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The decision-making processes we go through when we’re examining online profiles are also different than those we use in offline situations.
As you flip through those profiles, you’re not necessarily pausing and studying each one as carefully as you would a real person.
The information you provide about yourself now describes who you are today, but it may have little to do with who you are in 10 or 20 years.
People develop in myriad ways throughout their lives, in response to changes within themselves over time and changes in their life circumstances.
Some feature might pop out at you (particularly appearance) that causes you to think “Next?
” When you make a decision about who to establish communication with, it may not be a particularly well-informed one.
Because you’re not meeting actual people, but instead examining their profiles, you’re not going through the normal give-and-take that occurs when people meet and talk for the first time.
As Finkel and his colleagues state, you may make “lazy, ill-informed decisions” because you’re selecting from such a large group of potential matches.
The mindset you develop in this process can also cause you to think of a romantic partner not as a person but as someone who is easily interchangeable with someone else.
If you hold onto the false belief that you need to keep looking until you find that soulmate, you may zip past some otherwise excellent dating prospects.
Communication Because users can engage in extensive online communication (called “Computer Mediated Communication” or CMC), prior to meeting, they form impressions that may or may not correspond to those they eventually make when they see the real person.