Since the last post for the solsticesisters’ series about online dating, I’ve been busy preparing and conducting the next set of interviews. It’s taking much longer than planned, but I’m going to make it happen this week. In the meantime, I want to share highlights from an article I read this week in the September 2012 issue of Scientific American Mind. The article, “Dating In A Digital World,” is written by not one author or even two—but five. For some reason I find this fact humorous. Maybe it’s because I’m somewhat sleep deprived from trying to hang out all weekend like a teenager. Cupcake baking, bowling, and baseball will do this to you. Moving on…Perhaps I’m amused by the backhanded slap that Markus Frind, CEO of plentyoffish.com (pof), gave the authors, Eli J. Finkel, Ph.D. and Benjamin R. Karney, Ph. D., for their article published in The New York Times back in February 2012.
Both Finkel and Karney are Professors of Social Psychology, and they definitely seem to hit a nerve with Frind by questioning the effectiveness of online dating sites such as pof. Frind goes after them for this, but his claim to be able to predict who you are most likely to date and what week your relationship will end if you do actually enter one and it is unstable seems over the top to me. You can read Frind’s blog post for yourself and draw your own conclusions.
Let’s get on to key points that these psychologists (Finkel, Karney, and others) make and tips you can use to enhance your own online dating experience.
4 Expert Tips For Online Dating
- You have more opportunity to meet someone beyond your current social circle by using an online dating site. On the other hand, when you have too many options, it can be overwhelming and prevent you from making a decision. It’s wise to view and compare a limited number of profiles at one time in order to manage the process better.
- Browsing a large number of profiles can cause you to focus on the most obvious qualities—physical appearance, education, income—and not those that help to determine compatibility. In fact, psychologists say that we can’t predict what we will find attractive when we actually meet a person. It’s best to stay open-minded about who you might find to be attractive.
- Based on 2008 studies, most matched couples meet face-to-face within a month. If you sense that you like someone, then initiate communication or respond to their effort to reach out to you. Don’t play hard to get.
- Online dating services that use some sort of algorithm are fairly good at screening out people who they refer to as “relationally challenged.” However, these psychologists say there is no “scientifically compelling evidence” that the algorithms really work. Knowing more about the limitations can help you use online dating sites more effectively.
Reference: Finkel, Eli J., Paul W. Eastwick, Benjamin R. Karney, Harry T. Reis, and Susan Sprecher. “Dating In A Digital World.” Scientific American Mind September 2012: 26 – 33.