Online dating: How to make it work for Christians
Christian Connection’s first talk by David Pullinger was a great success, with over 70 people attending. David revealed his first findings from the survey of over 3,000 single Christians. He looked at trends and attitudes towards online dating, with some helpful advice on how to make it work.
“I thought it was fun, entertaining, thought provoking, and informing. David was very kind and approachable. What a nice man!!!”
“I like the openness and honesty of the speakers experience of on-line dating. Practical advice and pointers of how on-line dating can work for you.”
Enablers and Blockers
According to social psychologists, the context of online dating is perfect for single Christians. But you have also got to want to make it work. There are very strong enablers and blockers to making it work. The two biggest enablers are:
- Hearing personal success stories of people you know who have met their partners online.
- Belief that online dating can be part of God’s story and purpose for your life.
The main blockers are:
- Doubt about whether God can and does work through online dating.
- Fear of meeting strange people online.
To get going with online dating, we need:
- Intentionality – you have to want to do it and put in the time and effort required
- Courage – to stick with the process and contact people
- To be proactive – both men and women
Social studies have shown that men require social signals from the woman, before they make the first move. How can this translate online, where there are no social cues? Answer: Everyone can approach everyone within the context of online dating.
More men think they’ll meet their partner online than women
There is likely to be a greater percentage of men online, of any age, than in churches. So if you are a woman, online dating is a good place to meet men.
Too much choice can be paralysing
We are not designed to choose from a large number of options. Studies have shown that someone who has more options open to them are less happy with their final choice than someone who had less options open to them.
If there is too large a pool of people, we tend to evaluate the pool as a whole, rather then individuals. When you stop looking at individuals and only evaluate the pool, you may stop believing that there is an individual to be met.
Don’t endlessly trawl through profiles, but limit yourself to a certain number in one session and commit to emailing at least one. Look for similar interests and values on profiles that appeal to you.
Use discussion forums to get to know the real person
Discussion forums may give you a glimpse of how someone responds in day-to-day life. What are their opinions? How do they express themselves? How do they handle conflict?
You can tell a lot from a photo
Studies show you can actually tell quite a lot about someone from their photo. Just by looking at someone across a room, you can often tell something about that person’s family background. But a photo won’t tell you whether or not you are compatible. Your own photo must be consistent with your profile. Ask your friends what your photo projects about you.
Talk about them, not you
Talking about yourself is a turn-off. Talking about the other person is a turn-on. Particularly when writing the first message, use ‘you’ not ‘I’. Connect with something they have written in their profile. Ask questions. Aim for 80-90 words. It will transform your communication and you will get a much better response.
You are more likely to receive a reply on Christian Connection, than other large sites
On average, Christian Connection has a better reply rate than big dating sites in the USA. Studies show the average reply-rate in America is 1 in 4 for men and 1 in 6 for women. The average reply-rate on CC is just under 1 in 3. Contrary to popular belief, men are more likely to reply than women. So, on average you may need to send at least 3 messages to get a response on CC.
So don’t treat a non-response like a personal rejection; it isn’t. Instead turn it into a positive – that’s one less person to contact! Don’t let it dent your self-esteem. If you do get a response, don’t worry about appearing too keen by responding quickly – try to reply straight away and get into a dialogue.
Dating happens offline, not online
Studies in 2008 show that most relationships, which started online met face-to-face within one week of making the initial contact. No profile can tell you everything you need to know about compatibility. So if there’s any interest at all, meet in person. A short first date is often best. You have no idea whether you’re compatible until you meet and remember that there may not be fireworks on the first meeting.
Meet within a month, preferably sooner, and meet with an open mind. Meet with the idea that it may not be the person you’ll form a relationship with, but you’ll have a good time either way. If you over-invest in your mind, it can sour the date. But if both parties relax and have a good time, it enables conversation and may open the possibility of a relationship developing. One thing is for certain, you will not meet the right person, if you don’t meet anybody.