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Am signing up with an online dating service

Research suggests that those who are socially anxious (Green, 2001) or introverted (Amichai-Hamburger et al., 2002; Rice & Markey, 2009) feel more comfortable communicating online.

The sites can put too much focus on physical attractiveness.Having no choices can lead to misery, but too many options can overwhelm and lead you to worry that you’ve chosen wrong.You can feel confident in your decision about which car to buy when there are only three under consideration, but if there are hundreds, you’ll constantly second-guess yourself and wonder if you could have done better.It is well documented that physical attractiveness is a major factor in romantic attraction, especially initial attraction (Sprecher, 1989).Not surprisingly, physically attractive people are more successful at online dating (Hitsch et al., 2005). Online dating via plentyoffish doesn't cost you a dime.

Paid dating sites can end up costing you hundreds of dollars a year without a single date.

In addition, when we read vague information about someone, we mentally fill in the blanks with specific details that may be incorrect (Norton & Frost, 2007).

For example, when you read in a man’s profile that he’s a movie buff, you might think that's something you have in common, but when you get to talking about movies on your date you realize that you’re a foreign film aficionado, while he’s obsessed with horror flicks.

There are dating sites devoted to particular religious groups, like Christian Mingle or JDate, for example, as well as sites that cater to gay and lesbian daters. This removes a lot of the ambiguity that you face when you meet an interesting person at a work event or a party. Because of the ease and relative anonymity of online dating sites, we may take more risk reaching out to people we would not approach in person.

And even though men generally contact women more than vice versa on these sites, research has shown that a sizable minority of women do reach out to men they find desirable online, suggesting that these sites allow some women to overcome traditional gender norms that cast them in a passive role of waiting to be approached (Scharlott & Christ, 1995). Shy or socially anxious individuals often have difficulty forming and maintaining close relationships (Alden & Taylor, 2004; Davila & Beck, 2002).

Thus, it is not surprising that shy people are more likely to look for romance on dating sites (Scharlott & Christ, 1995; Ward & Tracey, 2004). As discussed, one benefit of online dating sites is access to hundreds, even thousands of potential mates—but having all those options is not always a great thing.