A New Approach to Online Dating,

By Michael Alexander,


I was talking with a friend last week who is smart, attractive, and single. Last month, she turned 30. She’s been in relationships in the past, but for the last year or so hasn’t had much luck in the dating scence.

It’s been hard to find time to meet guys with a full work schedule, and those she’s managed to meet have been less than stellar. With Valentine’s Day approaching, she lamented about her recurring single status, so I asked her: Have you considered online dating?

She sort of frowned and looked away.

“I don’t think I need to resort to that.”

I thought about her response for a while, not that it was the first time I had heard it, and I’m pretty sure I understand why.

There is a perception that online dating is sort of like online shopping for potential mates.

You visit a dating site, fill out a detailed profile, and usually the site uses an algorithm to compile a list of matches for you. You click through each match, weed out the ones that don’t suit you, and perhaps reach out to the few that do. Perhaps you search on your own, plug in the traits you want in a significant other, and get your list of matches.

Either way, online dating sites purport to make the process easier by often narrowing the field to only those which first appeal to you on paper.

The question at the heart of my friend’s response asks if a person’s essence is in fact more than a self-description and list of facts and preferences?

In real life, when you meet someone in-person, you get to know the nuances of their character. You develop a feel for who they are before you learn their social habits, their income, their education level, their political leanings.

If you like them, you’ll meet again. In time, you’ll learn more about them. In all likelihood, if you truly connect, they will have that true qualities you admire and are attracted to. is a new dating site that tries to capture that essence in a way other dating sites ignore: a self-expression through writing and creative outlets that include artwork and photography. Other members simply see your photo and what you create on the site.

Their first impression of you is how you choose to express yourself, but is not your self-description or a litany of facts. It feels less like online shopping, and more like you are getting to know someone prior to meeting in person.

I hope my friend comes around and gives online dating a shot. It’s hard to meet others with such a busy schedule. It may even be difficult for those living in a suburb north of Boston (as she does) without a lot of nightlife options.

Online dating can be more than a last resort.

When done properly and on the right site, it can be a great opportunity to meet others and form a meaningful relationship. It may offer that opportunity to make a truly genuine connection.

Try for free if you live in greater Boston or New York City. Through April 1, 2012, qualify for a free lifetime membership.


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