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

As collegiettes™, we’ve all experienced those incredibly awkward moments that go hand in hand with growing up.  From middle school dances clad with braces, to tripping down the stairs in high school, to your first drunken night out in college, being in uncomfortable or embarrassing situations have become a part of normal life, lucky us.  So it’s no surprise that when in comes to online dating, that awkwardness will only continue to follow you. 
We’re all looking for someone to sweep us off our feet in a The Notebook-style romance (and preferably with Ryan Gosling doing the sweeping). Therefore, when you sign up for a dating site, you might just happen to stumble upon someone you know from the real world, especially if you’ve narrowed your search to a specific location.  While it may be a teensy bit awkward getting caught in the act, you’re both there for the same reason and it’s nothing to be ashamed of.
“I wasn't worried about stumbling upon profiles of people I knew, and in fact I have several times. It never really embarrassed me because the way I look at it, we're all on there for the same reason, to get out there and meet people we might not ordinarily meet,” Christina said.
But the awkwardness doesn’t stop there.

When you meet someone online, it is inevitable that when you finally get together, things could be a little uncomfortable.  Do you live up to what they were expecting?  Does he look better in his picture than in person? What if we’ve already talked about everything we have in common?  According to statistics, most men lie about their age, height, and income in their profiles.  So if you’re expecting a 6’4 millionaire, you may want to dial back your expectations a tiny bit. 
But don’t let your racing heart and sweaty palms get you down.  If it’s meant to work out, the conversation will flow and everything will settle into place.  And if it doesn’t,it wasn’t meant to be, and you now have a funny ‘OMG most awkward date of my life’ story to joke about with your friends.  
“After exchanging a few messages on the site, we agreed to meet up for coffee that weekend. We talked for hours and totally clicked,” Michele said.
“It can run more smoothly when you are communicating with someone through a site beforehand, especially if you keep up a conversation for at least a week or so before getting together. That way you can get some basic information out there, talk some things out, and still have material to talk about when you first meet,” Christina said.
But remember collegiettes™,first dates are inherently awkward, no matter where you meet the guy.
Mixed Signals
We’ve all seen a 20/20 special about the dangers of the Internet, and when it comes down to it, the World Wide Web can be a scary place.  Anyone can hide behind a picture of a smiling, buff guy.  That’s why, on any dating website, it’s important to be careful.  Don’tgive out personal information like addresses and phone numbers (and never social security numbers) until you’re 100 percent sure you’re comfortable with a person; one in 10 people on dating websites are scammers.  However, dobe open to the idea of connecting with someone you meet online—not everyone is out to get you, just be cautious.
Depending on what website you register with, the clientele may not be what you are looking for.  As college students, you may get wrapped up in a dating world where everyone’s priority is to get married.   For me personally, the idea of marriage is so far out of my mind, that any guy looking to settle down would definitely be a ‘no’ in my book.  So it’s important to pick a site where the customers are interested in the same kind of relationship as you are.  For college students, you’re more likely to find someone that fits your criteria on OkCupid or Date My School.
“I am on a free site so the clientele reflects that somewhat. You have to weed through the bad before you get to the good and sometimes it feels like you might not find a match. It can be discouraging,” Christina said.