There is little you don’t hear when you launch and manage a website service for singles. One of the toughest challenges we face as a company is providing perspective for customers. In the history of man, online dating has been around for about a minute of time.
So a little adjustment and a few bumps along the way are to be expected. There are no longstanding social norms, manners or etiquette for how to behave.
In the absence of those dictates, it’s easy to get frustrated. When I speak with customers, certain critical feedback keeps cropping up:
- “I don’t like any of my matches.”
- “My matches are too far away.”
- “I was on for six months and went on some dates but nothing came of them.”
- “I was on for a month and it didn’t work for me.”
- “I tried it for a while but the people were too religious.”
- “There were too many people that were not Catholic enough.”
- “Too many guys just wanted to email.”
- “More women would reply if free members could read email.”
Few people are more sympathetic to singles than me. You see, in addition to helping start the company and manage it for more than 11 years, I am also single myself. So I am empathetic to the frustrations of being single and, yes, even using a dating site.
The wrong approach
But for a variety of reasons, singles tend to view and use a dating site more like a car dealership and less like a gym. Which causes some problems.
Let me explain.
When a customer does not find “the one” on our site, he might complain that online dating does not work for him. While I understand what he means, it’s obvious that his perspective is not realistic. If you decide to join a gym with hopes of losing weight or getting in shape but then proceed to go only occasionally and after six months you don’t lose weight, did the gym not work?
Sounds goofy right?
The gym, just like a dating site, is a tool, and that tool is intended to make it easier for you to be introduced to other singles. Unlike a bar, party, sporting event, dance or parish gather, you know everyone on the site is single and interested in meeting other singles for romantic purposes. So there’s great potential here.
Joining a faith-based dating site, like joining a gym, is about growth – identifying a healthy lifestyle and then actively pursuing it. It’s sweaty but enormously rewarding.
The rewards come when you put in the time. Like all things, what you get out of the service is what you put in it, so take the time to create a good profile with lots of photos. And then stay engaged.
Rather than a tool (like a gym) that singles carry with them during their single lives, too many users view online dating like a car dealership, which means they enter their criteria and expect the site – poof! – to give them exactly what they are looking for. They browse the profiles just as they would scan cars on a lot trying to determine which is the best fit. Blonde or brunette, tall or short, funny or serious – the list goes on.
But unlike a car, where you can pick something that gets you from point A to point B, a spouse is a life-changing commitment with far greater impact and consequences.
An opportunity for growth
So the next time you sign up or log on to a dating site – hopefully it is CatholicMatch.com – remember the website is simply a communication tool. It cannot determine who God has planned for you or let you see what your kids would look like. Not unlike a treadmill or weights, it is their ability to provide you with opportunity; you have to be the one who uses it.
Just because you don’t see results right away doesn’t mean you give up. Each day brings new opportunity and insight – who knows when your future spouse could log on? The question is will you be there to meet him or her?
Remember, just because you’re using a dating site doesn’t mean you shouldn’t continue to meet people through parties, parishes, friends and colleagues. People often ask me, “Do you want to meet your future spouse on CatholicMatch?”
My response is always the same: “I don’t care how I meet her. I just want to meet her.”