How to Date Successfully on Online Dating Sites
Twenty years ago, almost no couple met online, but now online dating has become the second most common way to find a partner, slightly less than a friend. In short, online dating sites have fundamentally changed the nature of dating.
However, these changes are not all constructive. Online dating implies some key assumptions. One hypothesis is that people are good judges of what attracts them to the quality of online profiles. The second premise is that comparing multiple potential dates side by side can effectively assess which is best for you. The third premise is that people can make informed decisions about their future relationships when there are multiple choices. But several scientific studies suggest that these assumptions may be at odds with reality.
Understanding the psychology behind online dating properly can help you avoid bad experiences and reap the rewards of love. Romantic relationships can start anywhere. Whether you're at church or school, playing chess or softball, chatting with your friends' friends at a party, or thinking on a train, you could get shot by Cupid's arrow. Sometimes, however, Cupid takes a vacation, takes a nap or relaxes by watching a few movies on TV. Rather than expect this less-than-reliable shooter to return to work, people are increasingly joining online dating sites in the hope of gaining control of their love lives.
In today's western world, people meet romantic partners mostly on their own, a process that takes a lot of time, energy and emotional power. If the opportunity to find a date is available online, single people can have a degree of control over the seemingly random process and access to hundreds or even thousands of profiles of the right person.
The advent of online dating sites has provided unprecedented opportunities for people to find partners outside their social circles and surrounding neighborhoods, an industry now worth billions of dollars. The way most online dating websites work today is that users first create their profiles and then search for potential dates in towns or cities based on different criteria, such as education levels, age ranges, and religious beliefs. Some dating sites act as matchmakers, using proprietary algorithms to advise users on matching, while others give users complete freedom of choice. According to our most optimistic estimates, online dating networks will generate 20 to 25 percent of new couples this year.
The disconnect between these assumptions of online dating and the psychological characteristics of human reality often leads to dissatisfaction among users. Users may spend dozens of hours a month browsing other people's profiles but rarely make a real appointment. They may have contacted dozens of users, but received only a small number of responses. They may date someone whose profile is close to perfect, only to find that they have no feelings for each other. For online daters, we next offer a survival guide. For others, it's possible to probe the human psyche by looking at the way dating is done today.
1, Limits for oneself
On dating sites, people seem to be only one click away from romantic love, so users tend to browse through dozens of profiles before dismissing them with arrogance. We all value choice, but too many choices can lead to selection overload and reduce our ability to make informed decisions. In one famous example, shoppers at a supermarket came to a tasting stall with two sets of booths displaying six and 44 flavors of jam, respectively. Shoppers were 10 times more likely to buy jam from the former than from the latter, although they were more likely to stay ahead of a wider display of the variety of jam than from a less selected stand. In other words, more choice makes them more indecisive.
Similarly to the above example, several studies on relationships have shown that the increasing amount of personal data viewed on dating sites can be overwhelming. In a recent study, two groups of subjects viewed the profiles of four or 20 online dating site users. People who read more are more likely to misremember information from their profiles. In the second experiment, as the number of profiles viewed increased from four to 24 to 64, the participants gradually changed their strategies. At first, they would browse and integrate multiple pieces of information, which would take a long time. Later, they would only look at a few elements for convenience, and they did not combine the information effectively.
No one has yet looked at how satisfied users of online dating sites are with the choices they make when faced with large or small amounts of personal data. But other studies have shown that having so many options can lead to low satisfaction with the final choice. For example, subjects who chose one of six chocolates rated the taste significantly higher than those who chose one of more than 30 chocolates. By the same token, dating site users who choose from a small group of potential romantic partners are more likely to appreciate their date for a candlelit dinner than those who choose from a large group.
Overcoming these cognitive biases is difficult, but not impossible. Pay attention to how many people you check each time you visit the site and remember to set a time limit. View your profile in a manageable category and consider selecting one for every 20 users to connect with. Keep in mind that each profile is a real person, with nuance and depth that are not reflected in online profiles.
2, Watch mentality
Looking for a partner through different channels, people also tend to evaluate the prospects of a romantic relationship in different ways. Many studies outside the field of romantic psychology have shown that when people compare multiple juxtapositions, their priorities tend to differ from those when they independently evaluate specific events. The former is called the joint evaluation mentality, and the latter is called the independent evaluation mentality.
A study of college freshmen explored this difference in dorm allocation. Most students care more about physical features, such as the location of buildings and the size of rooms, before they know which of the 12 dormitories they will be randomly assigned to. In fact, none of these attributes ultimately affected their satisfaction with the dormitory. On the contrary, some experiential factors, such as the relationship with roommates and the social atmosphere in the dormitory, outweigh any physical factors in the dormitory.
