Video by Emily Verdouw
Back in the day man and woman would lock eyes across a crowded room and, well, the rest would be history. But is that age-old way of meeting actually the thing that's now in the past?
Online dating is now the second most popular way to meet new potential partners (22 percent), coming a close second to the traditional means of meeting through mutual friends (24 percent), according to eHarmony’s 2015 Relationship Study. And if you didn't meet them online it's likely you've looked them up prior to meeting IRL -- 69% of singles admit to performing online background checks on a potential date.
“Performing background checks is a positive example of how Aussies are using technology and social media to help screen for potential date breakers, such as sexism or drug abuse, as well as broader values that are important to a person, such as whether they are close with their family,” said eHarmony’s Dating and Relationship expert, Melanie Schilling.
“A digital profile is a great way to find out more about a match, but it’s also a great way for singles to put their best self forward. Remember to be mindful of other online profiles too -- professional profiles are screened just as much as social media profiles -- and if you are checking someone’s digital footprint, they are probably checking yours too so be mindful of your online personal brand,” said Schilling.
So, how else do we date in the digital world? Texting is now one of the most common ways to communicate when dating, particularly when organising a time or place for a date (54 percent), and for telling someone you had a great time on a date (53 percent), according to the study. Women and Gen Y are more likely to opt for text in most situations, especially when it comes to declining a date (53 percent). ‘In person’ is still the preferred medium for asking someone out on a first date (52 percent), and, reassuringly, for breaking up (80 percent). Turns out some of us still have a spine.
Comedian and actor Aziz Ansari has further mused on the subject in his recently launched book Modern Romance, showing that dating in the digital world is a perplexing topic for all of us that deserves exploring.
The study also found technology makes us more confident, with 4 in 5 agreeing it’s easier to be witty on digital channels because you have more time to think about your response. Let’s face it, we’ve all asked a friend to help us construct that perfect reply.
Were Tom and Meg's characters online dating pioneers in "You've Got Mail" back in 1998?
‘Ghosting’ -- the act of disappearing in a phantom-like fashion -- is a prevalent issue in modern dating and is the most common form of dating rejection experienced by Aussies today (35 percent), the study also found. Other popular forms of digital rejection include: messages ignored (29 percent), being unfriended on social media (27 percent), and, for 1 in 10 Aussie daters, having a former partner post pictures of themselves with a potential love rival.
“While technology has certainly done amazing things to the dating world, it’s important for singles to remember not to hide behind technology, to treat others with respect and to present themselves honestly and proudly online,” said Schilling.