Top 10 Benefits of Getting to Know Someone Virtually Before Meeting or Dating IRL

Sarah Pritzker
Top 10 Benefits of Getting to Know Someone Virtually Before Meeting or Dating IRL
It's the age of the geek, baby, and like it or not, technology has snuck into nearly every aspect of our lives. Even the most intimate ones. Well, at least the initial stages of meeting and getting to know someone are easily navigated via tech channels these days (and yes, there are plenty of tech-based gadgets and toys to spice up your sex life as well, but that's for ANOTHER article).

And truthfully, most singles are grateful for the revamp. Tired of the tried-and-failed, old-school methods of dating (meeting at a bar, getting set up by friends, waiting hopelessly on a park bench casually reading a book while praying that cute guy will notice you and then come over, talk to you, fall helplessly in love with you, and ask you to make his babies), many singles are turning to their phones for a more 21st century solution to their boredom, loneliness, or desire for friendship. 

From social media hangouts to top online dating apps and spontaneous activity apps that pair people up based on location and what they're doing right now (you're warming up for a yoga session? I'm warming up for a yoga session! It's a match made in heaven), automation is moving into the dating realm. 

Sites and services like Spontime, Meetup, and PoF make meeting new people faster, easier, and more enjoyable than ever. Millions of singles are trying out these new social forums to see if they can find love, friendship, and maybe even more. Most of them are all the happier for it. In fact, many singles prefer to hook up with a potential match virtually before they take the plunge into a real-deal face-to-face meeting. 

Skeptical? Check out ten reasons it's better to get to know someone on the virtual scene before taking the plunge into IRL (in real life) dating:

Benefit #1: Safety, safety, safety

This is the most obvious one, so let's get it out of the way already. There's no comparison to the level of safety and security you feel when speaking to a stranger via a phone or computer screen, versus when sitting across the table from them. There's no fear of being stalked, physically overpowered, or roofied when you're chatting with a date that's made up of no more than pixels. And in truth, it's just a smart move. Despite what people tell you, you don't know who this person is. And while you can never be 100% sure, getting to know someone well over the web before meeting them in person is a much safer way to vet your potential partner. 

Benefit #2: Alleviates that first-date awkwardness

How many of your friends (err, yeah, your "friends") avoided going out with a potentially awesome single because they just couldn't bear having another one of those awkward first dates? And who's to blame you...I mean them? After all, that first date, those initial few moments before either one of you has opened your mouths or said anything, and the only thing you can think is 'God please don't let her have bad breath' or, 'He's cute, maybe if he doesn't say anything, I won't be disappointed!', are agonizingly long. It's no wonder singles avoid it like the plague. 

But when you get to know someone online first, you can forgo that whole awkward situation. Getting to know someone over a casual texting session, or via a friendly video chat, or even during a heated forum discussion, lets you get to know the person sans that clumsy, bumbling first encounter. 

Benefit #3: Less pressure

Everyone likes to look their best for a date. Whether you wear that dress your friends say your waist looks tiny in, or you put on an extra splash of aftershave, you go through some rituals to make yourself more presentable, or at least somewhat attractive to the date sitting across from you. But let's face it, those preps can take hours, especially if you're meeting up multiple times a week.

Virtual meetings are a lot easier to prepare for. For one thing, the visual display automatically lends itself to a more forgiving perspective (oh, he doesn't really look like that, it's the goofy camera lens). For another, she can't smell that you haven't showered in a week. So, for better or worse, virtual dating dials the pressure way down.

Benefit #4: Less commitment

In addition to less pressure, online dating and virtual meet-ups require less of a commitment. Think about it like this: while you would never go on a date with multiple guys at the same time, you could easily send out a flirtatious text to a few cute profiles on a dating site simultaneously (hell, on good dating apps there's even a feature that blasts the same message to a number of singles that match your description.). Bottom line, there's a lot less commitment when virtually getting to know someone. Which also means it's easier to say no if it's not working for you.

Benefit #5: More casual

Along the same lines as less pressure, computerized socializing is just a lot more casual. Maybe it comes with the generation Y attitude, or maybe it's just because you could be chatting with someone while sitting on the toilet, there's just a much more relaxed atmosphere with virtual dating. A lot of singles who are tired of the pressure and stress of traditional dating really appreciate this aspect.

Benefit #6: Easier to fit into your schedule

Getting to know someone takes time. And between getting ready for the date, the actual time spent on the date, and coming down from either a positive or negative experience on the date, dating takes even more time. For busy singles, this is a major barrier to their dating lives. They just don't have the time to fit socializing into their schedules. And that's why virtual meet-ups are so much more appealing. You can spend half an hour on a video chat session with your date and call it a night. It doesn't have to take up hours of your time. You can also spend hours texting with a potential match without interrupting your regular schedule. The whole process just lends itself more easily to busy schedules and hectic lives.

Benefit #7: Cheap date 

Simply put, cyber dating is cheaper. You don't have to pay for expensive dinners, special treats, and pricey gifts for your date. You provide your own refreshments, transportation is free, and all the other expenses of dating go out the window. If you're on a budget, you'll probably want to make this stage of getting to know you stretch for as long as possible!

Benefit #8: Wider and more eclectic range of potentials...

There are literally millions of people online right now. So when you start socializing online, you open yourself up to hundreds of thousands of possibilities. And for some singles, this is a treasure trove of options. Now you can be as picky or as adventurous as you want. You aren't limited to your local dating pool, your friends', or your social circles, or those awkward girls your aunt is always trying to set you up with. With online dating and social channels, the world's your oyster.

Benefit #9: ...But more tailored results

On the other hand, if you are looking for something in particular, online dating sites can help you find it. There are some great new features that help you narrow down your options to the ones that are really relevant, based on the things you value the most (whether it's your political views, location, religion, or unbridled love for panda bears). Plain and simple: find what you want more easily online.

Benefit #10: Niche dating

Speaking of finding what you want more specifically, online social meet-ups make it much easier for niche dating. Big into video games? Love the cosplay? Can't get enough of extreme sports? Whatever your niche, you can find dating sites and social meeting apps that are geared specifically to your niche desires and interests. So you can find like-minded people who love doing what you love doing….and then you can go out and do them together! Nice! 

Love Is Out There, Find It Online, Today!

The world is a much smaller place than it used to be. Love is out there, and as the winter approaches, with the help of technology such as dating apps, virtual social meet-ups, and group discussion boards, you can find your special someone to cozy up with this chilly season.

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Sarah Pritzker
Sarah Pritzker is a content writer with years of experience and a keen interest in the vast world of online consumer products. She enjoys helping readers make sense of the options on the market in a variety of fields.