Thursday, 02 May 2013 18:59

Dating In The 21st Century: Why We Have Come Full Circle

We all lead busy and hectic lives. Maintaining a healthy work-life balance has become progressively more difficult. The stresses of daily life have become numerous and increasingly burdensome. If you ask the average person to list their top five stressors you will likely receive answers such as "work colleagues", "car payments", "traffic jams" etc. What I have found increasingly more prevalent is the inclusion of "dating" in many people's lists. Many singles can attest to

the fact that dating has become progressively more difficult. Over the past ten years the dating scene has shifted from a more direct and personal style of encounter to an environment filled with anonymity and frustration. In the not so distant past many people could rely on daily living to present them with a reasonable selection of possible mates. A healthy work environment combined with an active social life were all that one needed to provide them with an ample selection of potential lifelong companions.

In today's society the prospect of finding someone by way of the above-mentioned routes is a near impossibility. Although the reasons for this are numerous, the most important appears to be a change in how we network socially.

The new definition of social networking:

Although it is true that the internet has simplified life in many ways, it has greatly changed the way people meet and communicate. Much socializing is now done online, in the comfort and security of one's own home or office or on a cellular phone. Internet dating has become extremely prevalent in the last decade and has brought with it some major implications.

The anonymity associated with the internet can lead one to provide an embellished, misleading or outright false impression of themselves to potential mates. This can be costly in many ways. It can direct one to inaccurately believe that a person possesses certain qualities that they are seeking and hence lead them to believe that they have found a match. Furthermore, the time taken to communicate through the internet prior to having a face-to-face meeting may be prolonged and could be better utilized in a more productive fashion. In addition, it is difficult to avoid the inherent danger associated with one misrepresenting themselves to others. Unfortunately, dating sites have yet to devise a way to patrol their online communities.

Another important implication is the changing work environment. There appears to be a rise in the level of discontent amongst workers in a vast majority of sectors. The causes of this are numerous and may include increased workload, hostile work colleagues and lack of job security. This dissatisfaction can lead to frustration and apathy, which in turn can cause one to potentially overlook a beneficial social contact. The same can be applied to the college and university environment wherein the stresses of increased competition and workload can lead one to miss a likely connection.

The solution: Out with the new and in with the old

Now that we have identified some of the problems let us turn to a discussion of potential solutions. Even with the prevalence of online dating there are still opportunities to meet others face-to-face. Joining a group with those who have similar hobbies or interests can be of benefit when trying to meet likeminded individuals. A change in perception towards your work or school environment can help to make useful connections. Although in-person networking has become increasingly more difficult, you should always try to use your current associations, including family, friends, and colleagues, to expand your social circle.

Furthermore, there are dating options available that do not involve the internet. Personalized matchmaking has been around for hundreds of years and provides people with a stress-free and simplified alternative to the current dating scene. Matchmakers personally meet with each individual and are therefore able to more effectively screen for potential mates. In addition, as matchmaking is usually more expensive than an average internet dating site, clients are generally more serious about finding a lifelong companion.

Although we cannot remove many of life's stressors, having someone personally get to know you and your needs and seek a mate for you can potentially remove "dating" from your top five list.