Online dating is not a panacea for singleness

This week the journal, Psychological Science in the Public Interest published a report that reviews over 400 studies that examined the usefulness and outcomes of online dating. According to the journal report, social scientists worry that singles are being seduced to join dating sites by claims that the matching algorithms they have designed are scientifically based tools that give daters an edge in finding that right someone. However, the evidence they looked at points to the fact that great matches result more from luck and timing- and perhaps a winning profile and good self-marketing.

The different algorithms used by sites such as eharmony, OKCupid and were examined- and the report’s conclusion is that the sites have “tended to focus on the information that is easy for them to assess, like similarity in personality and attitudes, rather than the information that relationship science has found to be crucial for predicting long-term relationship well-being. As a result, these algorithms are unlikely to be effective.” Hmmmm, and you thought you were getting more for your money with one of these.

Social scientists do recognize that online dating sites can be useful because they offer singles access to meeting people they would never come across in the social, work and leisure circles in which they move. Online meeting also has the advantage of offering quick and convienient access to other singles who are also looking to meet people to date. However, reading through profiles can be overwhelming and often there are so many choices that it makes it hard to make a choice. There is also the issue of meeting people who are also communicating with-and meeting others at the same time. The authors also point out that many people end up hooking up and/or having brief affairs- but fewer find lasting connections.

My take? Online dating is one tool in your meeting and dating kit. Signing up for a well managed site and creating a great profile will help you increase your odds of meeting people. Dating is partially a numbers game. It’s important to check emails frequently, spend consistent time each week reading through profiles- and especially reading between the lines and then keeping an open mind about who you should contact. Keep your expectations reasonable and don’t put all your eggs in the online dating basket. Balance in dating is just as important as balance in life. Love could come along when you are out walking your dog, running an errand, in church or at a friend’s party. For more on this, check out:

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