Online Dating

Online dating is not as scary, or as creepy as some may think. In a time where ‘Googling’ is a verb and adding people to Facebook the moment you meet them is considered the norm, it only seems natural that there are online outlets for singles to mingle, as well.

I met my current boyfriend on an online dating website, OK Cupid, and we have been together for almost three years. I didn’t even join the website looking for dates in the first place; a friend in the States told me to join simply because I would like all the quizzes and little games on it. Yet being friendly, open and virtually-street smart, certainly has its rewards.

There is no guarantee you won’t have a couple of weird messages, but these always make for hilarious stories over cocktails with the girls later. I’ve had outright requests for one night stands, marriage proposals and introductory life stories that span for five or six paragraphs. I never responded to these, instead only responding to messages where I could see time was taken to read my profile and effort spent on finding some common ground to start chatting on.

It was always nice to be able to veto people quickly on relationship deal breakers by reading their profiles or seeing what questions they answered. If I knew someone was a smoker or a fussy eater, I could comfortably move on to the next profile.

Dating websites are also pretty good at keeping your information private, guys wouldn’t even be able to see my name unless I told it to them in a message, and the anonymity made it extremely low-pressure to send out messages or choose to not respond.

I also loved how easy and accessible it was. I could whip out the app on my iPhone while on the bus, see if anyone had messaged me, or check out some new profiles and potential matches.

When my current boyfriend and I were still courting online, I once even spent a long layover at an airport just messaging back and forth with him and spending that extra time to get to know him.

I think something to keep in mind with online dating is that it is not something that you have to actively do. I have friends who say they have ‘tried’ online dating, that it hasn’t worked for them and proclaimed that they will never do it again. What’s wrong with keeping a profile open, and checking the occasional message or profile? Online dating is not necessarily a verb, I like to think of it as a venue to meet people, like a club, like a bar, like a yoga class. It’s just digital.

It also may not be a fast process. I was lucky, my boyfriend was the first and only guy I met via Ok Cupid in person and we totally hit it off. Before meeting me, he had gone on about a dozen different dates, with a few becoming relationships, albeit short term.

After recommending online dating to a couple of my friends, similar stories have followed. I have a friend who met her husband around the same time my boyfriend and I met online; one who met her boyfriend after a couple of casual dates over a few months and another who found a guy within three weeks. There is no set formula, just like meeting and dating people in the physical world.

Here are some sites we suggest to get you started:

OK Cupid

Not to be biased, but it’s hard to go past OK Cupid. The free version of the site is not laden with ads, includes all the features you would need, is friendly and easy to use. Make an account, answer as many random user generated questions as you want, and when you check out someone’s profile, your answers will be cross checked to see how compatible you might be.

Tastebuds

Big on your music? Meet your musical match by plugging in your favourite artists and songs, typing out a few words about yourself and connect. At the very least you could find yourself some gig buddies.

Miss Travel

Want to take meeting online to the next level? Why not try Miss Travel? You can offer to show a visitor around your town, or maybe, just maybe be invited on an overseas adventure!

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