Erika Ettin: The Down-Low On Dating Sites, Apps, And Matchmaking

By Erika Ettin Tribune News Service

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Dating expert Erika Ettin says despite the many digital options avaialble for online daters, the matchmaking industry isn't going anywhere. Ettin says the people who are now using matchmakers are differentiating themselves from those who simply want "dates" vs. a serious relationship.

Tribune News Service

I was recently asked a few questions about the future of dating sites, apps, and the matchmaking industry.

While I certainly don't have a crystal ball (I'd pay big money for one, though!), having started my business as an online dating coach in 2011 and seeing so many changes in the last 7+ years alone, I do have some educated guesses as to what lies in store.

1. How are dating apps disruptive to the conventional matchmaking industry? Finding dates is now easier. Much easier. Whereas before, you had to live in the same neighborhood or work together to have any contact with someone (my parents lived next door, which is how they met), today, you can just swipe to see thousands of people. While this does disrupt the matchmaking industry, that industry isn't going anywhere. Now, the people who come to (and pay for) matchmakers are even more serious about the process because they are differentiating themselves from those who simply want "dates" vs. a serious relationship.

2. What are the advantages of using dating apps rather than the conventional way of meeting people such as going to the bar? To put it simply, again, you have access to so many more people. But, it's not all or nothing. I tell my clients that they should be putting themselves out there in multiple ways, online, in person, at events, etc. Ultimately, no one particular way is better than another. It's just where you're more proactive and what works for you. If you quit online dating, get out there in person more. If you're focused on online dating, that doesn't mean you should never leave the house. There's something to be said for being open to new experiences, smiling, and putting your best foot forward. I can't begin to tell you how far an open stance (put away that phone!) and a warm expression will get you in life.

3. Is it true that people using dating apps are generally looking for a short-term relationship? Nope, total misnomer. People love to generalize. "I met my partner on Match, so Match is amazing." "I met a total creep on Tinder who just wanted to have sex, so Tinder is only a hook-up site." You get the idea. Any site can be used for any purpose. And, as I always tell people, you get what you allow. So, if you allow for something more casual, that's what you'll end up with. If you're looking for something more serious, then hold out for that.

4. Nowadays, it is very easy to lie online, whether it is through fake photos or profiles. How do we lessen this unwanted aspect of online dating? Certain apps, like Bumble, give you the option of verifying your status to make sure that you are who you say. Yes, some people will lie. I wish we could prevent that. But, we can't go into situations assuming someone has lied. Innocent until proven guilty. A lot of apps offer the option of connecting to your Instagram account (which I don't recommend...it's TMI), but that will also indicate what the person looks like "for real." Many younger people, younger than about 30, choose to do this. Of course, it's generally older people, however you want to define that, who have more inclination to lie. All I can do is say that I would not lie online. Ever. That's no way to start a relationship.

5. Virtual Reality (VR) is the new trend in digital entertainment, but is there any future of it in the world of dating apps? I think Facetime is the best VR you can have if you can't meet a date in a timely fashion! Why have "virtual" reality, when you can have "reality" reality? ___ (Erika Ettin is the founder of A Little Nudge, where she helps others navigate the often intimidating world of online dating.)

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