Sliding Into Someone's DMs Can Have Some Serious Consequences IRL

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In the age of all things digital, it comes as no surprise that swiping left and right on dating apps has totally surpassed the more traditional ways of finding "the one". With recent reports that technology is taking over the dating world, it's not hard to believe that some couples are now using sites originally meant for social networking with friends to find love. But can you actually fall in love on social media, or does this method of matchmaking lead to eventual heartbreak?

The concept of finding love via social media is actually not as unlikely as it may sound. Due to instantaneous connections and the ability to scroll through someone's likes, dislikes, and their fave memes, it's pretty easy to find common interests with someone and to slide into their DMs to initiate a conversation. Even something as small as a like or a comment can actually lead to lasting relationships, as demonstrated by an English-American couple who met through Instagram.

Speaking to the Mail Online in 2015, London native Andrew Dearling was searching a hashtag for the video game Halo when he found — and proceeded to like — a snap of Nicole Drummond from Nashville. From there, the two began liking each others photos, which eventually led to the couple chatting on iMessage. This was in 2012, and just a year later Dearling proposed. The couple tied the knot in the summer of 2014, as per his Insta post at the time. "In 2012 I met a girl on Instagram.... Today I'm proud to announce that I married her!" he captioned the post. "Thank you @nicoleraedrummond for lighting up my life." (And if you're wondering, yes they're still together.)

There are many other happy couples that have found love through social media. In fact, wedding site The Knot have even compiled a handy list of them here.

However, that's not to say that you should create a social media account for the sole purpose of finding love. "If you meet someone face to face shortly after you meet them online, it's not necessarily going to lead to someone having a positive relationship, but waiting longer increases the possibility that things are not going to work out," Dr. Artemio Ramirez, associate professor of communication at the University of South Florida, told CNN.

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Ramirez continued:

"When people rely on more text-based forms of communications, that's where you really see people idealising. When people in relationships can talk on the phone or via Skype, it's more of a reality check. Each form of communication incrementally gives us more information about that person."

Basically, if you find yourself forming a relationship through social media, you shouldn't solely base it through text on a screen. Seeing their face, hearing their voice, and eventually meeting them IRL will all help build a connection between you and your potential partner. You can't rely on DMs and instant messaging to form a relationship, especially when using social media can cause an increase in the "affection" hormone oxytocin, as Fast Company reports.

While the prospect of finding your future soulmate on Instagram or Twitter sounds like a Disney movie, you shouldn't get in the habit of treating social media like a dating site. As the Huffington Post pointed out: "Social media is a great tool to meet interesting people and create relationships, but you must be smart about it." Finding love online comes with risks, as does dating on apps like Tinder or Bumble. It's extremely easy to come across as someone you're not when interacting online.

But I guess the same could be said for dating IRL. You've just got to be vigilant and careful, making sure that who you think's the one is actually who they say they are.

And, of course, if you are planning to meet anyone IRL for the first time, always meet in a public place and ensure the situation is safe.

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