Think about the dating sites and apps you’ve come across. Aside from sites and apps that are blatantly obvious for ‘hooking up’ or disguised as something else entirely, most promise lifelong commitments, lengthy relationships, and yes, even marriage. Some go so far as to post statistics about the positive marriage rates that come from their sites. Well, if you visit the new Indian online dating sites and applications such as OkCupid, Tinder, TrulyMadly, Woo, Match, etc. you’ll see different online dating service.
“Meeting new people all around the world” is the basic concept for all such online dating apps and sites. These websites had launched in India this past few years, and is clearly catering to the younger, urban Indian who is actually looking to date, and not necessarily for a lifelong partner. Gone are the days of filling out lengthy profiles that include things like height, weight, astrology forecast, skin color, caste and religion, etc. to know the “compatibility” factor. People aren’t looking for the perfect permanent match anymore, and are much more fascinated with the idea of dating around, meeting for coffee, and actually getting to know each other on a one-to-one basis.
Instead of focusing on finding someone with a certain social background, sites like OkCupid, Tinder, TrulyMadly, Woo, Match, etc. instead focuses on compatibility. Where you go from there, is up to you. These dating sites are become more popular all over the world, but it’s especially important in India, where the idea of marriage, and even young marriage, has always been extremely important. A lot of people in India are aligned to the Western kind of online dating service, through Facebook. And nobody in India is addressing its youth. Nobody in India is addressing people outside of the marriage context. There is Facebook, but it’s about your own social network and doesn’t allow you to expand your social base.
To young Indians today, though, the idea of dating is about experiencing things with someone you have something in common with. Other sites, like Trabblr, have also become popular, as they allow people to meet up through group events and different outings. Group dating has become exceedingly popular, and a more casual way to meet people without feeling the daunting pressure of a ‘serious’ relationship right away. For other users, dating sites place far too great an emphasis on shared interests at the peril of sacrificing more realistic markers of compatibility.
India is a culture that is currently going through a revolution, and that includes the world of dating, marriage, etc. It is a culture that has been so rich and known for the sanctity of marriage, that social norms and relationship norms can still be a struggle for even younger, urban Indians to deal with, but these norms are slowly changing, and dating is becoming more about compatibility than good matches on paper. Ultimately, it’s morphing a bit more into the Western culture-style of dating, to the point where there are some online dating mobile app, where users don’t have to do much more than upload a photo to get someone to decide if they’re interested in them or not.
It comes down to likes, dislikes, and overall interest in this new world of online dating culture, and this revolution the country is going through shows no signs of slowing down any time soon.