What are your thoughts on online dating?

Online Dating was the topic of conversation at The Kickback on November 21st, chosen by regular participant Stephen, who also took the lead this month.  His experience with online dating and desire to talk about it made him the ideal individual to start off and navigate the conversation, making the night a lot of fun.

Stephen got the conversation warmed up by telling us a little bit about why he started online dating.  If you didn’t know, Stephen is American, and he said that coming from a different country to the UK “with no social circle, I found it hard meeting people.”

After explaining to us why he began using online dating, he asked if we had ever used something that is specifically designed for us to find a partner.  Most said yes, with some having used most of the online dating websites and apps out there, while a couple of us said no.

There seemed to have been a mixture of experiences when using the apps or websites, with some saying that it wasn’t the best experience and others saying that it had been okay.  Thuy believes that there’s some bad ones, but “generally it’s positive.  You get to meet cool people you never would have met.”

Stephen shared one of his negative online dating experiences with us, which was a story he can laugh about now, but at the time wasn’t funny – “With online dating, it can be a bad experience or a good experience,” he said.

We later spoken about whether we see online dating effecting how we meet people in 10 years time.  It seemed that a lot of us were unsure and thought that social media would probably have a greater effect on dating.  Chris thought that Tinder might become quite corny for the younger generation and Stephen thinks that “even now, it’s starting to become a joke.”  Thuy also added, “I don’t like this whole thing of messaging for ages and not arranging to meet up.  Like, I don’t want a pen pal.”

For those of us who don’t use online dating, Stephen asked why that was.  I said that it’s not really my thing and I prefer to do things in a relatively old-fashioned way.  Alana said that she’s a 1950s vibe kind of girl and she would like for man to ask her out on a date.  She also finds online dating quite threatening, because of catfishes and some people who only want one-night stands.

We then went on to have an interesting discussion on how we felt about girls approaching guys, attraction and guys with topless photos on their dating profiles.  It seems that our interest in guys with topless photos would depend on how we were feeling at the time and what their bio may be saying, but we all agreed that we don’t feel when guys are taking themselves too seriously in their topless photos.

Speaking about looks led on to whether believe in preferences.  Gus gave a strong, assured yes when answering, while Rhianna also agreed.  However, Rhianna later added, “I don’t feel like anyone has a set preference.  They know what they don’t like.”  Gus responded to that point with, “If they know what they don’t like, they must know what they do like… Certain boxes may be ticked.”

Stephen made the point, “What we’re all dating for, I’m hoping, is a long-term relationship.”  For Chris, he said that he’s always upfront with what he wants from the outset, as “there’s so much more to relationships that so many people don’t talk about.”

The final question Stephen asked us was, do you think online dating has made people force things?  Is there added pressure?  Gus would say social media as a whole is adding pressure – “It’s all intertwined.  It’s a double-edged sword.”  Thuy thinks that you’ve got to put a lot of effort into it and that getting the balance right on the profile is tricky.

Chris made a thought-provoking point about everything “converging into that Instagram world.”  He believes that there will eventually be a service to create the perfect profile and photo for online dating.  “It’s anxiety inducting as well, like all social media,” he also added.

We also got onto a very interesting discussion about online dating bios, questioning whether it is important to have a bio or not, and perceptions others may have on you based on that.  Does no bio mean you’re not trying or do you simply want people to ask you questions organically, rather than focusing on what is already in your bio?  Also, is all that in a person’s bio necessarily true – “Everything is a half-truth,” said Alana.

As we spoke more about personality, characteristics and physicality, we came back to simply being humans.  Alana said, “Every human is on their own path and makes their own mistakes.  Some paths are longer than others.”

This was later followed by a statement from Chris, which was a great way of summing up all that we had been talking about on the night:  “You’ve got to be empathetic to the other gender.”

The Kickback will join forces with Poetic Insight on December 19th for our final event of the year, when we’ll be ‘Looking Back, Moving Forward’.  This is a chance for you to make known what you’ve enjoyed about YP Insight this year and what improvements you’d like to see made for next year.  Make sure you save the date, because you will not want to miss it.

Stay updated with Young People Insight by following @YPInsight on Twitter, following @youngpeopleinsight on Instagram, liking Young People Insight on Facebook and subscribing to the Young People Insight YouTube channel.

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