Looking For Love? You’re Better Off Grabbing a Pint

Looking For Love? You’re Better Off Grabbing a Pint

Have you ever tried online dating sites? Whether it’s e-harmony, match.com, lavalife, or any of the well known dating sites out there, they all work in pretty much the same way. The premise is that you get to see long lists of potential matches based on your own preferences. Their algorithm will, behind the scenes, find out who matches you best. This is done with many parameters like your gender, age, hobbies, activities, and more. But according to a professor who published an article for the Association of Psychological Science, the whole thing is dubious at best. According to his findings, you might as well look for love in a bar.

The basic idea behind online dating is that you’re supposed to have a better selection, a better match, and thus a better chance that your relationship will lead somewhere. Because there’s so many potential users on the site, and the system can use so many characteristics to find out who matches you best, it stands to reason that whoever you end up meeting has a lot more chance to be someone you want to be in a relationship with. But Finkel, an associate professor at Northwestern University, argues that activities and hobbies are a poor way to match people. Instead, he argues that the limited information you see about potential matches on the site doesn’t give a good enough idea, and that talking instead should be the first step. He says: “There’s no better way to figure out whether you’re compatible with somebody than talking to them over a cup of coffee or a pint of beer.”

While he did not conduct any new study, or have access to data from the online sites to know whether the algorithms truly work, Finkel scoffed at the very idea, and says that 8 years of relationship studies tend to show that you can’t predict whether two people will match each other, and it’s far better to go in a coffee shop or a bar and talk to people than rely on online interactions. He also says that many people probably end up giving up when deluged with an endless stream of profiles. The problem of course is that when you meet someone in the real world and talk to them, there’s still no guarantee you will end up matching with them, and liking them. The perfect solution would therefore be a combination of the two. Perhaps if dating sites made it easier to talk with other site users, then Professor Finkel would be more satisfied. Most of the time however, direct interaction is locked behind premium fees because that’s how the sites make their money.

Overall, this all ends up being mostly opinions, since there is no new study here, and no hard data to show either way. As far as anecdotal evidence, there’s plenty of people who meet people online, through dating sites or others, and many who still go to bars or clubs and meet that way. It’s different for every case.

One Response

  1. Cougar Says:

    Terrific post however , I was wanting to know if you could
    write a litte more on this topic? I’d be very grateful if you could elaborate a little bit more. Many thanks!

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