Original Article

Meeting people can be challenging. Especially in today’s busy world where the average young professional works 45+ hours per week. Traditionally you had a couple options. One was to go out to the bars and try to meet other singles. The other was to be fixed up by a friend and most likely meet at a bar as well. Online dating eleviates some of the pressure to get out and put yourself out there. You can sit in the comfort of your own home, office, or coffeeshop and surf the web for a likely candidate. But which method is more effective? Can you really find what you’re looking for on a website? There seem to be plenty of advertisements containing testimonials of singles meeting that perfect someone on a dating site. And people still do seem to go out on the weekends looking to find someone. Let’s just compare some of the benefits of each and with that information each person can decide what they think about the different dating options in the internet age.

The bar scene has been popular ever since alcohol was invented. And I imagine it will stay that way until it’s illegal. Now I know that not everyone at a bar is single or even looking for someone. But it is pretty common for bar or club patrons to be on the prowl for a hookup, relationship, or new friendship. Depending upon what city you live in, the bar scene could be extremely popular with endless options and new faces, or about as fun as going to Applebee’s and having a couple beers. Cities like Los Angeles, New York, Las Vegas, Chicago, and Austin obviously have a lot more to offer when it comes to nightlife. I’m sure you’ve seen rankings for Top Cities for Singles. If you want to go to the hottest places with the most attractive people, it’s going to cost you. Cover charges can range from $0-$50 depending on the night and event. A sports bar will most likely not have a cover charge. A popular club on a Friday night with a major DJ could run you $50 just to walk in the door. So now that you’re in you can now start to mingle, have a few drinks, and hopefully meet some singles.

This is where you’ll now need to initiate some sort of conversation. Unless you look like Brad Pitt or a Victoria’s Secret model, you probably won’t have people throwing themselves at you. For some people this can be scary, challenging, and embarrassing. Most people like to loosen up with a few drinks or shots before approaching anyone. Drinks are not cheap. After cover, a round of shots, and a few cocktails, you are going to be nearing the $100 mark or beyond at most popular places. But you have a million times greater chance at having a positive outcome than if you were sitting on your living room sofa watching movies on cable.

Now to the internet. There are tons of options here and going through them would be a whole other essay in itself. You should figure out what you are looking for first. First, you’ll want to decide if you are looking for sex, or a relationship. If you are after some no strings attached encounters, you’ll be more interested in adult dating websites. Some examples of there would be AduldFriendFinder.com or Fling.com. Both sites offer a wide range of features from live video to nude picture galleries, and of course email. If you are seeking to meet someone you would like to have a serious relationship with, you should look at your "cleaner" online dating sites such as Match.com or PlentyOfFish.com. These style sites will have tools designed to figure out what personality type you are and match it other users who they feel are a good match. Most of the sites that use these tools rant and rave that theirs is the best and have some sort of psychologist backing up their methods. You should be able to find dating websites that are free if you do not want to pay monthly. In most cases you do get what you pay for. Free sites will be loaded up with banner advertisements, won’t operate as smooth, and will have more issues with unwanted advertisers sending you messages.

If you do not want to go the free route, you can expect monthly rates to range anywhere from $20-$50 per month. I would recommend looking at traffic rankings for these sites to make sure they are popular and that there actually will be other users there besides yourself ( Top 25 Dating Sites). Again, with online dating, you are not directly faced with the possiblity of rejection. You can privately look at hundred of profiles a night and contact the ones you are interested in. The only people that will know about your pick up attempts are you and the person you sent the message to. And odds are, if they turn you down you’ll never see them in real life so who cares. But if you ever do want to move past the anonymous messages and start a relationship, you’ll probably need to meet face-to-face. You can’t avoid public interaction all together. Only avoid it.

After comparing the bar scene and online dating websites, the pros and cons of each seem to be pretty clear. On one hand you can get out there, show your face, have some drinks and hopefully meet some people. It will cost you for the most part unless you live in a relatively inexpensive city. On the other hand you can avoid public embarrassment, save some money, and contact more people than you possible could in one night. But you will have to eventually come out from hiding behind your computer and talk to someone if you ever want to move things beyond modern day pen pals.