Finding Love: Online vs Offline


There was a time when online dating was viewed as the new and ‘out there’ kind of way to meet a new partner. At first, people were unsure about going online to find a potential match and the whole idea of not meeting someone the ‘conventional’ way- whether that be through work, family, friends or good old fashioned fate – was alien to most.

However, with the stigma of online dating rapidly dissipating it seems as though singles are now very much open to the idea of actively seeking new relationships. Dating is evolving as a whole for everyone, and with there now being more ways than ever for singles to find a potential match – quirkier methods are emerging. This is no more exemplified than through speed dating.

Speed dating isn’t a new concept by any means – invented by a rabbi as a way for Jewish singles to meet and marry – the first event was held in Beverly Hills back in 1998. Since then speed dating has become increasingly popular, (perhaps due to its glamorisation through hit shows like Sex and the City) amongst busy city types who like to get out and socialize, but subsequently may not have the time to meet new people. However, it seems that in order to stay fresh and appealing in an
ever growing market, event organisers are getting a lot more creative.

You only have to type ‘speed dating’ into a search engine and it will fire back an overwhelming array of options. In fact, if you’ve got a specific interest you can bet there will be something to suit you. Everything from speed dating in a gallery for the arty types, speed chess for the gamers, speed tennis for those interested in sports, and speed bowling for those looking to have a little fun. These events still hold the main principle of speed dating- spending a few minutes with a stranger on a
rotational basis, in order to meet someone with whom you’re compatible with – however, they are tailored to a specific audience, meaning you get to do something you enjoy whilst at the same time meeting new people.

Speed dating events have become so popular that even the most unlikely of businesses want in on the action. Take Ikea for example. A trip to Swedish furniture would usually involve lounging on the display sofas, picking up some flat pack furniture and maybe returning home with some meatballs – but not for their branch in Xuhui, China. For the past year the store has opened its doors to host ‘singles parties’. Offering free coffee to its membership card holders every Tuesday and Thursday, Chinese men and women aged between 40 and 60 have gathered in Ikea with the hope of finding love.

The store came up with the idea after noticing that would-be lovers were becoming a nuisance to other customers. An employee said ‘before we set up an isolated area for them, they occupied the seats in the dining area for a long time, and thus other guests could not find a seat’.

Another new spin on the speed dating concept is ‘speed dueting’. These events allow singles to mingle and enjoy a few cocktails, before completely losing their inhibitions and embracing their inner dive or rock star. Singles are put into groups of girls and boys and take it in turns to sing in their groups while the other group makes a note of anyone who takes their fancy. In an attempt to take away the sense of awkwardness that many fear with meeting a stranger for the first-time, speed dueting is set to take the London dating scene by storm.

So how does offline dating compare with online dating? Despite its name suggesting that it is the speedy way to find a partner and according to the white coats at Humboldt University- Germany, it takes an average of 75 hours and costs £500 to find a new love. Online dating on the other hand is far more cost effective. Our members get to browse thousands of singles all in one place, join niched sites that are tailored to interests, plus send unlimited messages. Subscription-based sites give
singles ample time to weigh up their options and make meaningful connections for relatively low costs. Not only this, but online dating puts singles in the driving seat. They get to control the process and set the pace for their dating experience, as opposed to being restricted to 3 minute slots where they feel pressured to impress.

There’s no doubting that these new dating methods are novel and that activity-based speed dating is certainly the future for dating events. However, I can’t help but think that you can’t beat the more conventional methods – good old fashioned online dating. I bet that’s a phrase you never thought you’d hear?!

Amy L, Content & Copywriting Co-ordinator.

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