Story by Ty Smith, Managing Editor
Photo Courtesy of The Mirror
Since the inception of online dating, or as anyone in our generation calls it, “dating,” with sites like eHarmony and OKCupid in the early and mid-2000s, online dating has evolved from a small niche to a part of modern courting. What’s a single girl do when she spots a cute guy at the coffee house? Pull out Tinder. What’s a gay guy do when he sees someone he likes at the gym? Out comes Grindr.
Dating apps might be a part of dating itself at this point, but are they a good part? Certainly they have their upsides, one of the greatest being that they allow people in minority communities like the LGBT community to find each other, but is it just a shallow imitation of the real face-to-face connection? Where’s the spark, the romance of a first meeting?
As it turns out, dating apps may not be the worst, but meeting face to face is certainly preferable.
To start, who hasn’t heard horror stories of agreeing to meet someone in person, only to find they aren’t who they say they are? I’m not just talking about looks, but personality, background, simple facts about them. Texting allows people to hide behind a carefully constructed persona. Rather than be who they are, they make themselves into something entirely different. Over text, someone can be confident, sweet, and sound intelligent because they have the time to carefully construct their replies. In person? Nothing can hide their lack of hygiene, their brash personality, and their dull lack of interests.
Speaking of interests, meeting in person rather than online can better guarantee that you and your potential partner share at least some of the same interests. If you meet at a bar perhaps this isn’t true, but what about meeting at a painting class? Or a college course, on the hiking trail, at a movie festival? If you meet someone there, not only do you know that they have that interest, but that you two share it. Too often do people say ‘I love to hike, swim, and paint! :)’ when they really mean ‘I don’t do any of these things, but I think it makes me seem more attractive’.
“Fine,” you might say. “All of that sucks, but what about when you actually get into a relationship?” Unfortunately, I’m afraid to say that things don’t get rosier after the dating begins.
It’s great if you end up together forever, but actually arriving at that point is difficult. According to studies, while married couples who met online divorce less frequently than their in-person counterparts, unmarried couples are much more likely to break up.
Why is that?
It could be the fact that online algorithms can’t really predict compatibility. It can help bring together individuals with similar interests and goals, but it can never predict that unreasoning spark of chemistry that happens between two people. Relationships might come from algorithms because the participants tell themselves ‘But we’re so alike! They have to be the one’, but they won’t stay together because of it.
Or, more likely, it’s because online dating makes people picky and judgemental.
Yes, you read that right. The US Association of Psychological Science found that the vast selection of people available in the dating pool online makes people more likely to reject a nearly perfect candidate for dates in search for the perfect person, even if they would otherwise be alright with an in-person meeting. Dating apps make people expendable, and in a relationship born online, the specter of the app always haunts the users. Small things that might just irk someone turn into a huge deal because even if they don’t realize it, they always know they can just break up and go back to the app, continuing their long search for the perfect person.
About the Writer: Ty Smith is a senior at Aquinas dual majoring in Computer Science and English. He loves reading, writing, and his cat Buttercup.