High-Level Thoughts

A fun and informative look at modern dating culture. Nothing that “new,” persay, but having it presented by Aziz makes it fun. Their data is interesting too.

Summary Notes

“We each sit alone, staring at this black screen with a whole range of emotions. But in a strange way, we are all doing it together, and we should take solace in the fact that no one has a clue what’s going on.”

“We want something that’s very passionate, or boiling, from the get-go. In the past, people weren’t looking for something boiling; they just needed some water. Once they found it and committed to a life together, they did their best to heat things up. Now, if things aren’t boiling, committing to marriage seems premature. But searching for a soul mate takes a long time and requires enormous emotional investment. The problem is that this search for the perfect person can generate a lot of stress. Younger generations face immense pressure to find the “perfect person” that simply didn’t exist in the past when “good enough” was good enough.”

“Since our expectations are so high, today people are quick to break things off when their relationship doesn’t meet them (touch the hair, no boner). Cherlin would also like me to reiterate that this hair/ boner analogy is mine and mine alone.”

“Marriage was an economic institution in which you were given a partnership for life in terms of children and social status and succession and companionship. But now we want our partner to still give us all these things, but in addition I want you to be my best friend and my trusted confidant and my passionate lover to boot, and we live twice as long. So we come to one person, and we basically are asking them to give us what once an entire village used to provide: Give me belonging, give me identity, give me continuity, but give me transcendence and mystery and awe all in one. Give me comfort, give me edge. Give me novelty, give me familiarity. Give me predictability, give me surprise. And we think it’s a given, and toys and lingerie are going to save us with that.”

“…the muscles in our brain that help us with spontaneous conversation are getting less exercise in the text-filled world, so our skills are declining.”

“It made me wonder whether our ability and desire to interact with strangers is another muscle that risks atrophy in the smartphone world. You don’t need to make small talk with strangers when you can read the Beverly Hills, 90210 Wikipedia page anytime you want. Honestly, what stranger can compete with a video that documents the budding friendship of two baby hippopotamuses? No one, that’s who.”

“As a medium, it’s safe to say, texting facilitates flakiness and rudeness and many other personality traits that would not be expressed in a phone call or an in-person interaction.”

““After I left he texted me, ‘Hi [name redacted], this is [first name, last name], we’re going on a date.’ His confidence, straightforwardness, and refreshingly gentlemanly approach (vs. skirting around ‘lets hang out some time’) made for an incredible first impression and had a lasting effect.””

Good texting:

  • A firm invitatoin to something specific at a specific time
  • A throwback to something that happened in a previous interaction
  • A humorous tone

There is no official guidebook anywhere on texting yet, but a cultural consensus has slowly formed in regard to texts. Some basic rules:

  • Don’t text back right away. You come off like a loser who has nothing going on.
  • If you write to someone, don’t text them again until you hear from them.
  • The amount of text you write should be of a similar length to what the other person has written to you.
  • Carrying this through, if your messages are in blue and the other person’s messages are green, if there is a shit ton more blue than green in your conversation, this person doesn’t give a shit about you.
  • The person who receives the last message in a convo WINS!

“However, the women were most attracted to the “uncertain” group. They also later reported thinking about the “uncertain” men the most. When you think about people more, this increases their presence in your mind, which ultimately can lead to feelings of attraction.”

Online Dating:

  • “Now, those results are not very surprising, but what’s weird is that men actually fare better when they are not smiling and are looking away from the camera. Whereas women did worse when they didn’t make eye contact, for guys, looking away was much more effective. This seems really counterintuitive. These are good photos? What are they looking at?”
  • “Oddly enough, for men the most effective photos are ones with animals, followed by showing off muscles (six-packs, etc.), and then photos showing them doing something interesting. Outdoor, drinking, and travel photos were the least effective photo types.”
  • “Most intriguing to me, though, was when Rudder looked at the data of what photos led to the best conversations. Whereas “cleavage” shots of women got 49 percent more new contacts per month than average, the images that resulted in the most conversation showed people doing interesting things. Sometimes faces didn’t even need to appear. A guy giving a thumbs-up while scuba diving. A woman standing in a barren desert. A woman playing a guitar. These photos revealed something deeper about their interests or their lives and led to more meaningful interactions.”
  • “If you are a guy, take a shot of yourself holding your puppy while both of you are spelunking.”
  • “Laurie Davis, author of Love at First Click and an online dating consultant, advises her clients to exchange a maximum of six messages before meeting off-line.”

Choice and Options:

  • “That’s the thing about the Internet: It doesn’t simply help us find the best thing out there; it has helped to produce the idea that there is a best thing and, if we search hard enough, we can find it. And in turn there are a whole bunch of inferior things that we’d be foolish to choose.”
  • “In one of our subreddit threads we asked people to tell us about their best first dates, and it was amazing to see how many involved doing things that are easy and accessible but require just a bit more creativity than dinner and a movie… more interesting dates = more romantic success.”
  • “The couples that did the novel and exciting activities showed a significantly greater increase in relationship quality.”
  • “Initially, we are attracted to people by their physical appearance and traits we can quickly recognize. But the things that really make us fall for someone are their deeper, more unique qualities, and usually those only come out during sustained interactions.”
  • “There’s something uniquely valuable in everyone, and we’ll be much happier and better off if we invest the time and energy it takes to find it.”
  • “Stack the deck in your favor. Go on interesting dates. Follow the “monster truck rally” theory, and do things that are going to help you experience what it’s really like to be with this person.”
  • “We’re better off spending quality time getting to know actual people than spending hours with our devices, seeing who else is out there.”

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