Study: Online dating no better than meeting someone in a bar

"Supermarkets of love," like OkCupid, could provide too many options.

In case you weren’t already totally discouraged about Valentine’s Day approaching when you have no one to share it with and find yourself wondering whether you ever will, here’s some news: Online dating doesn’t work — at least, not any better than randomly meeting someone in a bar, which is precisely what you wanted to avoid when you joined a dating site in the first place. Yay!

A group of psychology professors released research that claims all those little quizzes you take and questions you answer for your online dating profile do little more to help you meet a match than walking up to a stranger across the bar.  Basically, while the algorithm of dating sites may help narrow the field
of potential partners, two people matched have as good a shot at being
compatible as
two people meeting at random.

“Eighty years of relationship science has reliably shown you can’t predict whether a relationship succeeds based on information about people who are unaware of each other,” Northwestern University psychology professor Eli Finkel told Reuters.

“The assumption is they work. We reviewed the literature and feel safe to conclude they do not,” he added.

Then come the endless “matches” whose profiles you’re then forced to pour over in search of someone athletic, smart, rich, and tall enough for you on sites like OkCupid and eHarmony. It’s that very leg work that overwhelms online daters, giving them a sense of hopelessness, making the entire process pointless.

Finkel dismissed the claims of dating sites that studies prove their success, saying their methods are unscientific. He said there was no real objective data-driven studies of online dating. His research is set to be published in journal Psychological Science in the Public Interest.

“There’s no better way to figure out whether you’re compatible with somebody than talking to them over a cup of coffee or a pint of beer,” Finkel said.

(Sigh) Good luck, everyone.


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