Why Online Dating is So Scary

Fact Checked by: John Stringfellow, CEH

Scary Photo of Ghost

Spiders…scary. Snakes…scary. Talking in front of people…scary. Online dating? You may or may not be surprised at how many people would tell you that the idea of dating online sounds absolutely terrifying to them.

The good news if you feel that way is that you’re not alone. If you asked or polled singles of all ages today, you’d realize that you’re in good company.

Should we all just run for the hills and hide from every online dating site on the planet? Of course not! Online dating provides an absolutely amazingly innovative and exciting way to find quality singles in your area. Yes, this is our industry so we may be a little partial, but when you think about it, it really is true.

Where else can you log into a website and within minutes be talking to people that might end up playing a special role in your life? There’s a strong chance that someone you meet online ends up being that special someone that you spend the rest of your life with. With that sort of opportunity, it may be worth looking at why we get scared by online dating and what we can do to overcome those fears.

The key to crushing any fears starts with understanding what scares you about it. When you break it down, it can be easy to deal with step by step, or you may see that what you’re scared of really isn’t that scary. Let’s break down what may be one of the reasons you’re trembling at the thought of “putting yourself out there.”

Online Dating Seems New

Anytime we encounter something we’ve never seen before, it can be scary. If you’ve never dated online before, you have no idea what you’re getting yourself into. All you have to go off of are the stories you’ve heard or read about online. The thing is, though, just because something is new to you does not mean that it’s new. Online dating is no different.

Online dating dates back to the mid-1990s when Match.com came onto the scene. In fact, that article says that the idea of online dating dates back to the 1600s with personal ads! Why is this information important? It shows that online dating has been around for over 20 years. Within those 20 years, it has grown from its primitive days to what it is today.

Over those years, online dating has had the time to work out the kinks and develop a system that is truly effective. They’ve been able to work out the things that didn’t click and more importantly the things that might scare someone. This means that you can go into online dating knowing that everything has constantly been improving into the awesome product it is today.

Think about it like a roller coaster. Would you go on the first roller coaster ever built? If you would, you’re crazier than us. But, would you go on a roller coaster after they’ve been innovated for 20 plus years? You probably would be much more inclined to do that. This is because you trust that over the years they have worked out the issues and the coaster is going to be so much safer and more fun than it was in its infancy.

There’s no reason to be scared of something just because it’s new to you. If it’s completely new to everyone, you can be on your guard. But if it’s just something you haven’t tried, you have to give it the benefit of the doubt that its years of growth have done it well.

Dating in General is Scary

It might not be that online dating is scary to you; it might be that dating, in general, is scary to you. Is that a rational fear? You betcha’ it is. Dating requires us to be vulnerable. It requires us to put ourselves out there for people to accept or reject us. Anyone that tells you that is not scary is either a superhero or might be fibbing to you and themselves.

The good news is that online dating helps to soften some of the issues you find with traditional dating. First, approaching people to get dates in person is hard. It’s the ultimate test in putting yourself out there. With online dating, though, they have functions to help you put yourself out there in a much less vulnerable way.

For example, certain sites will allow you to wink or flirt with other members. This is as simple as clicking a button and it sends a notification to someone that you might be interested. It doesn’t say you’re totally into them or that you’re head over heels. All it says is, “hey, I might be interested.” You can then wait to see if that person winks or flirts back and then you can message them with confidence knowing they’re interested too.

Worried about what to say? In person, there are no do-overs. Online, though, you can take your time with your first few messages and really set a nice first impression.

Nothing will make dating completely scare-free. But, online dating will help to make things a lot simpler and allow you to interact without putting yourself out there as much as you would have to with dating in person.

Fear is Ok

We want to close this post by letting you know that being scared to date online is ok. There is nothing wrong with getting those butterflies because you’re doing something that’s unusual.

Here’s the exciting part, though. The reward for the risk can be incredible. Would you be willing to be a little scared if it meant finding the love of your life? We bet you would. Would you be willing to be a little nervous if it meant happiness for the rest of your life? You’d be crazy not to.

The fear is normal. Overcoming it could be the best thing you’ve ever done in your life.

Photo of author

Author: Matt Seymour, MSF

Matthew J. Seymour is a dating industry expert with over a decade of experience coaching singles, reviewing dating apps, and analyzing trends within the industry. Matt is a published author with his most recent work “Get More Dates: How to Master Online Dating Apps” that hit shelves in 2023. With a Masters of Science in Finance (MSF) degree from the University of Florida and extensive knowledge of the innerworkings of the online dating industry, Matt frequently serves in an advisory role to some of the largest dating apps on the market. In Matt’s current role with Healthy Framework, he leads the interview team that regularly interviews key dating industry leaders, and leverages his financial knowledge and dating app experience to review and share what singles need to know to get the most out of dating online.