Online dating and anxiety
Research suggests that those who are socially anxious (Green, 2001) or introverted (Amichai-Hamburger et al., 2002; Rice & Markey, 2009) feel more comfortable communicating online.These individuals may have an easier time approaching people and opening up online.One study of online daters found that most viewed each other as similar, and liked each other less, after than before their offline dates (Norton et al., 2007).The sites can put too much focus on physical attractiveness.But in real life, after we get to know someone and like their personality, we begin to find them more physically appealing as well (Kniffin & Wilson, 2004).Making a quick decision based on an online photo doesn’t allow for this slower development of physical attraction and may cause us to dismiss potential mates to whom we could become attracted.In addition, when we read vague information about someone, we mentally fill in the blanks with specific details that may be incorrect (Norton & Frost, 2007).For example, when you read in a man’s profile that he’s a movie buff, you might think that's something you have in common, but when you get to talking about movies on your date you realize that you’re a foreign film aficionado, while he’s obsessed with horror flicks.
In my own analysis of this data, I examined the age at which survey respondents met their current partner and compared this to the age at which they became romantically involved, to get a rough sense of how long it took couples to go from first meeting to a romantic relationship. Paper presented at the meeting of the Society for Social and Personality and Psychology, Memphis, TN. Luckily, I learned to recognize them before falling prey, but sometimes it's difficult to know. Moreover, as in the world at large, there are A LOT of "players" online--people who are extremely dishonest.
This can be especially beneficial for people who don’t have a large social circle.