The Love Lost Generation: The Problem with On-line Dating and Choice.Love-lost genration? Sadly we are more confused than ever. Our cave life made it all much simpler. A hundred possbile dates? Are you kidding?
GF Becca calls. Disgusted with on-line dating- too much time, too much work, too little results. Is she alone? Hardly. The industry calls it "one of the best tools," but unfortunately our cave brains see it as a massive stimulus overload. You just have too many choices! It might seem great to have hundreds of potential matches but then again our mind plays some tricks with all that information. First, it gives us a false sense of confidence that we are in more control than we are. Then we make the next mistake, thinking we have control we maximize our pay-off. So when Becca saw Tom, a heart surgeon who took a liking to her pic, she chose him—Not for nothing but Becca is a cocktail waitress and wouldn't know an artery from an arterial.
What she doesn’t know is that our brains get irritated when we are faced with too much choice. Oh how we hate to be wrong, indecisive and leave tings to chance. So she makes her contact. Now her brain decides to screw her over again—she becomes convinced they are destined. She goes back to his profile and works over all the reasons they are a couple. We call it post-decision dissonance and without all the science gab, it's a way that we make ourselves feel better after we make a choice. We feel more confident. Those dating sites know this. They know you might do all the things that Becca did and that's why they give you certain information and then smack it with a percentage. He was 97% her match. For the next day she read, reread and presumed that they had everything in common. Now effort- justification kicks in. What's that? It's when we amp up our confidence that our efforts are well-justified. After all, she spent two solid days filling our questionnaires and another weekend responding to questions and queries. Our minds don't like to think our efforts are worthless and Becca was absolutely convinced that there was a pay-off in there for her. Of course her mind filled in all the gaping pot-holes in her path—after all with hundreds of choices and a 97% match, what could go wrong? Plenty.
The date was a disaster. He, like 67% of men use on-line dating as a hook-up tool. After plying her with gin he proceeded to tell her about his other vein—She bolted from the restaurant.
But even if that last scenario didn't happen all that choice lends us to experience some big disappointment. So what can you do? First you just learned something about how thinking can undermine our efforts. However in the next weeks I'll set out some great rules that can help in maximizing on-line dating efforts.
For more information: Online Dating: A Critical Analysis From the Perspective of Psychological Science, by Eli J. Finkel, Paul W. Eastwick, Benjamin R. Karney, Harry T. Reis, and Susan Sprecher