Online Dating

Millions of men and women subscribe to online dating sites which specialize in matching folks in various age groups.  The dangers of meeting people in person from online advertisements have been well described.  What I will focus on here is how individuals present themselves via social media.  Most obviously, physical appearance is the largest drawing card but how accurately photos depict actual age is never clear.  A photo is but a brief glimpse of the person seeking romance and images can be deceptive.

More revealing are the personal captions and profiles.  Many people emphasize their life accomplishments in terms of work, past travels, and general interests and hobbies.  Profiles often describe the need for confidence, honesty, ability to have fun, the capacity for caring and compassion, and other human qualities designed to appeal to those seeking love.  But herein lies the problem.  Whether these descriptions bear any resemblance to the real person is often questionable.

The capacity to love or to be loved is a highly intangible event which can only be gleaned by actual physical contact.  It is powerfully non-verbal and has to do with facial expression, body posture, interactive conversation, and physical characteristics that are subtle and refined.  Now “chatting” helps with the process of evaluating sensitivity and refinement but it, too, has its limits since the person chatting can choose words carefully; spontaneity does not occur as it would across a table at a restaurant.  Nor can an online seeker see how the chatter interacts with others as I have mentioned in my post entitled “Eight Qualities of a Possible Soulmate.”  Online dating is here to stay, but I maintain that sharing a cup of coffee provides ever so much more feedback about the person one might wish to continue dating.

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