By Michelle Foti

Imagine standing in a crowded bar with the music blasting, the lights down low, someone’s drink spilled on you, and a bar fight breaking out five feet away. Definitely not the way to meet the man of your dreams, is it? Your quest to find your knight in shining armor is not looking too good, so why not just stay home curled up on the couch with your computer on your lap and search for a guy online?

If your fear of being catfished (remember Manti Te’o?) is stopping you, just wait until it’s last call and the lights come on. Did he really have a biker ponytail and face tattoo the whole time? Online dating can save you so much time and money while you search around for someone you really like.  In addition, you will be able to research potential matches, have time to plan your responses, and use actual science to help you find matches.

A great way to start online dating is by trying out a few sites and seeing which you like best. Luckily, reputable sites like these that also offer free trials can be easily found at DatingAdvice.com. By signing up for these free trials, you can usually peruse others images, profile text, and sometimes even contact them.  Either way, you will be able to choose a site that you are most comfortable with and that matches your dating goals.  

Dating Advice: 5 Advantages to Online Dating Over the Bar Scene

1. Cool, confident, collected: If your face turns red, you look down when you talk, or you get sweaty palms when you’re nervous, it sounds like you may not make the best first impression on the guy at the end of the bar. One of the many perks of online dating is that it takes that pressure off. After you’ve messaged someone on a site, you can start texting and even talking on the phone. It’s a process of communication and can take as long or as short as you both want before meeting in person. When you’re ready to talk to him, you can be cool, confident, and collected. You can even have stock conversation ready to go next to your long list of cute and witty comments.  Moreover, you can even take your time to plan your wardrobe, whether you want to be sweet and sexy like Jessica Alba or New York City Chic like Kelly Ripa.

2. Take a second and think about it: Think about whether or not you can see yourself with this person. Is this the man you imagine in first date selfies, engagement photos, and standing at the altar? Online dating allows you to take your time to decide on these important factors. There’s no last call on a dating site.

3. Check him out without him knowing: If he catches you checking him out in person, he may take this as an invitation to approach you. But when you search for love online, you can decide first whether or not he’s your type for reasons that stem beyond his perfect hair and rock-solid chest. 

4. Investigate thoroughly: When you meet someone at a bar, you won’t know until you get home (unless you take your smartphone to the bathroom), who that person really is that you are spending your time talking to. When you date online, you have more time to take his name and plug it into Instagram, Facebook, or even Google away. You can find out more than his relationship status including any criminal history, if he has a job, if he has kids: all things that are important to know!

5. Matchmaking science, not vodka: This time it’s not your drunken best friend pushing you into the arms of disaster, but a matchmaker and science pushing you into the arms of love. It’s not about who is checking you out, who bought you a drink, or who the last man standing in the bar is, it’s about compatibility. There are even studies that show that online daters find someone within 6 months of going online, so any cost you do decide to spend is actually reasonable.

What benefits of online dating have you experienced? Share in the comments below!