By joining an online dating community you get the opportunity to shop for people.
You browse photos, read profiles, communicate in forums, chat rooms, instant messages and send and receive e-mails.
With online dating you are afforded a great deal of information gathering resources to help you determine who may be compatible for you.
You can move at your own pace and initiate contact when you are ready. If someone does attempt to pressure you, you have the option of "blocking" that person or reporting him/her to the webmaster.
Whether you meet someone online or in a supermarket, you strike up a conversation, decide if the person is an intellectual fit, decide whether or not you're attracted to him/or and then decide if you want to further the relationship based on the information you've seen and heard thus far.
Some who have been willing to try online dating have experienced success, fallen in love and even gotten married to the person they met using an internet dating service.
Yet, others have horror stories to tell about the person(s) they met online and/or later in person.