How to Outwit Online Dating
Glo's writer looks at the algorithms of matchmaking in the digital age
Most online dating sites essentially do the same thing—except with men. For example, OkCupid suggests possible matches based on your site behavior and your answers to a series of random, largely inconsequential questions: Do you chew gum? Do you like beer? What is your opinion on Wal-Mart? The results make little use of the old wisdom that opposites attract. Instead, the algorithm presents you with a narrow range of choices, and each choice reflects, in some respect, just another shade of you: Self-Deprecating, Socially Awkward Quasi-Hipsters. Closet Nerds With Reasonably Good Taste in Brunch. This gets more severe when you move off general-interest sites and onto one of the narrower, niche dating sites—Tall Friends or Veggie Connection or Liberal Hearts—all of which do in fact exist.
There are a lot of benefits to this approach, which no doubt has something to do with the growing number of couples meeting online (one in six, according to a recent survey by market research company The Wedding Report). What's more, a number of peer-reviewed studies show that similarity is one of the most important predicators for a successful relationship. Take one paper from the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, which tracked how satisfied couples felt about their relationships. Conclusion: Similar people feel the same way about their emotional experiences. So compatibility, at least to some extent, relies on shared traits.
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