Kiwis not sold on finding love online

By Abby Gillies

The survey found singles were less inclined to go to a professional matchmaker for help, with only 1 per cent saying they would trust them. Photo / Thinkstock
The survey found singles were less inclined to go to a professional matchmaker for help, with only 1 per cent saying they would trust them. Photo / Thinkstock

Business might be booming for online and professional dating services but when it comes to finding love, Kiwis still prefer to meet partners the old-fashioned way.

In a changing dating culture, a growing number of singles are turning to the internet or professional matchmakers to help find their perfect partner.

But a survey of 1000 Kiwis has revealed most of us, 81 per cent, would instead rather meet someone more traditionally - through friends, family colleagues or social activities.

The survey by research company UMR, commissioned by online dating service Go Break The Ice, also found 43 per cent of people trusted their friends and families when it comes to dating advice, tips and recommendations.

In spite of the figures, the number of those flocking to online dating sites continues to grow.

Dating site FindSomeone has 75,000 active members, membership is 20 per cent up from last year and those using the site are sending messages at record levels, manager Rick Davies says.

The survey found singles were less inclined to go to a professional matchmaker for help, with only 1 per cent saying they would trust them.

But not everyone agreed with the results.

A 48-year-old Aucklander who was introduced to his wife three years ago through a professional dating service, had no qualms about the way they met.

"I'm pretty clear on what works for me.

"I think the traditional way is a bit hit and miss to be honest. If someone has gone down that road (of using a matchmaker), they're fairly committed and serious about it," said the man who did not wish to be named.

The survey results didn't surprise Sasha Madarasz, owner of Two's Company that offers one-to-one introductions to singles, but it wasn't always realistic to meet other singles through traditional methods, particularly for those with busy, time-poor lives, she said.

The days of meeting a partner at a dance were long gone, said Ms Madarasz.

"Realistically it is much nicer to meet through friends and through work because it validates that person. It gives the other person a sense of security that this person is known by other people is not a freak, not a stalker.

"And I think the reason why matchmaking businesses and FindSomeone are more around now is because of this lack of time we perceive that we have," she said.

Her business has about 650 active members, and numbers continue to climb.

While some might struggle with the idea of having a stranger set them up on a date, her service gives singles the opportunity to meet like-minded people carefully matched on their values and interests - not something that is always possible when meeting someone randomly in a bar or online.

Of those surveyed, 78 per cent had tried or considered online dating, the survey found.

Go Break The Ice (GBTI) launched earlier this year on Facebook.

It tried to strike a balance between typical online dating and meeting dates though personal networks, said company spokesman Philip Behnke.

On traditional sites, people were more likely to lie about age, height and weight, job, photos and interests, he said.

GBTI aimed to create more transparency to online dating by working on friends' recommendations rather than people overselling themselves.

- APNZ

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