Most students leery of online dating

Photo by Roshini Sakhrani

Photo by Roshini Sakhrani

The stigma associated with online dating is a deciding factor for some university students.

Ten interviews of Surrey university students showed that a majority would not participate in online dating, despite the growing trend. Seven said they would rather find a partner through daily social interactions and would join later if they did not succeed in meeting someone that way.

In January, Maclean’s reported that a quarter of all Canadians have tried online dating, contributing to a $1.5-billion industry that is made up of dating sites.

“I prefer the old-fashioned way of meeting people, in person at first, as there is a lot you can tell about a person just by having them in front of you,” said 25-year-old Sharon Evangeline.

Students expressed their concern over online profiles being an inaccurate representation of a person because words and pictures can be misleading.

“Pictures can be completely deceiving and people are very different in person at times,” said Brennan Stevenson, 19, who is opposed to online dating.

Cassey Paul, 24, tried online dating and found it a hassle. “You don’t know who you’re talking to,” he said.

Natasha Wahi, 22, said she has trust issues, which would be even harder to overcome on the internet. “Much like in reality, it is hard to trust people face to face. Having to find someone over the Internet is completely out of the question,” she said.

Students weren’t interested in meeting someone online because they feared being deceived.

Nick Dentay, 21, who is currently in a relationship, said that even if he weren’t, he would still refrain from creating a profile. “The fact that it is all over the internet and can be so biased throws me off. Also, the fact that people can say whatever they want and post fake pictures demotivates me,” he said.

Sam Bennett, 21, argues that people you meet in person can also not be trustworthy. “I’d rather meet someone online than at a bar or a club,” she said.

Michael Jarosz, 22, and Giulia Dell’erba, 20, who did not like the idea of online dating, said that has to do with the technological aspect.

“I can’t say I would just because I’m not a very tech-savvy person and I don’t really do the whole online thing, but I can see how people would and why they would. A good example would be my best friend who is gay. He has a hard time meeting other gay singles,” said Dell’erba. Her friend met someone online and has been dating for two years.

Melisa Gruger, 20, said she felt more inclined to create an online profile because she is a private person who wants to find someone through means other than meeting in a bar. Gruger said that she and her friend would sign up for online dating at the same time, for safety reasons. Gruger met a good friend at an online site for writing, which is an encouraging factor for dating online. “If this is one person that I met through something that’s specifically for writing, what’s going to happen with the dating?” she asked.

A study conducted across Canada by QMI Agency showed that 64 per cent of women rated common interests with a man as the most important factor when considering a partner. The Vancouver-based dating site, Plenty of Fish requires users to complete an online “chemistry quiz” in order to match people according to their personalities or how similarly they answered the same questions.

Online dating can bring people with aligned interests together, according to 26-year-old Arzo Ansary. “I think it could be used as a really good tool to find people, because we’re all so busy in our lives as students,” she said.

By Cindy St.Laurent & Roshini Sakhrani

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