One of the most common questions I am asked is, "Where do I meet single men [or women]?"
The short answer is that many people meet through work, classes or friends. Others meet through hobbies or social encounters—such as dances, Meet-Ups or outings. Some meet randomly during their usual routines: at the grocery store, bus stop or library.
However connecting on an dating site is now one of the top ways that couples meet according to a report from a 2013 study by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Often, when I mention that meeting online is a great way get to know people you wouldn't ordinarily encounter in your regular life, I hear a sigh of exasperation. Many people try it and are frustrated by the process because they are expecting it to work differently than it actually does.
If you have the same expectations about online dating as you do of real life dating, a handful of things about online dating may not initially make sense to you.
People tend to create stories about why things are the way that they are. These common online dating myths might sound like they make sense, but, actually, they can make online dating less successful.
Myth number one: "The kind of person I'm looking for wouldn't stoop so low as to date online."
- All sorts of people date online. Intelligent people. Not-so-smart people. White-collar professionals. Blue-collar workers. Deep, thoughtful and spiritual folks. People only interested in partying. People looking for lasting love and commitment. People who just want to play around. Successful rich people, middle class and poor people. And, yes, both emotionally available people and those who are already in a relationship.
- The common thread among those who are on dating sites is that all of them want to meet someone to date
Myth number two: "Someone who has spelling or grammatical errors in their online profile or emails is thoughtless, careless or stupid."
- Someone who made those kinds of errors probably didn't think that those reading their profile would judge them so harshly on their writing. They could be in a rush, dyslexic or distracted among other things. One of my clients––who is looking for a committed, lifelong relationship––is a handsome, highly successful, eligible bachelor who has his own law firm. By his own account, he can't spell his way out of a paper bag. While spell-check works on some applications, it's not reliable on all mobile devices.
- If someone is compatible, loving and a wonderful partner, how important are their writing skills in day-to-day life? If you met someone at a party, you wouldn't judge them on their spelling ability. So don't do it when you're online dating.
Myth number three: "There are a lot of serial daters online because most of the same people, who were there last time you looked at them, are still on the site."
- Many people who use online dating sites will go online to meet someone who they believe has relationship potential, and then stop using the site when they meet someone special. If that relationship doesn't work out, they may return to the site to meet someone new. After all, if you've been on the site before, others may be saying the same thing about you.
- Seeing someone's photos many times can make it seem as if you've gotten to know that person. However, if you haven't actually read their profile and given yourself a valid reason not to date them, all it means is that they are a familiar face. So, if you see a familiar face, read their profile and eliminate them from your future searches, according to the dating site's instructions.
- When I began my dating coaching career, close to a decade ago), one of my clients became involved with a man who I'd seen online for several years. They are still together, and are in a long-term committed relationship that works fantastically for both of them. If she had looked at his photo and said, "Oh, I've already seen this guy." she would have missed out on what she calls the best relationship of her life.
No one is born knowing how to online date. Selecting a possible romantic partner by reading text and looking at photos isn't part of anyone's mating instinct. But, if you've got realistic, positive expectations, it's a great way to meet someone who could turn out to be a wonderful romantic partner.