The probability of finding love

The landscape of dating and meeting new people has been upended in the past few years with the introduction of online dating. Popular dating apps like Tinder and Bumble allow people to upload pictures in their profiles to give an impression about themselves, giving people an opportunity to hide physical characteristics they may be insecure about and present an impression that is not always the truth.

Hannah Fry, in her TED Talk, gives some “mathematically verifiable tips for love,” which could help some of these people. In her talk, Fry references an OKCupid study, which says that posting photos we may be insecure about may be the way to go. This way, competition is reduced. In the case of socially accepted “attractive” pictures, some people may choose to swipe left in the fear that they may not get a reply and would be wasting their time. Also, it would reduce competition in that the people who don’t think the person on their screen is attractive wouldn’t send a message anyway. Fry encourages dating app users to upload pictures that show their insecurities, as it doesn’t matter if everyone likes them – just those few right people.

Finding those few people is difficult. It’s important to remember some people don’t even want to put themselves out there. Not only that, but simple criteria like gender, age range, and education lower peoples’ options considerably.

People outside marital relationships may have it even harder. Such individuals tend to be assigned larger workloads, reducing the amount of time they get to spend outside the office. According to a report by the organization Opportunity Now, 25,000 workers found that two-thirds of childless women aged 28 to 40 felt that they were expected to work longer hours.

Another tip Fry gives is based on something called the optimal stopping theory. The theory states that one should reject everyone they meet in the first 37 per cent of their dating life, and then choose the person who is the best they’ve come along so far. One caveat is that, according to the theory, one cannot choose one of the partners they previously rejected or have a chance to see the partners that they could have dated in the future.

Although finding a long-term partner is important for many individuals, people who are happy are not necessarily always in committed relationships. A study conducted in 2005 stated that “little support was found for the assumption that people with a high level of well-being select themselves into more committed relationships.” In a monogamous society, such as our own, there is a lot of pressure on people to decide without being able to discover many choices or having a look at the broader picture. Finding a partner is not easy for anyone. Neither is choosing one, yet our society makes loneliness into a personal flaw.

I wish I could end with a positive romantic message, but the truth is relationships are tricky, and way too complex to generalise into one phrase.

Be careful, love yourself, and enjoy the ones you have right now.

Image credit: Andrew Avdeev via Unsplash 

Related News

One Response

Leave a Reply
  1. Fernando Ardenghi
    Feb 22, 2018 - 05:06 PM

    The key to long-lasting romance: COMPATIBILITY is STRICT PERSONALITY SIMILARITY and not “meet other people with similar interests”.

    At the paper “Perceptions of Ideal and Former Partners’ Personality and Similarity”
    The authors had written
    “…. mismatches in personality are a frequently mentioned cause for relationship break-up. If former partners indeed have dissimilar personalities, our findings underline how difficult it is for many people to select a mate with a similar personality, or, alternatively, how little value individuals put on finding a similar partner in terms of personality.
    The present study’s results, as well as the results found in previous studies (e.g., Eastwick & Finkel, 2008), may be used to educate people, especially singles, about what really matters in long-term relationships, for instance, similarity in personality, instead of complementarity.”

    Online Dating sites have very big databases, in the range of 20,000,000 (twenty million) profiles, so the Big Five model or the HEXACO model are not enough for predictive purposes. That is why I suggest the 16PF5 test instead and another method to calculate similarity.

    Breaking “the online dating sound barrier” is to achieve at least:
    3 most compatible persons in a 100,000 persons database.
    12 most compatible persons in a 1,000,000 persons database.
    48 most compatible persons in a 10,000,000 persons database.
    100 times better than Compatibility Matching Algorithms used by actual online dating sites!

    High precision in matching algorithms is precisely the key to open the door and leave the infancy of compatibility testing.
    Without offering the NORMATIVE 16PF5 (or similar test measuring exactly the 16 personality factors) for serious dating, it will be impossible to innovate and revolutionize the Online Dating Industry.


Leave a Reply to Fernando Ardenghi Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The Student Newspaper 2016