gets a bad feeling about the other, they can simply call off all bets with little to no backlash, then on to the next one.
Helpful Hint: The 1st thing you should do when meeting someone online is GOOGLE THEM!!! You' be surprised what you can find out about a person! Also use good common sense. It's never a wise decision to tell a person where or what area you live, or give them your phone number too soon. The luxury of online dating is you can keep things at a comfortable distance until both people feel good about the situation. The initial meeting should also occur on common grounds, never at the person's home....DUHHHH!!!
2) PROFILE SCREENING:
Another huge benefit of online dating is the opportunity to pre-screen a person's profile to decide your level of interest. Yea, yea, I know, a person can easily create a spurious profile and lie about who they are and what they do, but those same people will lie in your face as well. It's only natural for a person to put their best foot forward, but there's still much that can be revealed in what a person writes and HOW they write as well. Obviously, you can get a hint about someone's educational capacity by how they write, (poor grammar, spelling etc) but you can also get an accurate indication based on WHAT they write too. For example, "I enjoy playing Madden on PS3" could actually translate, "I play video games all day and will ignore you in the process".
Helpful Hint: Don't OVER analyze, but do READ and Pay attention to more than just the words the person writes. Checkout their "Wall" or comment posts to get a good feel about who they really are. Remember, people typically keep the kind of company which reflects themselves. So if somebody's posting obscene or rowdy things on their wall, then they're probably that kind of person too.
3) PICTURED STORIES:
The saying, "A picture is worth a thousand words" holds true, but when I assess people's online pictures I think of another saying, "It's not WHAT you say, it's HOW you say it." Online daters usually have the luxury of being able to look through multiple pictures to gather information about the other person without ever meeting them. Pictures can easily give insight to someone's personality, religious beliefs, their taste in clothes, social life etc. Through pictures, you can also tell if a person's "Talk" matches their "Walk". For example, if her profile reads: "Good wholesome Christian girl who loves to spend quiet nights at home cuddled up with a good book" then you look through her photos and they're all pictures of her drunk in the club, kissing all over guys, and passed out on a Hollywood sidewalk, then her PROFILE (talk) doesn't match her PICTURES (walk).
Helpful Hint: Many people tend to conveniently "Forget" to upgrade their online pictures which could lead to things being over before they ever get started. Be upfront about how you look NOW, versus how you looked in your profile picture 10 years ago. If the picture wasn't very recent, either update the picture or offer to email a more recent picture of yourself. It's never a good idea to start a potential relationship off with a lie. My mother always says, "If you tell 1 lie, you gotta tell a million more to cover that 1 up!"
4) MINIMIZES AWKWARDNESS:
For anyone who has ever been on a blind date, you may have found it to have been the strangest, most uncomfortable situation ever. You're trying to get to know this person you've never meet before but sometimes you can't seem to find the balance between getting to know him/her and interrogating them. When you meet someone online you have the luxury of seeing their interests and even to discuss a few of them before you ever meet. So instead of the 1st date conversation going like this: "Soooooo do you like hockey?"...."No." (awkward silence) "Oh. OK." Your conversation can go more like this: "So I read on your profile you hate hockey, What do you have against hockey? LOL! Have you ever been to a game? etc etc...."
Helpful Hint: Leave some things to talk about in person. For example, people generally LOVE to talk about themselves, so if someone's profile says they were a collegiate cheerleader, that may be a good topic to save for the initial meeting. It will allow her to relax, open up, and talk about something she's familiar and comfortable with; herself.
5) NARROWS YOUR SEARCH:
I look at online dating like online shopping; if you're looking for the perfect pair of a specific brand of shoe, you will have a greater chance of finding it online than you would roaming around your local mall. Same with online dating. These sites are designed to fix single people up with people who share the same interests; what a huge convenience. Plus, let's be real, you may not be on an "Official" online dating site, but the reason your Facebook, Myspace & Twitter account say "SINGLE" is because you're remotely open to the possibility of meeting Mr.Right online, NOT just as an FYI (otherwise you'd leave it blank). And even if you haven't dated someone you've met online, we've ALL seen someone that we would DEFINITELY be interested in dating. So get over the fact that you're meeting the person online and stop limiting yourself. Plus ALOT OF YOUR FRIENDS HOOK UP ONLINE, THEY JUST WONT ADMIT IT ;-)
Helpful Hint: Be honest about who YOU are and what you're looking for. For example, If you don't like kids, then you probably shouldn't date someone who has kids. Of course there's always the exceptions, but if it's a deal breaker then don't waste your time or the other person's. But more importantly BE REALISTIC with what YOU have to offer!!! Don't demand Filet Mignon if you're only a Bologna Sandwich. #Church
YES, we all know there is something kinda of corny and uncool about online dating but GET OVER IT! It's now 2010 and technology is the way of the world. The internet has both enhanced AND handicapped the way we interact and meet people but, "It is, what it is". The way I look at online dating is, I'd much rather date someone I've met online then to go to a night club trying to find romance. You can't always control where you meet someone but a night club has never been an ideal place for me. I've lived in cities like New York and Los Angeles and it can be VERY difficult to met quality candidates who are SANE, and share common interest as you. Online dating services could help ease that process...