Study on Interpersonal Communication and Relationship Building on, a Popular Dating Site

In the 2006 study I researched, “Self Presentation in Online Personals: The Role of Anticipated Future Interaction, Self-Disclosure, and Perceived Success in Internet Dating”, the authors tested interpersonal communication aspects of a relatively new online platform that seeks to help people find and develop romantic relationships. Using data collected from one of the most popular dating sites online at the time of the study,, researchers were able to make a distinction between online and offline relationship building. The content of a user’s interpersonal communication on this platform, the study suggests, depends on what the person is looking to gain from the interaction.

Those seeking future interaction with another user, for example, “have been found to ask more personal questions and self-disclose more than those in offline conditions” (Gibbs, 155). Users are the main drivers behind constructing their own dating profiles on sites such as, resulting in the creation of carefully and deliberately mediated messages that “gives participants more opportunities to present themselves positively and deliberately” (Gibbs, 153).

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Since the users determine everything that gets shown to potential dating partners, though, future interaction expectations may become skewed if and when users decide to meet offline.

The article also referenced research by Whitty and Gavin (2001), who acknowledged that “the expectation of eventually meeting FtF (Face to Face) was a common theme among those in online relationships, although the actual meeting could sometimes be disappointing” (Gibbs, 155). The tendency to hide traits one perceives to be negative and display the positive ones instead is strong for online dating profiles, but by the time users move into interacting offline, these traits may show themselves more.

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The more comfortable one gets with the other person, the more self-disclosure takes place, many times resulting in variations from what was presented in one’s online profile.

The study’s findings supported the notion that an opportunity to show and hide certain personal information exists in online encounters but isn’t necessarily the case with people looking for legitimate relationships. Long-term minded people are typically more honest, the study confirmed, yet less likely to have success in finding relationships online. One shortcoming I found with this study, though, is that it didn’t follow through with people who found success with and began a real-world romantic relationship to see how long it lasted. Success on sites like means different things to different people. When such a small percentage of people are being honest with who they actually are and what they really want in a partner, as the study suggests, even “successful” romances started online can come to a crashing halt when self-disclosure reaches its deepest levels.

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Study on Interpersonal Communication and Relationship Building on, a Popular Dating Site. (2022, Nov 07). Retrieved from

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