A Tinderella Story: The New Norm of Online Dating

Today, eHarmony (the posh dating website for people actually looking for something) released figures saying that by 2035, more relationships will start online than in person. Isn’t that mad?

And apparently, between 2015 and 2019, nearly a third of relationships started online. Suppose a good lot of them probably went on to break up, but sure they’re not gonna promote that are they? Anyway, it’s pretty clear that online is the new, popular, and probably the most likely way of meeting someone these days.

Maybe it’s just us millennials (before baby boomers start having a go at me), but meeting someone in person is becoming a bit of a novelty. When I hear people talking about how they met their boyfriend or girlfriend and they say “in person”, I’m genuinely surprised, because like, how?? Mutual friends, went to school together, met in Limelight, they’re the standard meet-cutes (learnt that wee term from ‘The Holiday’, hope I used it properly). But people don’t seem to talk to strangers in cafés, on buses or trains, or in department stores when reaching for the same pair of gloves.

I feel like romcoms really gave me a false sense of security. I mean, I’m still waiting to sit beside the love of my life on a plane, or have someone take pity on me and give me an umbrella when it’s absolutely LASHING outside. But no. And this is Ireland, where it always rains. So there have been AMPLE opportunities for people to swoop in there. Raging.

I’ve been waiting YEARS for a re-enactment of this ad.

People are on Tinder, Hinge, Bumble and all those other sites like Plenty of Fish etc, because, even though the chances of meeting someone who isn’t a serial killer or bloon are pretty low, they’re still higher than meeting someone in person. It’s like a catch-22 situation: less people talk in person so more people go online, then because everyone’s online then no sees the need to talk in person.

Online dating sites had the reputations of being full of strange people, but now it’s the stranger ones who actually approach you. Let’s be honest here, if someone sat beside you on the bus and started flirting, would you think “ooh dreamy”, or “hmm seems like a weirdo. Could be a distraction so his friend can mug me”? Sad, isn’t it?

Call me old-fashioned, but I think there’s something so much nicer about having actual face-to-face conversations with people. You can tell in like 30 seconds if you’re going to actually get on or not. Whereas, you could spend weeks talking online or texting, then meet up and realise they’re zero craic and don’t laugh at any of your jokes (but at least you find yourself funny). It saves you wasting your time and effort. Not that sending a gif is much effort like, but still.

My main concern is, what’s going to happen to romcoms? “Successful ladies man who has zero emotional capabilities and a hard-to-please da who always taught him to run from commitment, finally opens his heart to love and decides to quit his million-dollar-salary job for a small town girl he accidently superliked”? Doesn’t exactly scream ‘Box Office Record Breaker’ like. You’ve Got Mail is as modern and techy as I’m willing to have in a chick-flick, sorry.

Another thing is that surely it’s making people more superficial? You don’t swipe right on someone because they look like they might have a great personality, do you? We make a judgement on whether someone could or couldn’t be our future partner based off a few photos. I mean, who REALLY swipes past the third like? We judge people off wee trivial things like their hairstyle (even though they might only have worn it like that once), their shoes (they might’ve since binned that pair) and their names (don’t even pretend you don’t do that too). But maybe we’d overlook that if we had met them in person and realised that they’re actually really nice or funny.

There’s a lot out there about how social media is bad for our mental health and self esteem. What about online dating? Why is its popularity so celebrated when it’s making us all pretty shallow?

Thank you reading my rant about why I’m still single. The end.  

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