Every couple of months I’ll be inspired by an unattached friend who is joyfully dating with the help of an algorithm or a starry-eyed couple who met via the swipe of a thumb, and decide to give online dating another chance.
In the era of wall-to-wall dating apps, can you still find love offline?
I’ll download the suggested app, create a profile, ask friends for advice on the pictures, and begin swiping. There will be matches, charming conversations, there might even be some dates or a season-long romance.
Tina Roth Eisenberg: “People are lonely and are so happy when someone takes charge and gets humans together.” Credit: Getty Images
More often, however, the online dating lull will set in just as it begins to feel like a game rather than a legitimate way to meet people. Conversations unexpectedly fizzle, sparks don’t translate in person, dates are cancelled, matches are neglected like a forgotten Tamagotchi.
Disenchanted, I’ll delete the app and decide to leave dating up to fate. A few months later, when the optimism around meeting people serendipitously begins to diminish, I’ll have an excited conversation with a friend about online dating and thus perpetuate the cycle of deleting, downloading, deleting and downloading.
I’m not alone in oscillating between optimism and being over it when it comes to online dating. In the case of heterosexual couples, a study conducted at Stanford University in the US found that in the last 10 years, online dating apps have displaced the roles of family and friends in bringing people together.
Just as many of us bypass travel agents and now book our own flights online, the rise of online dating has allowed single people to meet romantic partners without the intermediation of others.
Also, many of us know couples who met online, which helps in reducing any stigma. The ever-increasing number of users has also created a larger dating pool, allowing us to get outside the bubble in which we might be and meet people we’d otherwise never encounter.
But many singles still feel disenchanted by dating apps and the impact they’ve had on other avenuesof meeting people – you’re damned lonely housewife dating websites free if you do, damned if you don’t.
For those who wish to meet someone but feel disheartened by online dating and don’t enjoy approaching stranger cold, tapping into networks of friends, close and not-so-close, could put love back in the air. But how do you do it?
A web of love
Creator of the global community CreativeMornings Tina Roth Eisenberg is an in-real-life enthusiast determined to help reverse the decline in meeting romantic partners through friends.
“When I was still married, I realised I was so busy being married and coupled that I didn’t pay attention to who was single in my circle of friends,” says Tina. “Now that I see just how hard it is to meet someone, I wish I’d helped my single friends by making more introductions.”
“When you introduce two people you have deep admiration and respect for, they instantly connect on a heart level,” she says. “It’s what’s missing from the dating apps, where it takes so much emotional work to figure out if you can trust this person to begin with.”
Indeed, the Stanford University study reports that a vetting system is one benefit of meeting via friends of friends, and has been shown to enhance relationship quality and duration. From weddings to summer picnics, there is a multitude of gatherings from which a web of love can grow, but what they often lack is a steady supply of new attendees.
Writer Lorelei Vashti met her partner and father of her two children at a party she and her best friend set up for single pals and themselves.