One explanation for the discrepancy between expectations and reality is that most freshmen are in the joint evaluation mindset when they envision dormitory life, while those who live in the assigned dormitory are in the independent evaluation mindset. Before moving into the dorm, they were more sensitive to insignificant physical differences, simply because they were easy to determine. Browsing the profiles of potential romantic partners can also lead to a joint opinion mindset and lead users to overestimate some easily visible elements that are less likely to determine whether they are compatible with each other. In fact, your profile is full of details that are often easily discernible but have little to do with boosting your relationships or happiness. For example, profiles can be used to easily assess education levels and physical attractiveness, but factors such as attractiveness and agreeableness need to be assessed face to face.
Conducting a joint assessment also strengthens the so-called assessment mindset and undermines the action mindset. People in an appraisal mindset critically evaluate a particular option based on available alternatives. People in an action mindset focus on specific options, such as an ideal partner, and aggressively pursue goals. To be sure, all dates involve some degree of assessment. However, in the face of countless website user data, the comparison of the evaluation one by one will lead to a strong evaluation mentality for all users, while the action mentality for a specific user is relatively weak.
One way to get out of this problematic mindset is to take a moment to imagine what it would be like to talk face to face with the person in the profile. Mentally simulating a social interaction may make people less demanding, but more proactive in thinking about ways to get along with each other. As with dealing with selection overload, don't waste time comparing someone's profile to too many people.
3, Extensive connection
Research shows that online daters tend to set their goals too high. They connect with the obvious favorites more often than others. In the offline world, people don't all go out to find someone attractive. In online dating, this happens because these people don't know how much attention their date has received. Those who were pursued by more than one person were the least likely to reply to an email, with the result that both the pursued and the pursued were frustrated.
The question seems to stem from an attitude users take, intentionally or unintentionally, when browsing dating sites. In a 2010 study, Rebecca Heino of Georgetown University and colleagues described online dating as a "purchase on relationships."The metaphor is appropriate. Like searching for 42-size shoes on shopping, online daters search profiles based on attributes such as income and hair color, seeking a dating partner, rather than factors that might be more important, such as a sense of humor or rapport. One user of the dating site described this "shopping mentality"," you know, 'I'm going to pick her, her and her' - it's like picking products from a catalog."Another user agreed:" I can pick and choose. It's like buying a car, depending on which option I'm searching for."
The shopping mentality suggests that we don't know ourselves in love. In one experiment, participants evaluated the profiles of online daters and became more interested in people whose profiles had been artificially modified to match their particular preferences. However, after a short live interaction, the subjects became less interested in the "ideal" subjects. Through these experiments, we come to several conclusions. First, users of dating sites are generally attracted to the same people.
In addition, users are not good at predicting who they like in real life. Finally, these trends are made all the more apparent by the fact that daters' profiles are so readily available that people evaluate potential dates in vain. Instead of reaching out to "on paper" to find the ideal candidate, look for unique features that will appeal to some people but not others. More importantly, get rid of your reliance on your personal data as soon as possible, and don't expect to get too much out of it in the first place. Keep an open mind about who you like and who will like you in the end.
4, Communication by heart
Online dating sites have simple contact methods for users to communicate with their dates, such as in-site email and online chat. In fact, prospective daters must use one of these methods before jumping into a personal email account or calling the other person. If communication goes well, the other person will generally agree to meet as soon as possible.
Unfortunately, many of the communications did not follow. One reason for this is that not all of the people who create profiles on dating sites are paying or active users. In addition, users rarely respond when they first receive a contact message, and even when they do, the time interval is long. A recent study showed that men respond to four messages from a dating site, while women respond to six. In addition, the study found that there was no evidence that an eager response would make the other person lose interest. The faster the message gets answered, the more likely it is that the two parties will be able to communicate harmoniously. If you already feel the spark of love, stop putting on AIRS.
Some effort in the initial contact email can also pay off. The researchers analyzed 3657 online dating site users to send 167276 initial email, they found that in an email less use the pronoun "I" and "film" vocabulary related to leisure and entertainment, such as greater use of pronoun "you" and "relationship" and "helpful" vocabulary related to the social communication, to obtain the probability of a response is higher. At this stage, the relationships that have just been established remain fragile. You should decide on a date as soon as possible and don't wait too long. Two studies in 2008 showed that most people meet within a month -- often within a week -- after they start using contacts outside the dating site messaging system. Doing so is sensible, as research shows that while a small amount of email contact or online chat can increase each other's attractiveness, too much E-mail and online chatter can create too much expectation.
Ultimately, people also have to evaluate something face-to-face before a romantic relationship can be established. Scholars are still trying to determine what this stuff really is, but it seems to be a combination of experiential features, emotional interactions, and intuitive assessments. Some emotional responses may even be based on sensory experiences, such as smell, and therefore cannot be obtained in any other way. Meeting in person is also an important fact-checking step before forming an intimate relationship: people are less likely to disguise their observable characteristics in real situations than online communication.