Let’s face it: in today’s society, there are times when being single can really suck, especially if you don’t want to be. But fear not! Dating sites, such as Tinder and Match.com, are making it easier and easier to find a partner in our fast-paced world.

photo illustration by GARRETT MCNAMEE / EQUINOX STAFF

photo illustration by GARRETT MCNAMEE / EQUINOX STAFF

Technology and smart phones have transformed many aspects of our lives, including the dating scene. With the popularity of sites such as Tinder, Match.com and eHarmony, the stigma associated with online dating has decreased considerably in the last decade.

Online dating, which was once a highly-scrutinized activity, has developed into a $2 million market. More and more of us are insisting on outsourcing our love lives to spreadsheets and algorithms instead of face-to-face interactions.

The popularity of online dating sites seems to be driven by time. Browsing profiles isn’t nearly as time-consuming (or daunting) as meeting up for a face-to-face interaction.

Online dating services are now the second most popular way to meet a partner, and it’s estimated that by 2040, nearly 70 percent of couples will have met online.

With all these dating sites popping up, it’s easy to wonder: are they good for us? The answer to tends to be mixed.

Online dating provides individuals with more readily-available access to more partners than they would meet in their day-to-day lives. This is especially true for individuals looking for a certain lifestyle, or those who live in isolated areas. Many sites now offer personality tests, as well.

This can help guide individuals towards those whom they may be better suited for. Additionally, it offers a way to communicate with a potential date before meeting them face-to-face.

Computer-mediated communication can allow for a safe interaction without too much commitment or time consumption.

However, online dating does have its downfalls. For many individuals, the choices of potential partners can become overwhelming.

Daters may get stuck “shopping” for the perfect partner rather than staying in a satisfying relationship.

Personality testing is also a difficult process and cannot always be accurate, so individuals may be dismissing potentially good partners in the process. Communication through computers is also nowhere near as personable as face-to-face interactions. This can make it harder to evaluate matches online than in person. Therefore, computer-based interactions may seem artificial and lack emotions.

Overall, online dating can be a great way to meet someone for future in-person meetings. Some of the most common dating apps among college students are Tinder, Bumble, OKCupid, JSwipe, Hinge and Happn.

Experts say that dating apps are a great way to meet people, but always be safe and trust your gut.

Safety measures include not disclosing addresses with anyone online, checking to see if a user’s photos are stolen from another site or person’s profile, and blocking and reporting any suspicious behavior or harassment.

With the help of these new dating sites, the tides may be beginning to turn for many singles in the world, but it is more important than ever to stay safe while doing it!

Lindsay Gibbons can be contacted at lgibbons@kscequinox.com