September 14, 2016

A Clever but Insincere Trend in the Online Dating World.

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This guy used google autocomplete to fill in his online dating profile

There’s a trend I’ve noticed recently in online dating that I’d like to call out and discuss.

It seems that there are a variety of career professionals using dating sites for business networking purposes rather than for dating. While clever, this strikes me as fairly cold, particularly when the professionals in question are less than forthcoming about their true motives.

Is this any different from using a person for sex?

Isn’t it about using people for one’s own advantage rather than interacting with them on an honest level?

This has happened to me more than once. Typically, I notice this with career professionals in the human resources field and in real estate, though I’m sure other professionals have gotten on board with the trend. The first time it happened, I was upfront about having no interest in being a business contact. I actually found it a bit offensive that I was interested in dating someone who was only interested in trying to use me to further his career and make a connection for a client. Being the direct person that I am, I said so. Not only did he try to pass it off as a joke and misunderstanding on my part, but he still tried to connect me with the client who had a common work history and needed a job.

Not one date has resulted from my having matched with this person on an online dating site. In the other scenarios where it’s happened, I have found the same issue. In fact, the questions they ask are all designed to gauge how useful I can be as a business contact when all I’m looking for is a person to date. It’s left me feeling used, and I don’t think it’s any less disrespectful to use someone for a contact (while not being upfront about it) than to use someone for sex (while also not being upfront about it).

There’s a quote floating around the Internet about how we often make the mistake of loving things and using people rather than loving people and using things. It does seem that there’s an awful lot of people trying to use others for personal gain rather than sincere connection. While this is hardly new, online dating gives these types of people yet another platform to focus on.

I sort of understand the idea of networking on a dating site. It’s a tough world.

Sometimes people have to be creative to obtain business contacts and be financially successful. But surely there should be ethical considerations about obtaining success at the expense of someone else. Or in doing so dishonestly, disguising your true motives. Maybe success earned in this way shouldn’t be classified as success at all but something else entirely.
Maybe we should redefine how we think about success and how we go about practicing whatever business we’re in. But that’s a topic for another time.

For those professionals using online dating in this way, there are some things that we (the dating community) need you to know:

1. We’re not here so that you can make money.
2. We’re not interested in a business scheme.
3. We’re on a dating site because we want to date. We’d like to have a relationship or casual sex or whatever particular connection we’re seeking (which varies from person to person).
4. If you match with us, do so because you think we have a nice smile or pretty face or an interesting profile. Match with us because you find us interesting, not because you find our particular job interesting or beneficial to you in some way. Match with us because you want a date not a business connection.
5. Be upfront. If you’re on a dating site for any reason other than dating, please immediately advise this. Be honest about your intentions. Not only will we respect you for it, but we may even be happy to have this sort of relationship with you. We may be open to a networking opportunity. But not if you disguise it as a dating interest in order to gain your networking opportunity.

In the end, it’s not okay to use people. Not for sex. Not for business purposes. It’s always best just to be honest and direct about what we’re looking for—in the dating world and in our every day lives. Sure, we’re all out there hustling, just trying to make our ends meet and provide for ourselves or our families. But in doing so, we need to remember that other people matter, too.

Business networking isn’t wrong, but using people and being dishonest is. So join a dating site to date. Or be upfront if business networking is all you’re seeking. Sometimes the simple act of honesty will help obtain that contact you’re seeking and will certainly build respect. And if someone is interested in only dating, it will save time all around if all parties are being honest.

So we can go forward remembering to use things and not people, to love people and not things. We can define success by how we treat others rather than how we use them and we can remember that most people join dating sites for reasons other than networking and proceed accordingly.


Author: Crystal Jackson

Image: via Imgur

Editor: Catherine Monkman

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