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Some are seeking someone to have dinner with, some are looking for someone to travel with them, others are looking for someone to share their favorite activities. There is an entire spectrum of dating that goes far beyond the marriage-oriented online dating services available today. Far more than their younger counterparts, older adults feel much more comfortable evaluating a potential match in the real world instead of online.
It’s always fun to have attraction, romance, and flirting. Which goes a long way to explaining the next point … That’s right, instead of texting and messaging, they actually prefer to talk to someone on the phone to find out if they like them. All the Millennials out there are shaking their heads, wondering why on earth anyone would like to talk on the phone when they can instant message instead.
Whatever the reason, most older adults will tell you that how someone looks is doesn’t matter much in their search to find a companion.
One thing we have been struck with has been the important role that dinner plays in the social (or not-so-social) lives of most older adults.
While this is true for some older adults, it is far from universal.
Many seniors really are looking for companionship and nothing more. A recognition that most older adults are prepared for the fact that no single person may be the solution to all their social needs, that they may be just as well served by multiple companions.
Young people are incredibly age-prejudiced, to such an extent that age is one of the most important filter criteria used to find a match on online dating sites. Age is the second-most important attribute used to help users determine if they’re interested in a potential match (after the photo).
This makes quite a comparison to how many young people organize their first dates, which usually involve meeting up in a bar.
Several of today’s dating services are built specifically around this concept: Grouper, for example, hooks up groups of young people in bars and offers them a free first drink as part of the package. The fundamental premise behind most dating services for young people is that the ultimate goal is to find love and marriage.
This scenario is not just on Match.com, but on E-harmony, Ourtime, Plenty of Fish, OK Cupid, and the rest of the dating websites.
The filtering mechanisms on these dating sites similarly emphasize the importance age takes in the minds of young match-seekers, with all users asked to specify the age range they are seeking, with many choosing ridiculously narrow ranges (e.g. ) Adults over 55 are far more flexible in their approach to companionship.
That’s why we’re currently working on a number of features for Stitch to ensure that the people you meet are who they say they are. We’ve found older adults to be far more refreshingly open-minded. In case you hadn’t figured it out by now, all the differences we’ve described above lead most older adults to conclude that, well, online dating is not a positive experience at all.