New study calls BS on online dating--but is it really true?
Online dating might not always be effective, but it does work for some people right? Not really, at least according to newly released research. The study by Smart Scientists investigated whether online dating "promotes better romantic" than traditional offline dating and concluded that the whole technology behind online dating doesn't work--at least not the way you think it does.
Why? The study says that the algorithms used to boil down the compatibility between you and another site user into a certain percentage are not particularly effective. This is largely due to the fact that it's hard to evaluate the compatibility of an individual's personality or values meaningfully through a machine, eseentially making all those EHarmony claims totally BS! As the journal Pyschological Science in the Public Interest puts it:
Because human beings are complicated and multifaceted, two individuals who resemble each other in one way (e.g., they both love big parties) are unlikely to resemble each other in every way (political conservatism, a taste for Ethiopian food, ethnic background, openness to new experiences, etc.). The idea that similarity in general may facilitate successful relationships says nothing at all about which dimensions of similarity should be favored over others.
So basically, a shared Rihanna obsession does not a healthy relationship make.
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Additionally, basing a possible romantic interest off a large pool of "two dimensional displays of information" can lead daters to "objectify potential partners." However, the study does say that having the sheer volume of people to select from is better than having nothing at all and that the algorithms do help eliminate at least the "particular poor relationship partners."
What?! So you mean those blissfully married couples in the Match.com commercials aren't real? My mind is blown! Seriously (insert eye roll here). I guess I appreciate the effort, but it seems like this whole study is just a case of researchers stating the obvious with the added effect of science-y sounding numbers. I mean, of course online dating isn't as effective as those happy ads would have the world believe. And while finding similar interests is important, it's by no means the only relevant factor in finding a relationship.
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Still, that doesn't mean online dating is hopeless. I've never done it (the whole concept sorta scares me) but I know people who have and have found great, long-lasting relationships. I also know people who ended up going on the worst dates of their lives and totally hating the whole experience.
But that's exactly my point! Dating is different for everybody, online and offline, so trying to find love interests according to what science and numbers and algorithms tells you is just kind of pointless. I think people should just do whatever they feel comfortable doing, whether that's going to a bar, joining a club, or logging on. In the end (contrary to every rom-com you've ever seen) it's not at all about how you meet, it's about who you meet.
What do you think? Has online dating worked for you?
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