Millennials love technology. We grew with up with technology. From AOL instant messenger, Yahoo Chat rooms, Myspace, and a plethora of other mediums used to communicate with friends and strangers, Generation Y is no stranger to any URL. With technology being a daily part of our millennial lifestyles, it should not come to a surprise that the stigma of online dating is changing.
I like to think the online dating stigma still lives because it tampers with “security”. The thought of meeting a person in the flesh for the first time gives a more natural, realistic, and secure feeling in regards to dating. Also, people may have a difficult time telling others that they met their spouse, partner, girlfriend/boyfriend online because it takes away from the sappy old story of “Oh, we bumped into each other at the grocery store and when I saw the box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch in his cart, I knew he was the man for me”. Somebody, please cue the violin.
Older generations were only limited to meeting people with whom you grew up with, went to school with, or through mutual friends or family-friends. Meeting people through natural occurrence is great, however, online dating widens the dating pool if those concentric circle options are disappointing or if you just don’t randomly bump into the “right” person in the grocery store.
In my opinion, meeting people online may make it easier to filter out the mess and be in more control of selections based off of common interests or hobbies.
With that being said, people may have varied intentions for utilizing social media or online dating sites. Some people may use it to really find love or some people may just want to have a great night. Regardless of the intention, I think it is safe to say that the common motive is to meet new people – which is totally okay. There are even different sites for the levels of intent. For instance, if you want to be more selective and intentional about whom you meet and are willing to spend money to make sure you get more meaningful matches, perhaps sites like match.com or eHarmony are for you. On the other hand, there are dating apps, such as Tinder, available for free on your phone that allow you to meet people within a very close proximity of you with just a left or a right swipe.
If you are seeking to meet new people online, no matter the outlet, here are some tips to consider to do so safely.
Distributing important information
With apps like, Tinder, notifying you of people that are within a few miles from you is already slightly creepy enough – don’t aid in the creepiness by giving away important info so early on. Use caution when giving out your direct phone number, address, or even frequent where a bouts. Even though apps like Tinder make it quicker and easier to match and message compared to sites like e-Harmony or match.com, you still need to remind yourself that you do not know these people.
Don’t get “catfished”
The people who get caught up on catfish are stupid. Period. Our current technological devices are too advanced to not know whom you are communicating with. There’s FaceTime, Skype, and GOOGLE for goodness sake! Doing a little investigation is not creepy, it’s called being smart and safe. I use for Google everything and everybody. Also, the world is smaller than you think. Ask mutual friends to get more information on your prospects (if you’re trying to go that deep). However, in the land of filters, superficiality, and shallowness, beware that some users may post photos of themselves when they looked young and ripe at 21, but now they are 32 and look pretty busted. With that being said, you may be surprised at the first meet up. This happens very often.
The First Meet-Up (Date)
Congrats even if you make it this far! If you are single, meeting new people can be fun and very exciting. For the first date, it is not okay to meet at his/her place of residence (or even at your home). No matter how long you have been communicating with this person or how much you may feel like you know them, he/she is still a stranger to you. It is smarter and safer to meet up at neutral and public place (where you are not alone), such as – a restaurant, park, ice cream shop, etc. It is also a smart move to let a friend know where you are going and the info of the person that you are going with (especially if it is the first time). I usually call and/or Face-Time that friend to let them know that I have made it home safely.
Needless to say, I think online dating is pretty awesome. What are your views on online dating? Regardless of perspective, cuffing season has officially begun. May the odds be ever in your favor!