The Pros & Cons of Online Dating: Should You Try It?

Every weekend we spend hours getting ready, squeezing into our tightest jeans, putting on our cutest tops, straightening or curling our hair, and applying just the right amount of lip gloss—all in hopes of finding that special someone at the bar or frat party.  But in college, sometimes finding a boyfriend is just as hard as finding the perfect pair of shoes; the guy who seems like Mr. Right is never a perfect fit.  However collegiettes™, there’s still hope: online dating.  We’ve put together everything you need to know about online dating so you can decide whether or not to give it a shot.
 
Pros

So Many Boys, So Little Time
Online dating sites have more than 20 million people browsing their profiles a month. So when you sign up and create a profile on a dating site, you’ll be exposed to thousands of people all there for similar reasons, rather than the handful of skeezy guys that attempt to buy you a drink on a Saturday night.  A dating site is like the Facebook exclusively for singles, but when you find something you like, it’s okay to go for it and make some conversation.
 
“You meet people you might not ordinarily get to meet in your everyday life,” said Christina, a graduate of Merrimack College, who has tried online dating. 
 
Convenience is Key
Online dating is convenient. It filters out that awkward limbo phase where you’re stuck trying to decipher if a guy wants to date you... or just hook up with you.  Online dating brings the singles of the world together, and you get to decide what exactly you’re looking for when you stumble upon someone’s profile.
 
“There was no messy ‘defining the relationship’ talk because we both were blatantly clear about what we were looking for,” said Michele, a sophomore at University of Florida, who met her boyfriend on the site Ok Cupid.
 

Looking For?  Interested In?
When a guy walks up to you at a bar, there’s no nametag around his neck letting you know what he’s really looking for, or if you have anything at all in common. But dating websites help clue you in to all of this; all the information is out there to share, right up front where you can see it. 
 
Dating websites will ask you to list what you’re looking for when you create a profile.  Do you have a height requirement?  Do his political views matter? Is age a major factor?  Even better, you can also search profiles by your interests too.  It’s like shopping, but instead of looking for a chic handbag, you’re finding a new piece of arm candy to love.
 
The biggest pro is the ability to filter people based on your criteria.  In all honesty, I would first look at where someone lived, and if it was too far, they were ruled out.  Next I looked at their pictures, and if I was attracted to them, I would read further,” said Julia, a recent graduate of Boston College who has tried out three different websites.
 
“You know if the person has the same core beliefs and values as you,” said Mary Beth, a senior at Aquinas College.  “Like for me, I’d want to meet someone who has the same religious and political beliefs.”
 

With a focused search on just exactly what you’re looking for, you can screen out anyone you know you wouldn’t have a spark with.  Online dating is all about finding those fireworks. 

We Found Love in A Hopeless Place
The bottom line is, online dating doeswork, with 94 percent of users saying they found that special spark! Check out how these collegiettes™ found love with a click of their mouse. 

“My boyfriend and I met last year on E-Harmony.com. Since I only signed up for the free weekend [which means you don’t have access to complete profiles], I was unable to see what my boyfriend looked like before our date. This really helped me to get to know him before being wrapped up by his good looks. I am still happy a year later.” –Sathiyya, a senior at Bowie State. 
 
“I signed up for OkCupid September of 2010, just for fun. I didn't expect anything serious. A week or two later, I got matched up with a guy named Chris. His profile picture was weird, but when I looked at his other pictures he was really cute! He said he was into sports journalism like me so I made the super awkward first contact. We went on our first date Dec. 4 and the 14th is our one-year anniversary. We are very much in love, and neither of us can believe we found true love online.”
- Kelly, a junior at JMU
 
“Halfway through my first semester of college, I felt like I wanted a relationship, but kept meeting guys who had different expectations. I set up an account on OKCupid. I got a message from a guy who seemed perfect for me. Over the next two weeks, we saw each other more and more frequently, until we were seeing each other on a nearly daily basis. By the third week, we were Facebook official, and by the fourth, I had practically moved into his apartment.” – Michele, a sophomore at University of Florida

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