There are numerous ways to meet potential dates, including blind dates, classified ads, dating websites, hobbies, holidays, office romance, social networking, speed dating, and others. A Pew study in 2005 which examined Internet users in long-term relationships including marriage, found that many met by contacts at work or at school. The survey found that 55% of relationship-seeking singles agreed that it was "difficult to meet people where they live." Work is a common place to meet potential spouses, although there are some indications that the Internet is overtaking the workplace as an introduction venue. In Britain, one in five marry a co-worker, but half of all workplace romances end within three months. One drawback of office dating is that a bad date can lead to "workplace awkwardness."
The majority of Indian marriages are arranged by parents and relatives, and one estimate is that 7 of every 10 marriages are arranged. Sometimes the bride and groom don't meet until the wedding, and there is no courtship or wooing before the joining. In the past, it meant that couples were chosen from the same caste and religion and economic status. There is widespread support for arranged marriages generally. Writer Lavina Melwani described a happy marriage which had been arranged by the bride's father, and noted that during the engagement, the woman was allowed to go out with him before they were married on only one occasion; the couple married and found happiness. Supporters of arranged marriage suggest that there is a risk of having the marriage fall apart whether it was arranged by relatives or by the couple themselves, and that what's important is not how the marriage came to be but what the couple does after being married. Parents and relatives exert considerable influence, sometimes posting matrimonial ads in newspapers and online. Customs encourage families to put people together, and discourage sexual experimentation as well as so-called serial courtship in which a prospective bride or groom dates but continually rejects possible partners, since the interests of the family are seen as more important than the romantic needs of the people marrying. Indian writers, such as Mistry in his book Family Matters, sometimes depict arranged marriages as unhappy. Writer Sarita Sarvate of India Currents thinks people calculate their "value" on the "Indian marriage market" according to measures such as family status, and that arranged marriages typically united spouses who often didn't love each other. She suggested love was out of place in this world because it risked passion and "sordid" sexual liaisons. Love, as she sees it, is "Waking up in the morning and thinking about someone." Writer Jennifer Marshall described the wife in an arranged marriage as living in a world of solitude without much happiness, and feeling pressured by relatives to conceive a son so she wouldn't be considered as "barren" by her husband's family; in this sense, the arranged marriage didn't bring "love, happiness, and companionship." Writer Vijaysree Venkatraman believes arranged marriages are unlikely to disappear soon, commenting in his book review of Shoba Narayan's Monsoon Diary, which has a detailed description of the steps involved in a present-day arranged marriage. There are indications that even the institution of arranged marriages is changing, with marriages increasingly being arranged by "unknown, unfamiliar sources" and less based on local families who know each other. Writer Lavina Melwani in Little India compared Indian marriages to business deals:
My boyfriend and I, both 22, met at school. He is Caucasian from an upper-middle-class family; I'm a minority from a lower-middle-class family. After college, I immediately found a position as a server, held out for an internship that valued my education, and got a regular babysitting job to help support myself and begin saving. He expected a permanent higher-level position immediately and turned down a six-month, full-time paid internship. While I was at work, he would send out applications and wait for me to come home or go on adventures with friends. I was jealous of his time with our friends—and then felt selfish for feeling that way. He is now working for his family business, and I have a nine-to-five job, so we still don't see each other until night, when we are both exhausted. I feel I have lost the spark I had for him when we were in school, and I want it back.
Group dating takes place when two or more couples agree to share an outing together. The advantages of this kind of date include an informal atmosphere with less pressure on each participant. In particular, men and women who tend to be shy can benefit from this type of meeting. They can become acquainted with someone they are interested in while enjoying the company of friends who are already in an established relationship.
Young persons are exposed to many in their high schools or secondary schools or college or universities. There is anecdotal evidence that traditional dating—one-on-one public outings—has declined rapidly among the younger generation in the United States in favor of less intimate sexual encounters sometimes known as hookups (slang), described as brief sexual experiences with "no strings attached", although exactly what is meant by the term hookup varies considerably. Dating is being bypassed and is seen as archaic, and relationships are sometimes seen as "greedy" by taking time away from other activities, although exclusive relationships form later. Some college newspapers have decried the lack of dating on campuses after a 2001 study was published, and conservative groups have promoted "traditional" dating. When young people are in school, they have a lot of access to people their own age, and do not need tools such as online websites or dating services. Chinese writer Lao Wai, writing to homeland Chinese about America, considered that the college years were the "golden age of dating" for Americans, when Americans dated more than at any other time in their life. There are indications people in their twenties are less focused on marriage but on careers
“Courtship” is the old fashioned name of this type of dating. During a courtship period, couples are allowed to gets to know each other. The main purpose is to decide whether they should get married or not. Most of the time dating is informal and private. Some time it also has been seen families or community is involved. Most of the cases, a commitment for an exclusive relationship with the other person is there to make this decision.
People over thirty, lacking the recency of a college experience, have better luck online finding partners. Economist Sylvia Ann Hewlett in 2002 found that 55% of 35-year-old career women were childless, while 19% of male corporate executives were, and concluded that "the rule of thumb seems to be that the more successful the woman, the less likely it is she will find a husband or bear a child."
From about 1700 a worldwide movement perhaps described as the "empowerment of the individual" took hold, leading towards greater emancipation of women and equality of individuals. Men and women became more equal politically, financially, and socially in many nations. Women eventually won the right to vote in many countries and own property and receive equal treatment by the law, and these changes had profound impacts on the relationships between men and women. Parental influence declined. In many societies, individuals could decide—on their own—whether they should marry, whom they should marry, and when they should marry. A few centuries ago, dating was sometimes described as a "courtship ritual where young women entertained gentleman callers, usually in the home, under the watchful eye of a chaperone," but increasingly, in many Western countries, it became a self-initiated activity with two young people going out as a couple in public together. Still, dating varies considerably by nation, custom, religious upbringing, technology, and social class, and important exceptions with regards to individual freedoms remain as many countries today still practice arranged marriages, request dowries, and forbid same-sex pairings. Although in many countries, movies, meals, and meeting in coffeehouses and other places is now popular, as are advice books suggesting various strategies for men and women, in other parts of the world, such as in South Asia and many parts of the Middle East, being alone in public as a couple with another person is not only frowned upon but can even lead to either person being socially ostracized.