Online dating has a spotty reputation. Two of the top searched terms related to the topic are “online dating sucks” and “online dating scams.” But it doesn’t necessarily deserve such notoriety.
Much of the negativity comes from people who have never used dating apps. This survey on dating apps by Survey Monkey found that 58% of people who have actually used online dating sites or dating apps rate them as either “somewhat or very positive.” 78% of people who met their partner online left positive feedback.
Granted, that still leaves a large number of dissatisfied people who have used dating apps or dating sites.
So, why do so many men and women feel that online dating is a waste of time?
6 Reasons Why People Hate Online Dating (and How to Make it Work for You)
We found six reasons why online dating is viewed in such a negative fashion.
The good news is that with a bit of insight into these reasons, an online dating experience can be positive and fun.
1 – It’s Overwhelming
Upon logging in to a dating site for the first time, the new user is faced with thousands of partner choices. The temptation is to start scrolling through this sea of faces. Maybe send some random messages and hope for the best.
After a few days of this, they tire and take a few days off. Or perhaps they luck into a date or two.
The problem is they haven’t gone into it with a plan. Perhaps they don’t know what they want in an ideal partner. They don’t know what red flags to watch out for. They don’t know how to represent themselves in an online profile, and end up presenting a personality they think will attract dates.
In the end, it becomes a frustrating grind.
The key to avoiding this is to go in with a dating game plan. When you know yourself and what you want in your partner, you can reach out to those who seem to be a good fit. You get to know them via messaging. If you like what you’re seeing, you move to a phone conversation or maybe a video date. Then, on to the first date. Repeat the process.
Sure, it takes a bit of work to plan your dating life. But that’s when the fun happens.
2 – Negative Mindset
Everything we do is affected by our mindset. Start a task with a negative outlook and negative results are likely.
Maybe all your friends are telling you online dating is bad. Nevertheless, you begrudgingly sign up for a few dating sites thinking, “I’ll see what it does for me.”
The odds are it won’t work well because you don’t believe it will. Plus, you’re counting on the app to do ALL the work for you. (More on that in the next section.)
Start your online dating experience with a positive mindset.
Dating apps are simply digital tools. Every tool must be used properly to get the results for which it was designed.
Instead of, “Wow, online dating stinks,” think, “Wow, it’s great to have all these extra tools to help me find a partner.”
Sign up on a few sites or apps. Learn how to set them up and how to use them. Make a proactive plan and put your tools to work.
3 – Users are Passive
Just like in real life interactions, online relationships require effort and reciprocity.
Being face-to-face with a real person requires the give and take of conversation. The trap in online dating is that it’s easy to be passive.
The passive user just swipes on by. Or they reply to messages (or send them) with one or two words, or an emoji.
As an introvert, I understand the desire to hang back. The problem with being passive is that nothing will come from it.
You can’t rely on the dating app’s algorithm to instantly send you the love of your life.
Dating algorithms are just machines whose ultimate agenda is to make money for the owners. That doesn’t mean that they can’t give you what you want. It does mean that without active participation, the app is happily going to keep sending you match after match.
When you know what you want in a partner, you can reach out to them. Start conversations to learn more about them, just as you would do in person.
And if someone doesn’t respond, just move on. Don’t be put off or feel bad. It’s going to happen. And don’t waste your time trying to convince someone to respond.
Here’s one thing about relationships that took me a long time to learn. If you feel you have to convince someone you’re worth talking to, or worth being with, the relationship will forever disappoint.
We don’t have to prove our worth to anyone.
4 – They Have Unreasonable Expectations
In 3 Signs You Need to Lower Your Online Dating Expectations, Daisy says,
…it’s easy to have unrealistic expectations with online dating sites. They kind of set you up for it. Log on, and you’re looking at a sea of people, any one of whom could be ‘the one’.”
Here are the three signals that you might need to lower your expectations a bit:
1. You believe everything you read in all those dating profiles.
As with resumes, people tend to stretch the truth in online dating profiles. Various studies found that women tend to lie about weight, age, and physique. Men fib about jobs, height and weight.
If your date has committed one of these white lies, don’t run away, unless it’s a big lie or a deal breaker that you simply can’t accept. As long as they (and you) come clean early in the dating game, it shouldn’t be a problem.
2. “Love at first sight” is at the top of your list of dating criteria.
True love does not always happen this way. It often takes a few dates for chemistry to evolve. Give the dating process time.
3. You expect that everyone on dating sites is actually interested in going on dates.
Yes, expect to find married people and those who already have significant others. If someone you’re talking to won’t meet in person, it’s a clue that they’re attached or are perhaps a scammer. Move on.
5 – They Believe Online Dating is Dangerous
There certainly are risks to online dating just as there are risks in meeting someone in person. And romance scams are a big problem.
But it’s easy to stay safe and secure with reputable online dating sites.
Use the secure messaging or chat feature to communicate. Scammers and predators try to get victims away from the platform as soon as possible. Pressure to move offline right away is a warning sign.
Yes, at some point you’ll have to talk and meet. As long as all your early communication remains on the platform until you feel comfortable, the risk is minimal.
Never share personal, private, or financial information in early communications, and don’t send people money, no matter how desperate they sound.
Use common sense and trust your judgement. There are usually signs of bad intentions. A few examples include:
- poorly written messages
- stories of emergencies that require your help
- claims to be from your area but is travelling or working elsewhere
- won’t meet in person
Never download other apps or links sent to you by a prospective date. There is no need during the early screening process. These are usually “phishing” attempts to collect personal information.
6 – They Use the Wrong Dating Apps, or Use Them the Wrong Way
Once you know what you want in a partner, there are two things that can narrow the search to the most compatible candidates.
First, use the targeting features within the dating app. Nearly every site and app lets you target by age, location, and a host of other interests.
In fact, eHarmony, the most popular site among our readers, has an in-depth questionnaire that covers dozens of points of compatibility. *
Without enough targeting, there will be too many choices to sort through and you’re right back to being overwhelmed.
But don’t be too picky. Online dating is not like ordering at the drive through window. Set a few parameters, but not so many that you rule out partners who could be compatible.
Second, look at special interest dating sites. There are sites that cater to every interest imaginable.
For example, some popular niches include:
➤ Occupation (Elite Singles, Farmers Only)
It doesn’t stop there. There are sites that cater to vegetarians, mullets (yes, mullet haircuts,) spicy food, tattoos, STD’s and even Star Trek.
There is someone for everyone.
It’s a good idea to start with two or three apps to see what feels right.
The Bottom Line on Having Fun with Online Dating
Online dating as we age doesn’t have to be a waste of time that drains you of all hope for finding a partner. Use these tips to help make it an enjoyable experience.
✔️ Try a few sites. Most will give you a free trial period. It’s a good way to get a feel for which site is right for you. Familiarize yourself with the app or site. Set your preferences and notifications.
You can check out our list of recommended dating sites here.
✔️ Be proactive. Set aside daily time to log in, search new members, and reach out to potential dates.
✔️ Have reasonable expectations.
✔️ Keep an open mind about who might be right for you.
Most importantly, remember that there are real people behind the profiles. Treat them well, as you would in real life, and enjoy the adventure of meeting new people.
* Smart Dating Over 60 is an affiliate for some of the dating sites in this article. We get paid a small commission for referrals, but it does not change what you pay.