Online Dating Apps Might Hinder Your Ability to Make Real-life Connections

Forty percent of Americans use online dating, according to the popular dating website E-Harmony. The stigma of online dating has changed, and now it’s pretty normal to meet your significant other online. With the rise in popularity of online dating sites and apps, people (especially young people) have changed the way that we interact with each other. Online dating is easy, convenient and fun, but it can have some serious effects on the way we act in “real life.”

One of the worst things about online dating is seeing someone in person that you’ve been chatting with and completely ignoring each other. This is the most relevant for students on a college campus. You’ve been hitting it off, talking all day and then you see them on your way to class. But instead of acknowledging your presence, they put their head down and completely ignore you. What’s their deal? To make things worse, you will probably receive a message from them a few minutes later. “Hey, thought I saw you earlier. You looked amazing!” At this point, you’re totally confused about what to feel. Are you mad that they ignored you now, or does their message make up for it? Communicating with someone over a message is way easier than working up the courage to give a compliment in person. However, a smile or at least a wave is less awkward for everyone involved in the long run.

People like online dating because there is generally less risk involved with making the first move. If someone doesn’t respond to your message, that’s okay because you can just move on to the next potential candidate. There are little to no ramifications because you don't ever have to see them in person. If you ask out your co-worker crush and they deny your advances, then you have to deal with the pain of rejection every day when you see them at work. Less emotional damage is a good thing, right? For the most part, it is a good thing, but we are human beings. We are meant to have feelings. Rejection and heartbreak are part of life. Learning how to deal with your feelings and emotions is way better than simply avoiding the risk of trying at all.

There are other drawbacks to scanning people’s profiles online: studies reveal that it can make you more judgmental or picky based on appearances. The U.S. Association of Psychological Science found that examining multiple candidates causes people to be more critical and inclined to reject a not-quite-perfect candidate than they otherwise would be in a face-to-face meeting. Apps like Tinder are especially materialistic: people make snap decisions based on appearances and a short biography. Basically, you wouldn’t treat someone the same if you were with them in person versus looking at them online. Try to be more open to your options, because profiles don’t reveal the whole truth about a person.

You won’t meet the love of your life if you’re scrolling dating apps in the middle of every function. Keep your eyes open and live in the moment. Stop using your phone as a safety net. If you put in the effort from the beginning, you will be successful with your dating life. It’s hard to get to know someone just by looking at their dating profile, so take your online adventures with a grain of salt. The bottom line is, you shouldn’t sacrifice genuine connections for convenience. Enjoy yourself, but remember to be confident when making real-life connections.