Is the Internet the Best Way to Find a Mate?

A recent article in the NYTimes entitled No Scrolling Required at New Dating Sites referred to the dozens of new dating initiatives based on good old fashioned one on one, in person, mate seeking and meeting. The article pointed out that, “After all, while the Web does broaden the dating pool, it has also disappointed…” Does this new wave of retro-dating initiatives portend the coming downfall of the internet dating sites millions of singles have grown to love and hate? And if so, would that be a positive outcome?

I’ve written many times that the right online dating site can be an effective tool in a soulmate search if used properly. But I think it’s also safe to say that online dating isn’t right for everyone. In fact, the success rate in percentage terms is tiny. So why are tens of millions of singles paying between $10 and $40 a month for the privilege of regularly facing rejection, frustration, and disappointment? For the same reason that people spend billions on lottery tickets: the chance of a dream come true. Ok, maybe going to a casino to win your mortgage payment is a better analogy. With the right knowledge of the games and betting discipline you can increase your odds of success. Same’s true of online dating. With the right profile photos and email banter, you can increase your odds of success, but the odds are still stacked against you.

So am I telling you to retire your online profiles and close your dating site accounts? Look, if the money is totally unimportant to you and you enjoy scrolling through the same old profiles daily, then by all means roll the dice and go for it. You might be one of the lucky ones to have your story featured on the homepage of one of those sites. As the wise man once said, even a broken clock is right twice a day.

But if you are one of the disappointed and frustrated who can’t stop complaining about how much you hate online dating, then I have a word of advice for you: quit. Instead of spending your money on something that isn’t working for you, you can use it to help you find your mate in other ways.
Here are some suggestions:

1. Go to one or two good, quality, high-end events where you believe you have a good chance of meeting the kind of person you are looking for. True, these quality events usually cost a lot more than your average loser singles event, but you get what you pay for. Take the 300 – 500 bucks you spend on online sites and go to an upscale charity event or ski trip. The price tag itself will usually pretty effectively screen out the losers and shlimazels, so you can focus on meeting the “right ones”. Make sure you do your due diligence and research to find the right events for you.

2. Join a gym. If you live in Manhattan a gym membership will probably be a lot more than your online dating spending, but if you don’t go to the gym regularly already, you must start NOW. Besides the obvious health benefits, both physical and mental, you will improve your appearance. The better you look, the better your chances of finding a mate, period.

3. See an image consultant who can help you improve your appearance with advice about clothing, nutrition, diet, and exercise. You might just need one or two sessions, and they’ll be well worth the money spent. I obviously recommend Danielle Devorah Pashko.

4. Become a member of a cool social networking group based on your interests that hosts parties and events. Your chances of meeting someone you can connect with will be exponentially higher than throwing darts at your favorite online dating search results.

4. Go on a singles trip or getaway. Yeah, this is basically the same as #1, but it’s worth focusing on again. These things are usually expensive, but with the money you save from your online dating abstention, you’ll be able to spring for it, at least once. The chances of connecting with someone on a trip are way up there. In fact, it might be the best chance you’ll ever have. If you’re truly open to meeting someone, sharing a week on a boat, beach, trek, canoe, or resort hotel is just the right medicine to cure your single hood. It’s got romance written all over it!! No, there are no guarantees, but if you go with an open mind and heart, you will have the time of your life.

So, no, you don’t have to continue spending your hard earned money on dating sites that aren’t working for you. You can find your mate by working hard and working smart. But if you aren’t ready to leave the online dating world behind, I’ve got 2 suggestions:

1. Facebook – I know it’s not a dating site, but everyone you want to meet is on it, and you can connect through mutual friends (which is a lot more natural).

2. Free dating sites – you can do your own homework to find them.

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