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One study of online daters found that most viewed each other as similar, and liked each other less, after than before their offline dates (Norton et al., 2007).

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Stanford University’s “How Couples Meet and Stay Together Survey” queried a nationally representative sample of adults to determine how and when they met their current romantic partner (Rosenfeld & Reuben, 2011). Less is more: Why online dating is so disappointing and how virtual dates can help. They can be quite sophisticated AND PATIENT in hooking unsuspecting victims, before trying to reel them in.

In my own analysis of this data, I examined the age at which survey respondents met their current partner and compared this to the age at which they became romantically involved, to get a rough sense of how long it took couples to go from first meeting to a romantic relationship. Paper presented at the meeting of the Society for Social and Personality and Psychology, Memphis, TN. Luckily, I learned to recognize them before falling prey, but sometimes it's difficult to know. Moreover, as in the world at large, there are A LOT of "players" online--people who are extremely dishonest.

But if we choose to focus only on online dating, because it’s safer, we could miss out on other opportunities to meet people. (2005), What Makes You Click: An Empirical Analysis of Online Dating, University of Chicago and MIT, Chicago and Cambridge. If they lie and obfuscate what will become readily apparent upon meeting, what other, more important, character traits are they lying about?

For more on misconceptions about online dating, read my post on 4 Myths about Online Dating. More importantly, that they don't see the problem inherent in the dishonest representation is a huge red flag.

Research suggests that those who are socially anxious (Green, 2001) or introverted (Amichai-Hamburger et al., 2002; Rice & Markey, 2009) feel more comfortable communicating online.

These individuals may have an easier time approaching people and opening up online.

This can be especially beneficial for people who don’t have a large social circle.

In addition to the sheer number of people you can meet, many sites provide an avenue for meeting like-minded people. Unlike other social venues, on an online dating site, you can be fairly certain that everyone you meet is single and looking.

There are dating sites devoted to particular religious groups, like Christian Mingle or JDate, for example, as well as sites that cater to gay and lesbian daters. This removes a lot of the ambiguity that you face when you meet an interesting person at a work event or a party. Because of the ease and relative anonymity of online dating sites, we may take more risk reaching out to people we would not approach in person.

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