Remember when choices were as simple as “regular latte” or “skinny latte”? These days it’s more like “decaf latte, double shot, caramel syrup, half-soy, half-oat, 180-degrees, no-foam, with a sprinkle of chocolate powder on top”. I’ll have you know that the online dating landscape is not too dissimilar! The challenge these days for many singletons, particularly where dating apps are concerned, is not just about dishonesty, but decision-making as well.
Once upon a time I found dating apps fun and interesting but after using them for a few months, the novelty quickly wore off. Now, I merely see them as tedious and exhausting… it’s like an endless stream of “potentials” along with endless swiping (left), every time I open the apps. While the barrage of choice should make connections easier, it also makes us more picky (and bored apparently!) Whether we’re looking for something better or just completely overlooking. Do we miss a good opportunity when it’s presented right in front of our eyes?
“Maximising” is a term coined by Barry Schwartz, a psychology professor at Swarthmore College and author of “The Paradox of Choice”. Briefly summarised, “maximisers” are those who believe the grass is always greener on the other side. This particular pool of people treat dating and relationships very much like clothing. They might try a few options before committing to the right item, perhaps they’ll stay on the look out “just in case”. Or, if they really can’t decide, it’s possible they’ll end up with 2 similar garments and flit between the two. The only difference is, there’s no refunds or exchanges in the dating world! Have you ever found yourself in this type of situation? I know I have… and I’m talking metaphorically and literally.
I once dated two guys at the same time… Low key lightly entertaining three other potentials just because I could, and it’s my business. Normally I’m someone sticking with one person, at least that way they can have my full attention plus it’s less faffing around.
But for the sake of trying out a new strategy, I decided to run an A/B split test.
Although the two had very different personalities, I found them equally attractive. Guy #1 was the extrovert. In a nutshell I’d describe him as extremely social: well dressed, nicely built, perfect height, loud laugh insured, confident but not cocky. Guy #2 was quite the opposite, totally introverted. Had a whole lot less to say but any time he did speak man will have me like the thinker emoji. Slightly more mature in the mind which was a nice change in comparison to other men I’ve dated previously! A little on the short side, though that didn’t bug me too much, kinda geeky, very generous, thoughtful, well put together and a body on hundred!
After a couple months in, I realised it was getting a bit too much! Multi-dating is honestly so mentally and physically draining. It’s the constant upkeep of texting back and forth trying to maintain several conversations at once. Or managing dates to ensure there are no clashes, getting paranoid in case one guy would see me with the other, the effort of getting dressed up to actually go out on these dates (3-4 times a week!) . All of this while you’re still trying to suss them out. Your mind is always in a pickle about which one to eventually kick to the curb… Not to mention date requests coming in from the other three candidates! Ohh shit. This was a mess. Clearly, it was time to optimise the strategy.
So I did. I ended up getting rid of both Mr. Introvert and Extrovert, followed by deleting all apps from my phone. Truthfully, I was getting bored and felt overwhelmed by the whole dating palaver. I couldn’t be arsed to make a choice and I definitely couldn’t be bothered to go on any more new dates. It was above me, all the unnecessary drama I didn’t need in my life.
What I found particularly interesting about the “A/B test” was the correlation between my handling of the situation and a study discussed in Schwartz’s book. It concluded, while having increased options can be beneficial to a certain point: giving people too much choice would likely cause poor decision making. On top of this, feelings of dissatisfaction, regret, or we become exhausted and make no decision at all! Well that ain’t that something?
If you think about it, it’s not just dating where we might experience over-abundance of options. It happens in everyday life. At restaurants when looking at a menu, down each aisle during grocery shopping, choosing a Netflix film to watch, figuring out which stocks to invest in, etc. Dating apps are great in helping you find someone compatible but as you’re talking to one person, you still have another 78 people in the queue waiting for you to match with them! Do you check them out because… just in case? Do you keep them there as part of your emergency stash? Or do we ignore them and get rid of the apps entirely? The decision is yours my friend.
In my opinion, if you’re someone who is actually serious about making a real connection then the approach with your decision making needs to be adjusted. Here are a few of my suggestions/thoughts:
First of all, if you have multiple dating apps my dear, pick one! *insert screaming emoji* At least this will cut down your swipes and choices.
Second of all, if all you’re already dating/chatting to someone, why not spend the time to get to know them properly before jumping ship? I know you know what I meant by “ship”.
Avoid judging at the first sight and learn to give people the benefit of the doubt.
Finally, let’s stop treating a people as if they’re disposable or some type of commodity. It’s only fair to base a person on his or her own merits and not in comparison to 3, 5 or 10 other people.
Also who have that many A+ date outfits? I don’t know about you but it can’t be me.
Regarding my case, I’ve instantly clicked with someone and things have progressed to a second date then they definitely warrant 100% of my attention.
Now as you read this, the statement above might have changed.
Ladies and gents, I hope I’ve given you some food for thought. I’m keen to know if you’ve ever been a helpless victim of too much choice!
-Damzell in Dating Distress
Credit photo: Oladimeg