The Fallacy of Online Dating


From 2008 to 2014 I was a member of online dating sites like PlentyOfFish, Tinder, jSwipe, OkCupid, and any other one that was stupid enough to allow me on it. I went on over 100 dates, and I got really good at *not* being nervous on a first date, and met many people. There was value in that, but none of these people stuck around. None. I also listened to many friends who complained about their results with online sites when it came to finding something meaningful. They had no luck finding something that lasted. My estimate is that 10% of my friends have found something that lasted from online. Congrats. I am happy for you, yet that’s close to the metric from Pew Research that only 5% of americans get married from online dating sites. The point of this post is to articulate why the odds are heavily stacked against you if you’re relying on online dating to find that special someone. 

Online Shopping

Power in numbers, right? No. Welcome to the commodification of love. When computers first came out they were really expensive, like the price of a car. Then, after millions were manufactured, they dropped in price and value per unit. The same principle applies to humans with online dating, and it’s happening now because we have millions of single humans at our finger tips, and it’s de-valuing us, ‘per-unit’.


Go ahead, click, swipe…you might hate what you find.


More Risk Committing

People you meet online don’t have close friends in common with you, and your common friends don’t introduce you. The danger here is that you’re dating someone without a background check. Sure, you could go scrape their court records, however that’s not nearly as meaningful as a full-on yelp-style recommendation from your friend or friend of friend who’s hung out with this person on 100s of occasions, and knows them.


Less Risk Committing

On the flip-side, once you do find any issue with an online-someone you’re dating, you have an easy out. When you meet someone online there are usually no shared connections, so if you decide to dump them, your best friends are much less likely to know, care, or judge because you don’t share this mutual friend with them. If you don’t like how they snore, that is a lame excuse to tell your mutual friend that’s the reason you broke up. If you met them online, then, who cares? Bye!

A False 1st Impression

When you look at an online profile, you see their pictures, some interests, and a free-form statement about them/what they want. Most people brush up their photos, and are generally bad at articulating the story of their life and deepest desires in a clear, effective manner (especially in 500 words) so this is going to be the wrong impression. When you meet someone ‘organically’, aka in person for the first time, without have seeing pictures or their silly blurb of their life, you pick up on things like mannerisms, vibe, jibe, personality and other things that actually matter in a relationship, like “I could actually stand to spend more than a few minutes hanging out with him/her”. Since you form the wrong impression with an online-first impression, it’s going to more likely lead to becoming a bad match down the line, when things actually matter.

That sexy rich Stanford graduate may be a type-A-perfect-force-of-genetic-perfection on paper, but terribly annoying to you after a few hours of in-person interaction, yet you stick it out because your identity wants it… Is that happiness?


It’s Not Time-saving

Many people claim they use online dating to save time finding a mate. Have you looked at how long you spend on facebook? It’s meant to be addicting and online dating sites are designed the same way. If you get home, spend a few hours browsing profiles and responding to messages, and then respond to more messages througout the following day, you should realize that time could be spent going to an event, social activity or going out with your friends to meet their friends. The math is simple.


There’s No Chase

When I say ‘chase’, I don’t mean playing games. There’s a difference between people who play games to manipulate, which comes from a place of insecurity and lack of maturity. What I mean by chase is dealing with and cutting through mystery of knowing if someone likes you, earning it, and the “f*ck yeah” enthusiasm that comes from going for something you really want, that you want to fight for. This is needed when you meet people in the real world. When you meet someone online, all of that goes away, and it’s simply a yes or no. Some people don’t want that, they want no chase, they just want ‘a human companion’. have been successfully married (for lack of better success metrics – relationships are hard to track) As humans we need some mystery and challenge to appreciate and rise up to be our best selves.


Concluding Thoughts

If you’re in your 20s, in a city, looking to hook up and explore who’s out there, then by all means use online dating apps and websites. If you’re looking for that special someone, the odds are stacked against you. Avoid subconsciously devaluing people, and don’t look for people who ‘look good on paper’ aka online. Look for someone who you’re actually willing to fight for. Just like anything else worthy in this world, you’re going to have to work for it, b*tch. 

PS: here are some ideas on how to OFFline date.