For many people the online dating world represents a welcome break from the weirdness and cloying atmosphere of bars and clubs. These are not always the best places to find one’s perfect match, and more often than not the best that most people manage from the bar and club scene is a one night stand, which may or may not be the fireworks show the involved parties want it to be. For the Christian, navigating the bar and club scene is even worse because they are probably looking for someone who shares their personal values as committed Christians, and a one night stand is usually the last thing on their mind. This is where online dating gives people with selective criteria a better opportunity to be choosy about their potential dates, but it does not always offer the results that people believe it should.
Online dating certainly has its share of pitfalls. The attraction to most people when moving into the online world for their amorous interests lies in its anonymity. People often feel that the real world is rife with judgment about their attitudes, their bodies, their personalities, their income and jobs, and their performance. In many cases this is a real perception and people in the dating scene often find themselves rejected for many of these traits. Whatever the reason, this rejection is never a pleasant thing. In an online environment, the anonymity that the internet offers removes those judgment barriers and essentially allows people to be more of the people they think themselves to be. The trouble here is that an online relationship can be very compelling because of that remove. Both parties essentially exist in the other party’s heads because conversation takes place over text. This projection does not always give an accurate picture of the potential mate. Instead the person on the other end will inherently resemble who we want them to be.
Online relationships also move very quickly. They can be seductive, and above all they offer people a safety net from harm. Any time the relationship is not going to plan, ties can be cut off with a simple ignore. In the real world there often consequences for dealing with people in this manner, and we are more considerate of people’s feelings because we do not wish to see them hurt. This curtailing of courtesy and consideration in the online dating universe can make relationships artificial and abstract, and allow them to move without the usual checks and balances that real life relationships have.
Many dating sites provide good selection criteria for people to find a match that is close to their own interests and needs, but there is no denying that many things get lost in translation online. A good practice for someone using online dating to find a potential match is to always assume that the person on the other end is a real person, and chat conversation should be given as if it were real. This will make a real life meeting less of a shock. The online platform also offers the opportunity for video chat, which is a great way to retain some of the anonymity and safety that the internet provides, while giving the online dater a little dose of reality. Hopefully, it leads to something special for both party’s involved.