Online Dating: You’re doing it wrong

A friend of mine recently got dumped by his girlfriend. It happens. They were together for a year and a half, but he had already bought a house and she wanted to move for work sometime in the next two years. They figured it was easiest to just break up now. So long. Goodbye.

He decided it was time to get back into the dating world. No– not the world of going out and joining a new club or hitting the bars; instead he took the weekend to get back on dating apps like Tinder, Bumble, and OKCupid. So millennial of him. But that’s how we meet new people now! Not everyone, of course. Rather than hitting on somebody in your friend group (too awkward if you get rejected) or asking a stranger out (omg so creepy), most people go online. That’s the plus of online dating– the presumption that you’re both available and looking for love has been established. There is little consequence to rejection, and the ice is already broken for you. It’s like falling into a four-foot deep frozen pond: You wish your friends would help you out, but they just enjoy watching you suffer.

Yeah, that’s Chris. He’s been single for three years now. It’s pretty pathetic, but I love watching him hit on girls. Plus, he’s my only unmarried friend which means he’s my ticket to Tuesday night happy hour. 

I recently read* Aziz Ansari’s book, Modern Romance, which details today’s online dating experience. I told my friend to pick it up if that’s the avenue he’s choosing. Though online dating is rapidly evolving, the 1-year-old book makes good points about how our dating habits have changed since our parents were the ones doing all the dating. (Although with the divorce rate as high as it is, there’s a 50/50 chance your parents are still dating more than you.)

His book makes too many points for me to address, but I’ll detail three of them that I found interesting:

  1. The biggest difference in today’s dating world is the amount of options available to us. Not the increase in population – the amount of people we can be in contact with at any time. A greater number of options seems to negatively correlate with happiness. Especially in cities. Not only does every gorgeous stranger on public transportation make you question your relationship, but Tinder in big cities is an endless swipe-hole of hotties that you could theoretically upgrade to faster than you can get Comcast to show up at your house.
  2. Studies have shown that people who go on more dates with one person or the same few people are happier than those who go on a ton of first dates. Basically, you get in what you put out.
  3. When you do go on a first date with a stranger you met online, do something neither of you are familiar with. You’re more likely to form a bond that way. Bonus points if it’s something that involves problem-solving or puts you out of your comfort zone. Like a Room Escape Adventure. (Groupon is littered with them)

 

Ironically, my friend and his now-ex met on OKCupid. Go figure. Pick up Aziz’s book if you’re into analyzing the stuff we do every day without thinking.

*listened to the audio book. Modern reading for modern romance.