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Office Hours With Dr. Jim
by James Houran, Ph.D

In this column, "Dr. Jim" honestly and candidly answers your questions about dating, love and sexuality. He doesn’t tell you what you want to hear – he tells you what you need to hear. Dr. Jim is committed to offering you guidance based on responsible clinical practice and hard data from the latest scientific studies. Send Dr. Jim your questions today for consideration in an upcoming issue.

Mistakes Men Make | Online Dating Obsolete?

Quick Access:
Men's Mistakes Coming on to Women

Online Dating Becoming Obsolete?

What are some common mistakes men make coming on to women?


That’s a tough question, as I’d recommend that men not try to “come on” to women – it’s simply not classy and not effective because it’s not sincere. From my own personal experience and from observations of others, I offer five tips on what not to do with your partner if you want a lasting relationship:

» Never minimize the importance of being sincere and honest.

» Never minimize the important of being well groomed.

» Never minimize the importance of being a good listener.

» Never minimize the importance of her emotional needs – that desire for bonding, attachment and meaningful communication. Her needs should come first.

» Never minimize the importance of spending alone time with her – regular periods where you demonstrate to her that she is a priority and that she has your attention.

Isn’t online dating becoming obsolete?

Despite the rise and popularity of social networking sites and other online communities like MySpace and YouTube, online dating sites are not dead yet. To assess the health of the industry, independent research firm Synovate surveyed 4,386 people from Brazil, France, Korea, the Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, Romania and the United States to determine their online dating perceptions, learn who has used the internet to find a romantic partner and the level of success that they’ve had.

The results reveal a fairly even match between those who think online dating is a great way to meet people (49%) and those who think it is a waste of time (48%), it underscores significant disparities among levels of use and comfort between people of different nationalities.

Globally, 15% of respondents said they had used an online personal ad or online dating service to meet a potential romantic interest, with the French (29%), Filipinos (21%) and Americans (15%) being the biggest online daters.

Entertainment appears is the main driver for 46% of online dating respondents, with many Brazilians (67%), Americans (50%) and Romanians (49%) trying online dating out of fun or curiosity, while one quarter of all online daters consider it simply a natural extension of their regular use of the internet. You can see now why I call “long-term relationship” online dating sites a niche market.

Some new findings also emerged from the study. While it’s not surprising that a person's photograph is the main factor determining whether someone will initiate communication for 25% of online daters, 39% are more interested in the written description of their personality and 32% just want someone who meets basic criteria such as shared interests and hobbies. Statistics like these are difficult to interpret, because something called social desirability bias comes into play. That is, survey respondents may occasional give misleading answers because they feel they should say what they feel is the “right thing” to say.

And just when you think the negative stigma of online dating has diminished, that stigma seems to rear its ugly head. Over half of the American respondents said they’ve had at least one disaster date with someone they met online, but 64% said that they’d had more good dates than bad ones. That’s encouraging, and certainly not out of line for what an offline success rate might be.

In fact, consistent with my own opinion, online daters who do end up meeting face-to-face have a remarkable success rate. Specifically, 25% of all respondents claimed to have met their spouse or life partner through online dating. Americans (42%) and the French (28%) appear most successful at taking online love offline, while for most Filipinos (3 %) online dating doesn’t usually lead to a long-term relationship.

The Synovate research clearly shows that online dating hasn’t become obsolete – in the US or throughout the word for that matter. But, it does highlight the intentions and perceptions people have about it. Not everyone uses online dating in the same way, and not everyone has successful experiences with it. From what I’ve found, you tend to get out of online dating only what you put in it. Most people are fine and find what for what they’re searching if they’re honest in their intentions and communications, they have fun, they’re respectful of everyone else and they take it slow and cautiously.

> - The best approach to find the one. <

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