Ep 12: Dating, Amazon.com Style
“Online dating is a full-time job”. Said by a friend of mine, a good-looking, conscious, kind man with a great job and great income. An “eligible bachelor”, if I ever met one.
This episode is about dating, with special emphasis on online dating. There are a lot of cool things about online dating, and likewise a lot of challenges and pitfalls which translates to frustration and heartache for singles looking to create relationships — perhaps you’ve been there?
Some of the amazing benefits about online dating:
- It’s easier than ever to find people to meet and date. You can literally do it from anywhere, anytime.
- You can filter through vast numbers of potential partners, and thus get to have a look a many more potentials than would have been humanly possible in the past.
- You might meet your soulmate in ways that would have never happened in the past, because an online service or app find that person for you
- If you’re kinda shy or reluctant to “get out there” on the dating scene, online dating can be an easier way to get started, to put your toe in the water, so to speak.
- It can be a fun and simple way to just find a date for Friday night, wherever you are located.
If you look up “online dating statistics”, you’ll find all kinds of interesting material.
For example, on eHarmony’s website, you can read that …
- 50% of the US population consists of single adults. That means it’s never the case that there aren’t enough good men or women out there for you to be in relationship with. “There are no good men or women out there” is basically a lame excuse, along the lines of “I didn’t have time”.
- 40 million Americans use online dating. Same comments as above:)
- 53% of people lie on their online dating profile, particularly about their age, height, weight, and income. Which we’re trying to make our own “product” look better than we think it it.
- 20% of committed relationship started online, and 7% of marriages in 2015 were between couples that met online.
That last stat is important, because it tells you that online dating is only one – and not the most important – way to meet people.
Please remember that until 20 years ago, there was no online dating, period, and people still met, dated, fell in love, and got married. So in case you’re not enjoying your online dating experience, and you opt not to use that method, you can still meet, date, and find the love of your life.
The stat about how 53% of people lie on their profiles illustrate one of the main difficulties with online dating. Actually this is an issue with dating in general, but greatly exacerbated by online dating.
The issue is what I call Dating, Amazon.com Style. We go dating online like we shop for products on Amazon. We quickly scan the photo, then the product specs and details, and buy it or not. It’s normal we’re scrolling through hundreds of items before we choose one.
The sheer number of potential dates gives rise to profile fatigue, or as one of my friends called it, indecision overwhelm. It’s the same thing that happens when you to the supermarket to buy peanut butter, jam, or bread. You are faced with so many options that it’s hard to decide. And studies now show that even when you choose an item, you’re not satisfied with, because you know it’s likely it could have been better.
Same thing happens in online dating. Because we aware how many options there are, and because there is so much information we can sort and filter people by, even when we pick someone to date, it’s hard to get rid of the nagging doubt that we could be – maybe even should be, deserve to be! – with someone who is more loving, sexier, better off, healthier, better looking, and more like us.
We all have a “list” of what we want in a partner. Some write it down, some just have one in their mind, but it’s a list all the same. The list is full of specs, or “must-haves”, criteria by which we sort the potentials. Things like, must love dogs, must be into personal growth, must be vegetarian, must work out, must love traveling, must make $100K a year, must be certain age, and many more.
This list, combined with the ease of scrolling through hundreds of profiles, turn human beings into two-dimensional “products” that seemingly consist of only of a few pictures and some specs. But of course, human beings are so much more complex, deep, rich, and multi-facetted than can be present on a profile.
Just think about your own profile. How well does it tell the full story of who you are as a human being?
You can also be sure that the same way you sift through people, and discard them based on their age, height, looks, income, religion, and interests, is also being done towards you.
Now, it’s not to say it’s a bad thing to have preferences and be looking for someone you are a good match for. It’s just that there’s normally a big difference between what we think we want and what we really want. Sonika & I have been teaching a method to distinguish the two for years. In the entertaining and enlightening book about dating by Aziz Ansari, Modern Romance, he quotes a study for saying, “The kind of partner people said they were looking for didn’t match up with the kind of partner they were actually interested in”.
Some of the things I share for what to instead to make a better dating experience for yourself are …
- Remember online dating is just one – and not the most important – way people meet. If you don’t like it, don’t worry, there’s still hope.
- Seek out people in real life you think might be a good match. If dancing is your biggest passion, go to dance community event and interact with 3D humans. If you’re into spiritual growth, look up Meetup groups in your area that match that interest, and go interact with people there. If it’s important to you to find someone who’s a good communicator and wants to use your relationship for growth and mutual empowering, come to one of our workshops where we do just that (many new couples have happened from singles coming to our courses – we don’t promise that, but your never know:)
- Ditch your list of specs. Or at least loosen your grip on it, and avoid being too quick to discard someone because he’s 10 older or younger, or because she has two kids. If Sonika and I had used dating apps, no algorithm in the world would have matched us up. Sonika’s 15 years older than me, already had two young children, lived 8500 miles away. I wasn’t looking for that. I, on the other hand, was basically starting over in life, had no job or stable income, but significant debt. Not what she was looking for. Not what anyone is looking for, actually.
- Let relationships take time to build. Connection takes time … preferable non-judgmental time, intimate time, time to talk, time to see bot the good and the bad about someone. Trust gets built over time, by going through experiences, joyful ones and tough ones. No one gets a full picture of who you are on the first date, let alone by scrolling through your profile for 7.4 seconds.
- Take the time pressure off the process. A lot of singles create tremendous stress for themselves by having an arbitrary deadline for when “True Love” should happen. The bio-clock is ticking, or I’m turning 50, or I’ve already been single for ten years, so I got no time to waste. The deadline makes it very hard to relax and show up in a good mood for dating. Make it ok that it won’t happen tomorrow, while trusting that you’ll find what you want.
There’s much more in the podcast … hope this is helpful, and I’m rooting for your enjoyable dating experience.