A male acquaintance recently asked me, “Do I have to online date? I just don’t think that’s where I’m going to find the caliber of woman that I want.”
Online dating sites get a lot of hype. They’re what people talk about over cocktails, what’s written about in the news (now: a dating site for people who eat gluten-free!), and what some of us try on a regular or semi-regular basis—though not as many as you’d think.
Did you know that only 1 in 5 singles visits a dating site each month?
Cliff Lerner pointed this fact out in his recent article on Facebook’s graph search—which is, he argues, “the most exciting development in the online dating industry in many years.” I have to agree with him, as most people still meet their significant others through friends. Why not leverage your Facebook network to find some fresh friend-of-a-friend meat? Seems more reliable than digging through an online haystack.
Time will tell what graph search is wholly capable of and how people use it. But what I was really fascinated by was the number of people that apparently don’t bother to online date: 80% of singles. Wowza!
It seems my acquaintance isn’t alone in his thinking. Quality must be a major concern for those who won’t touch online dating with a ten-foot pole—a concern easily validated by the horror stories that pepper popular culture.
So, are these offline singles right? Is online dating just for losers?
No, not really.
True to its roots, online dating does attract people who might not have the best luck in real life. So, yes, you might find some social awkwardness, some crazies, some bad attitudes. But you’ll also find people that work late hours, live in Oakland, aren’t barflies, and/or want to break out of their social circle.
If my online dating sample size of 20ish people tells me anything, it’s that there is quite a mix of people online—and most of them are perfectly wonderful individuals (I’ve only run into a few weirdos). Not bad odds.
So to answer my acquaintance’s question, no, you don’t have to online date. But why not have it be one of the few things you do in addition to good old-fashioned socializing and Facebook graph searching?