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It’s a slightly ironic shift given how much of 21 century society is driven by demand for instant gratification, but one which many are welcoming.“With online dating, you generally go first from messaging, to maybe texting and then to actually meeting up in person.” says Bernie Hogan of the Oxford Internet Institute.“It takes away that difficult initial approach and the fear that you’ll just embarrass yourself in front of a stranger.It’s also a guarantee that everyone is in the same game as you, removing a big risk factor which is what stops a lot of people.” The reason why it may feel easier to approach someone online is related to how we’ve evolved to read each other’s body language.So just as Facebook has a ‘like’ button where you don’t need to say anything, these platforms provide a variety of modest cues which you can use to signify some kind of attraction without having to really commit yourself.” For many people, this makes online dating a more attractive option, providing the ability to put a whole variety of feelers out while making the process far less daunting than in real life.25 year old Katie has been on a series of dates with men she first met online.“I live in London and this is definitely a positive as it’s so hard to make connections with new people here.
“Online you don’t get that immediate response that you would when speaking to someone in person, which can deter people.” So what next for online dating?
Throughout human history, changes in culture have always impacted the way we form relationships and the actual concept of the date itself is a relatively recent development.
Social historians believe ‘dating’ originally began as a facet of American culture in the 1950s, where men with cars could go out with someone they were interested in, and drive them away from their friends to a drive-thru or a mall in order to have some one-on-one time.
“There used to be a stigma but when you get a certain critical mass of people doing it, the social norms shift which is what’s happened over the past four years,” says clinical psychologist Jessamy Hibbert.
“It’s become more normal, so these days people think, ‘Why haven’t you tried online dating? And the generation doing it now have all grown up online while when it was first out, that generation of 20-30 year olds hadn’t grown up with the internet in the same way.” With the online world becoming an ever-present part of our existence it was perhaps inevitable that we would begin shopping for love, in the same way we do for clothes, music and most other components of our everyday lives.
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I don’t care enough to try.” Impersonal greetings are just lazy, and I don’t have time to respond to hundreds of identical “sups” from people who may or may not be interested in me personally.