Monday, June 15, 2015

How to Choose a Mate

The latest from the burgeoning science of online dating:
When researchers analyzed characteristics of couples who’d met on OkCupid, they discovered that one-third had matching answers on three surprisingly important questions: “Do you like horror movies?” “Have you ever traveled around another country alone?” and “Wouldn’t it be fun to chuck it all and go live on a sailboat?” OkCupid believes that answers to these questions may have some predictive value, presumably because they touch on deep, personal issues that matter to people more than they realize.
There's something to pondering today when you should be doing something else.

In the interests of real science I should point out that if 1/3 of couples matched on those questions, 2/3 did not, but that's about as good as dating science gets. In the realm of gender stereotyping, there's this:
Women who flirt for the camera or show cleavage are quite successful. Men who look away and don’t smile do better than those who do; women holding animals don’t do well, but men holding animals do. Men did better when shown engaging in an interesting activity.
Actually the main lesson of this article is that online dating doesn't work as well as you might hope, because people screen for the wrong things:
We are horrible at knowing what we want.
In particular, people focus too much on appearance, but then you already knew that, didn't you?

1 comment:

G. Verloren said...

"Dating" itself is a concept and practice that doesn't work terribly well.

As a youth, I found the entire process repulsive, so I opted out. Instead, I simply made friends and had good times with them. Then somehow along the way, I quite naturally and mutually fell in love with one of my good friends, and the rest has been pleasant history.

Many people simply try too hard, I find. Trying to force a relationship is like trying to force a joke or a smile - other people can tell you're trying to hard, and it just makes things awkward for everyone.

People also tend to think and act too selfishly. So many people who date are simply looking for someone else to "make them happy", or to "fix their problems".

But love isn't selfish - quite the opposite in fact. If you truly love someone, you are willing to make substantial personal sacrifices just to make the other person happy - even if that means in the end, you aren't a part of their life. Actual love simply is not about you - it's about the other person.

Really the problem is that everyone wants to be loved, but so few people are willing, or often even able, to properly love others. Even when we want to make sacrifices for others, our own personal needs and failings often get in our way. We get too wrapped up in dealing with our own problems. We are forced to act selfishly out of necessity.

And until we're happy enough and stable enough to be able to set aside our selfishness, it is going to keep us from truly caring for others. A person who is so miserable they have to cling to their selfishness just to get by is unable to love others - in exactly the same way a doctor who is so sick they can't stand is unable to tend to the ill. We must fix our own problems, stand firmly on our own two feet, before we reach out to help others onto theirs.