As a professional matchmaker, I’m often asked about the differences of how people look for love. It can be viewed into two ways: offline and online. Since the mid-1990’s online dating has become a pop cultural phenomenon. In fact, many will swear they know someone who met and got married through an online introduction. It could happen, yet statistics point toward other methods being safer and more exciting by connecting with real people and not an online profile.

In the final showdown between online dating and matchmaking, let’s take a look at both sides of the issue and try to sift through the advantages and disadvantages. Dating has certainly been revolutionized with the introduction of the Internet. Prior to online dating, people met potential mates at school, church, work, in bars, or through connections with their own friends and family. Things then changed. People got busier and often, careers took precedence. Enter: Internet dating becoming a viable option for anyone who wishes to get involved for the first time or get re-involved after not being in the scene for awhile.

As recently as ten years ago the, the phrase “online dating” was rather new to many people with a certain stigma of desperation attached. Today the situation is different. While much more commonly accepted, this method of finding the perfect match can be very enticing by having access to hundreds of singles at your fingertips and just a keyboard stroke away.

With all these choices on these dating websites, one of the disadvantages is quantity over quality. Many profiles can be misleading, and in fact, studies show that 81% of online profiles lie about their height, weight, and/or age. If you have a fantastic photo and engaging profile, you can count on being inundated with unnecessary emails that could take hours to dissect. This could get frustrating, leading the love seeker to stop using the service at all. And on the flip side, if your profile doesn’t stand out, you may get lost in the crowd and receive no emails. In addition, sometimes profiles appear in an active state when they no longer are, therefore creating a “false
advertising” environment.

Safety is a concern for online dating. It is common knowledge that  online dating services can be infiltrated by the pornography industry, as well as possibly advertising prostitution. Remember, this service is all operating through the Internet and you have no idea if the person you meet online is married, (recent surveys indicated that as many as 40% of the profiles marked “single” on a popular dating site were in fact those of married people), a serial cheater, or a criminal. At this time, no federal regulations exist to protect individuals who use this service, so essentially it is an “enter at your own risk” model.

Now let’s examine the pros and cons of matchmaking.  As opposed to online dating, with matchmaking, you don’t waste time dating people who are not looking for a serious relationship. Matchmaking is for singles who are serious about a having a long-lasting relationship. Singles who use matchmakers often realize that an investment in oneself can be the best decision they can ever make, especially if they are successful and are missing that special someone with whom to share their life.

A matchmaking service provides a personal touch that virtual introductions do not. The matchmaker personally meets with a pool of prospects to help find those who might fit  romantically together. You will also receive professional advice from a matchmaker who spends quality time in assessing you and your love-seeking situation, far more accurately than any personality test online. You are benefiting from professional experience in the field of dating so that you are not alone in your decision-making.

In harnessing the talents of such a professional, you have increased your chances of success. More monetary compensation may be required than for your average online dating service; however, but the advantages can be fulfilling. A matchmaker is equivalent to the services offered by a corporate headhunter looking to find the next CEO, but with the express purpose of locating your perfect other half. In choosing a matchmaker, you are being helped by a trained eye to minimize the risk factor and maximize the benefits to meet the right one. A matchmaker’s goal is, after all, to be in the “last” first date business.

Julia McCurley is a Certified Matchmaker, former IT recruiter who brings a personal touch to finding love and happiness. Her company, Something More, has facilitated over two thousand introductions and helped create hundreds of successful relationships.