When dating online, we tend to act like buying shoes27 Sep 2020
Getting to know the internet is great because it gives us a chance to meet someone we would never have to meet in real life. But experts point out the risks. Recent research has shown that many loving people tend to choose potential partners as well as goods in the online store.
With the expansion of online dating, potential couples are now almost as likely to meet online as friends and family, the CNN news server wrote.
In 1992, when the Internet was still in its infancy, less than a percent of Americans met their partners through personal ads or dating services. In 2009, 22 percent of heterosexual couples and 61 percent of homosexual couples reported online.
People without a partner now have more opportunities to meet than ever before. But it can also have upside down pages. According to psychologists, online dating can distort people’s attitudes and expectations in a way that actually reduces their chances of building a successful relationship.
We don’t know what we’re looking for
“Online dating is great. It gives people access to potential partners they wouldn’t otherwise have,” said Eli J. Finkel, lead author of a report in the February issue of Psychological Science in the Public Interest. “However, certain specifics of the online dating industry reduce some of its benefits.”
One of the weaknesses is the over-reliance on profiles. Studies suggest that people often lack an idea of what attracts them to others and why, and therefore the characteristics they look for in online profiles can be very different from those that actually attract them to others.
“The vast majority of online dating works on the principle of profiles,” said Finkel. “You can spend a lot and a lot of hours studying profile after profile, but at the end of this Herculean effort you don’t have to know how close you will be to see if a romantic spark jumps out there,” added Finkel, a professor of social psychology at Northwestern University in Illinois.
Potential partners like buns in a shop
According to the authors, the abundance of online profiles can also arouse excessive selectivity and excessive criticism in dating people. The sheer number of options can be overwhelming, and the ease with which people flip through profiles — clicking on more and more — can make them feel like a potential partner is just something. That they can easily choose between them and compare them like many pairs of shoes.
“Online dating creates a shopping mentality, and that’s probably not a very good way to choose a partner,” added psychology professor Harry Reis, who also contributed to the report. When it comes to face-to-face meetings, this “business mentality” of the person meeting can make the overly critical and drive away the “fleeting, spontaneous reaction” of the first live meeting.
Don’t write, you better go for coffee
Communicating via e-mail or one of the chats before a face-to-face meeting does not always cure this problem. According to researchers, some internet communication is good, but if it is too much, it can distort expectations and eventually sabotage the result. People tend to read too much from emails and other online communications, which increases the potential for misunderstandings and disillusionment.
That doesn’t mean online dating isn’t a good way to find someone, researchers say. Websites are a valuable resource for potential partners - unless you pay too much attention to profiles.
For example, Finkel advises Internet dating sites to move a conversation offline as quickly as possible. Instead of staring at profiles and comparing height, weight, employment and hobbies, send a potential partner a message proposing a coffee meeting in a public place and use it to judge the person in person, Reis added. “Don’t rate him. But rather ask yourself if he can make you laugh, if you like him.”