Ok, I am not talking about “Meet in a safe, public place” or anything like that. Those common sense tips should make be drilled into anyone who has created an online profile. Everyone knows that BruceStud69 doesn’t want to chit-chat over coffee at 2:15 am (although I am sure he’s very sweet). The dangers I am talking about are a little less obvious and a little more real…
1) The Book was better than the Movie
When you read a book, your imagination and creativity can out-perform any CGI motion graphic effects. The main character doesn’t look quite as you thought, there are some holes in the story which is required if you hope to cram the experience into a 2-hour blockbuster experience. The same can be said when your imagination gets creative while chatting over an online dating site. You choose to assume he will live up to the slightly photoshopped picture of him in Cancun or that he was joking when he said his favorite movie was 27 Dresses.
2) The Small Things Make up the Big Picture
Most communication is non-verbal (wow, I remembered something from my marketing classes). When you meet someone face-to-face, the subtle aspects of who someone is starts to paint a full image: how someone chews their food, the pitch and tone of a laugh, the hint of sarcasm in their voice. The seemingly small things that make up a person also lets you decide if you like that person. Not to say someone should be instantly thrown aside for a hyena laugh: there is someone out there who will love that ear-piercing squeal, but for now, there’s no check box in a profile for those who do.
One of my favourite books is called Blink. It examines how humans are quick to judge within a blink of an eye. We all do it in everyday life, like it or not. Is this person going to ask for change? Is this person going to make a good employee? Is this person going to leave a good tip? Within a shutter of the ol’ eyelids, we can get a pretty good indication whether we will like or loathe someone. The keyboard takes away that innate human ability. Some may argue that that is a good thing- which it may be. I think it delays the inevitable as our senses are quick to overrule our imagination.
I am definitely not a pessimist and I am not against online dating. In fact, I have met some of my closest friends through that medium and I am far from regretting any experience. I am just trying to drill home a key point to take it offline, grab a coffee (not with you Bruce- sorry), before your imagination starts to create a person that has yet to exist.