Online dating can feel like a series of diminishing returns where the more you swipe the less you find – but there’s good news in that we know the number of dates you need to go on, statistically speaking, in order to find the right person to give this whole relationship thing a bash.
And that number is nine.
See, online dating services – especially app-swiping ones – play on the same addiction centres of the brain as gambling machines, only these ones have a payout that can include love and/or orgasms and therefore is way better.
Therefore they can drive people to keep on swiping endlessly to see who is out there, according to the expert advice of match.com’s Chief Scientific Advisor Dr Helen Fisher.
She claims that having the endless options that come with dating can actually discourage you from making a decision in case you miss out on something else – what’s called “choice paralysis” – and that you’re better off deliberately limiting the number of dates out upon which you go.
“It’s very known in this community [the dating biz] that the more choices you have the less likely you are to choose anybody,” she told the Sleepwalkers podcast.
And thus she looked at the vast archives of data to which she has access and established the optimal number is to go on nine first dates, and then stop (at least for a while), and try doing follow-up dates with the most compatible person/s from that limited pool.
“So one of the things I say to people is that after you meet nine people, stop and get to know at least one of those people more because all the data show that the more you get to know somebody the more you like them and the more you think they are like you.”
So there you go. Nine first dates, then circle around to the best alternative and see what happens.
And if that doesn’t work… um, take it up with Dr Fisher.