Will you spot the love of your life at first sight?
In today’s world, you almost HAVE to.
You’ve only got a fraction of a second to swipe before it’s onto the next profile.
If your dating instincts aren’t spot-on, you might pass over The One and never realize it.
Isn’t it disheartening to think that you may have ALREADY SEEN the ideal guy…
But, because his profile wasn’t great or you weren’t paying attention, you missed your chance to meet him?
Dating often relies on split-second judgments.
You’ve already decided whether there’s potential from the instant you see a guy. You don’t need an hour of lengthy first-date conversation.
But those decisions aren’t always right…
A guy that seemed great at first can turn out to be terrible.
A guy who didn’t impress you at first can grow on you.
(One study found that it takes an average of 6 months to decide if someone is marriage material!)
How can you make better decisions, so you don’t let The One slip away?
Look Out for Noise
If you looked at a man’s profile today and decided you weren’t interested…
Would you still feel the same way if you looked at that same profile in a few months?
Or maybe you’ve had the experience of meeting a man socially who didn’t interest you…
Only to bump into him months later and realize he’s actually quite cool.
How can that be?
Surely, given the same information about someone, you would always come to the same conclusion about them.
But our minds don’t work that way.
Seemingly irrelevant factors influence our decision-making.
We make different decisions when we’re in a good mood versus a bad one. (Ever noticed you’re more likely to agree to a date when you’re feeling good about yourself?)
We make different decisions when we’re hungry compared to when we’re full. We even make different decisions when the weather is sunny versus cloudy!
This is called occasion noise…
And you need to understand how it’s affecting your dating decisions.
The Science of Noise
Nobel prizewinning psychologist Daniel Kahneman studies the way we make decisions.
He’s found that we’re not as good at making decisions as we think we are.
We’re misled by a number of factors, including what he calls noise, or unwanted variability in decision-making.
Surely, if your goal is to spot the ideal man, you want to be able to come to the correct decision about him based on the information you have.
You don’t want your decision about him to be influenced by whether you’re sitting down or standing!
But that’s the kind of invisible factor that influences the judgments we make.
In classic speed dating events, women sit at a table while men rotate the room. Generally, women at these events are much pickier than men. They show interest in only about a third of the men they meet, while men show interest in half the women they meet.
Researchers decided to shake things up. They asked men to sit down. Women had to rotate the room. Now the men acted pickier, while the women showed more interest.
Think about what you tend to do during social events. Do you tend to sit at a table and hope that men will approach you? If so, you may find yourself attracted to fewer men than if you were standing up and mingling.
Noisy First Impressions
Imagine you’ve gone out on a date with a guy who seems great.
At the end of the date, he tells you something that would normally be a deal-breaker. He lives at home with his parents, or he’s never had a relationship longer than 6 months. Will you still give him a chance?
Now back up in time and imagine a different scenario.
You’ve just met this guy. In the first few minutes of conversation, he tells you that he still lives at home, or he can’t hold down a relationship. Do you write him off there and then, before you have a chance to get to know him better?
In an ideal world, no matter WHEN you learn that information about him, it should affect your decision-making in the same way.
But it doesn’t.
You’re more likely to write him off if you learn something off-putting about him earlier rather than later.
What Can You Do?
This is just the tip of the iceberg.
So many factors affect our dating decisions that we can’t control for them all.
We may never know if we’re swiping left because this person isn’t our type or just because we’re in a bad mood and in need of a snack.
But one thing you can do to improve your accuracy is revisit your decisions.
Let some time pass, and then see if you’d make the same decision again.
Periodically go back through the online dating matches you previously discarded (if the app allows you to do this) and see if you still feel the same way.
Give yourself the chance to change your mind. You don’t want to pass by Mr. Right!