Online dating vs real dating
A couple of months ago, I was sitting at a bar minding my own business when the woman next to me did something strange.
Surrounded by potential partners, she pulled out her phone, hid it coyly beneath the counter, and opened the online dating app Tinder.
But the fear that online dating is changing us, collectively, that it's creating unhealthy habits and preferences that aren't in our best interests, is being driven more by paranoia than it is by actual facts.
"There are a lot of theories out there about how online dating is bad for us," Michael Rosenfeld, a sociologist at Stanford who has been conducting a long-running study of online dating, told me the other day.
One of the reasons people love dating sites so much is how convenient it is.
Gone are the days of sitting through awkward blind dates–most dating sites use personality tests to guide users toward their best match.
So, if you've exchanged a couple flirtatious messages with a potential mate, established a basic foundation of things you have in common and are somewhat assured that it's worth testing the waters with a meet-up, take the plunge and ask her to hang out.
While it’s great to have so many fish in the sea–it can be a bit exhausting having to weed out the good from the bad.
Instead of interacting with the people around her, she chose to search for a companion elsewhere online.
I wondered to myself, is this what online dating has done to us?
On her screen, images of men appeared and then disappeared to the left and right, depending on the direction in which she wiped.
I felt a deep sense a rejection -- not personally, but on behalf of everyone at the bar.
Today, nearly half of the public knows someone who uses online dating or who has met a spouse or partner via online dating – and attitudes toward online dating have grown progressively more positive.