dating onlineOnline dating gets bad-mouthed by a lot of people who can’t figure out the appeal. The very idea of engaging strangers online and then meeting them in real life seems insane to them.

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Dating sites must get something right, though, because around 15% of the adult population in the US uses them. For the record, that’s around 38 million people dating online.

For those tens of millions of people, dating sites aren’t just a desperation move. They’re amazing!

Got some doubts about that? Let’s jump in and look at just some of the reasons why people keep flocking to those sites.

You Can Pick Sites that Cater to You

Different people lead very different kinds of lives. The world of a 20-something aspiring actor bears almost no resemblance to the world of a 20-something lawyer.

The life of a recently divorced, 40-something doctor with kids shares almost nothing with either 20-something.

Yet the options for meeting people outside the office are painfully limited. You’ve got bars, gyms, and coffee shops. It makes weeding out the prospects difficult at best.

Online dating sites eliminate that kind of problem. You can find dating sites for the young, for professionals, and for even specific religions.

The very nature of these sites eliminate tons of people you wouldn’t ever date. Plus, they show you profiles of people you’d want to meet.

Dating Online Reduces Annoying Small Talk

Picture this.

You’re out on a first date with someone. They look at you, smile, and comment about the weather.

That kind of small talk annoys almost everyone and, yet, we all do it. Why?

We’re putting our best foot forward. We hide personality traits because we want the person across the table to like us. It’s a recipe for disaster

When you fill out an online profile at a dating site, you aren’t sitting across from anyone. Being yourself is a lot easier because there’s no one there to impress.

The upshot is that you’ll draw attention from people who like the more authentic you. You walk into that first date feeling free to act like yourself.

The flip side is that you also get a more authentic version of the other person. You hit that first date with a much better sense of who they are.

That cuts down on the “it’s-a-safe-topic” conversations that go along with putting your best foot forward.

It Gives Introverts a Better Chance

Despite common wisdom, introverts aren’t shy. What they are is highly sensitive to external stimulus. Crowds and noise leave them exhausted or wishing for an escape.

Remember those common places people go to meet other people. Things they have in common are noise and crowds.

Dating online removes those obstacles at the earliest stages of introduction.

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You get to make your first impressions with your profile. Odds are good that you filled it out when you were comfortable.

When you start interacting with someone on the site, you’re probably on your phone or computer. Ideally, it happens from the comfort of your own home.

You can lobby for a first date at a place that won’t make you insane or uncomfortable.

All of which makes it way more likely that you’ll cement a good first impression.

You Can Sort by Common Interests

A lot of first dates happen because two people find each other attractive. It’s not a bad reason, but you probably didn’t learn much about the person before setting the date.

There’s nothing worse than going on a date and finding out the other person hates everything you love. It wastes both people’s time and effort. Knowing more about each other lets you avoid that problem.

Dating online lets you look for people that you find attractive and share your interests. At the very least, you can discuss those interests even if the romantic spark isn’t there. That can mean the difference between a terrible night and the start of a friendship.

Sharing common interests also makes picking date activities easier. If you both love sports, you can catch a game. If you both love theater, you can look for local plays.

Get a Peek at Their Values

It turns out that shared interests aren’t the only foundation for relationships that last. They’re important, but sharing values is even more beneficial.

For example, if you don’t practice a religion and the other person does, it might not matter at first. Fast forward a few years and it can end up a massive sticking point in child rearing.

It can take months before you even get a sense of another person’s values with traditional dating. Dating online often gets you a preview of the other person’s values before you send the first message.

Knowing something about their values and your own can help you avoid a disaster before it starts.

It Expands Your Horizons

Say you live in a medium-sized or large city. You probably spend most of your time in one or two neighborhoods. You probably also socialize with the same group of people most of the time.

That means your entire dating pool exists in those neighborhoods or attached to your social circle. If you live in a city of a million people, you won’t meet most of the potential significant others in the vicinity.

Dating online lets you browse the profiles of thousands of people you’d never meet in your daily life.

Parting Thoughts

Dating online isn’t just a passing fad for the socially awkward. It’s an option embraced by tens of millions of people.

You can pick a site that caters to your lifestyle or religion. It helps you avoid that annoying small talk.

It lets you choose people who share your interests or passions. You get a snapshot of their values. Best of all, it expands your potential dating pool beyond your neighborhood and social circle.

In other words, dating online is amazing!

Looking for more? Check out our picks for the top 5 free and paid dating sites.