Reason Why Online Dating Brings Out The Worst In Many People

Reason Why Online Dating Brings Out The Worst In Many People

Cheating, ghosting and swiping – online dating brings out the worst in many people. Does it have to be this way?

Dating today comes with plenty of pitfalls. Yet if a stranger began chatting up someone in a pub, few people would respond directly with, “No, you’re too short for me, and I don’t think I’ll like your politics – please remove yourself from my orbit.” Similarly, most men wouldn’t expose their genitalia before saying a word on a first date. And very few people would abruptly walk out of a coffee shop mid-conversation, leaving behind a person they’d been seeing for weeks.

As bizarre as these behaviours seem when enacted ‘in real life’, however, people do the digital equivalents all the time while dating online. These situations have become commonplace on the thousands of online dating sites and apps, which isn’t great news for the millions of people who use them – in the US, three in 10 adults, a proportion that jumps to 48% among 18-to-29-year-olds.

Accordingly, would-be daters face lots of emotional hazards as they swipe and scroll. In 2018, a team of researchers across the Netherlands and US found 42% of people with dating-app Tinder profiles were married or in a relationship but still seeking dates. Meanwhile, abuse in the form of trolling is prevalent on the apps; users also endure ghosting, as matches disappear without a trace, and some people are also targeted with unsolicited graphic photos.

Of course, plenty of people behave badly when trying to pick up someone at a pub or club, or even on a date organised by mutual friends. But certain features of dating apps specifically make them unusually rife with poor conduct. “The screen mediates our courage, so we will do and say things online that we would never do in real life,” says Dr Joanne Orlando, an Australia-based researcher and author who focuses on digital wellness.

Other aspects of these apps, like their addiction-inspiring algorithms and wealth of options, also make people braver. They seem to give users not only a license to behave badly, but also even an incentive. What they offer, after all, is a numbers game – whether users want to find casual sex or romantic love, the wider they cast their nets, the more chance they have of finding it. This can encourage users to callously throw back the less promising catches, and move quickly from one person to the next, so they can use the apps to their maximum effect.

All of this has troubling implications for online dating, and the millions of people who lean on these sites and apps to find matches – a number that’s growing each year. Bad behaviour practiced and perfected on dating apps can easily bleed into the rest of our lives. And, often, it does.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.