#5 Find 5 things you like that you didn’t used to like: OkCupid

Find 5 things you like that you didn’t used to like!
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There’s something about the phrase “online dating” that seems to elicit a wide range or reactions, from the avid site-hoppers who always screen potential friends and lovers online before the first date, to the adamant naysayers who believe real connections need to be made in the real world. This topic of conversation has livened up many a get-together with my friends, whose opinions vary from passionate (both for and against) to completely apathetic.

Don’t get me wrong, I met my first girlfriend on MySpace, so I’m not above making friends online, but I’ve always been skeptical of any sites that claim to analyze your compatibility and “find your match”. Social media is a great way to connect, but something about websites like OkCupid makes me uneasy. I would say my opinion of online dating has been tainted my my best friend, an online-date-a-holic.

My bestie has been on OkC for over a year now, and she’s told me many tales of her adventures. I’ve been living vicariously though her tumultuous dating life: the exciting first dates, the stand-ups, the horrible disasters survived, and the friends made.
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After consoling her on the phone for nearly twenty minutes over another extremely awkward and uncomfortable date – “Why can’t I just meet the right guy?!” – I suggested that she simply look for a friend first, and then see if she wants to turn it into something more. See this friend of mine has the tendency to rush right in, even with guys she’s not that crazy about… and this has created some humorous, and sometimes serious consequences for her. I thought, instead of looking for a boyfriend, why not look for someone you actually *like* spending time with instead! Who knew, right?

Well she didn’t really take my advice, but I did!

I decided matchmaking sites are wasted on single people. The single people that I know seem to be looking for someone to bone first, then someone to date second. They ignore most of the compatibility analysis and just flip through photos looking for who they’re attracted to. That’s great, but you can do that on the street or at a bar, so I don’t know what OkC is doing except help you talk to someone if you’re too shy to do it in person. And I’m not. But what about finding friends and relationships with people you truly connect with – you can’t walk up to someone on the street and just know that you’re going to enjoy spending time together… Not usually anyway!

Friendships need compatibility almost more than partnerships… So I figured this site was secretly designed for me!

OkC allows you to answer as many random “matching” questions – ranging from opinions on politics to tattoos, and tastes from dive bars to fancy restaurants, and your level of hygiene. When you view someone’s profile OkC tells you your compatibility percentage based on the questions you answered the same way. You can also filter potential interests based on over 50 different interests and identities. You can search for people in your area who are shorter than 5’5, catholic non-smokers… Or you can find vegetarian friends who smoke regularly and have no kids. You can filter based on gender, sexuality, religion, race, class, physical appearance (is that a good thing?), and interests. Then you can look at the profile of anyone you’re interested in, where people write more about themselves and upload photos – much like Facebook.

I was honest on my profile about being in a relationship and looking for friends, so I was worried people might be only looking for sex or love and wouldn’t respond. If you live in a metro center, or even a decent-sized city, you can spend hours looking at people in your area. I did a few filtered searches, messaged a few people, and came out the other end with more people that I can meet! This map below will tell you your likelihood of getting a date on OkC by state!
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I would recommend OkC to anyone who’s living in a new city, looking to find friends that share their interests. I’ve already met almost a dozen new people, and made a handful of new friends: twice as many in the last month than in the last six months combined!

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