Why you’re still single — Dan Ariely

A behavioural economists’ point of view

Dan Ariely, a behavioural economist at Duke University, is famous for being able to breakdown and explain human behaviour, even when it seems irrational. He has also worked with a number of online dating sites. He did a talk at Google to share his insights on why you might still be single.

Short Video

Full Presentation

Watch it here

Key Takeaways

How to design the perfect date?

The end matters the great deal, we remember how something ends more than how it begins. Make sure you end the date on a high note.

How to make discussion more meaningful?

People are bad at telling each other intimate and useful details about who they are. It’s better that you give people 20 questions that help reveal that information because they will always resort to asking simple questions that reveal boring and meaningless information.

What is the point of dating?

The point of a date is to get a glimpse of that person. Some of it comes from direct questioning and answering. But how much can you learn about someone in a slightly non-mediated way? You’d actually understand that person in a better way if you see how they interact with the world. Thinking also about what’s the environment that could maximize how much we’re going to learn about that person is important.

Our perceptions deceive us

When you look things in general terms you only see good things and people only portray their positive side.

Ask your mother not your friends

When we fall in love we are infatuated. It’s hard to tell your friends if you don’t like who they are dating but your mother can see the person without being infatuated. They don’t have an vested interest in the relationship so they are more likely to tell you the truth.

Why do people cheat?

I used to do work for Ashley Madison. I’ll tell you what the CEO thinks, that men don’t have a support group to talk about their relationship. If women have problems in their relationships, they talk to their friends for support. But men don’t have this so they think they need to seek intimate and sexual relationships with women to get this kind of emotional support.

Men and Women have different approaches

Men say yes to everything, they maximize the number of matches possible matches. Whereas women behave like they have a budget — when their group of potential mates gets larger, they are more critical and choosey.

Online Dating vs. Speed Dating

In online dating, people are rejected more. When you go to speed dating, people say yes to more than 20% of the people they meet. 20% is kind of shocking! Why is it? Part of the problem in these apps, we don’t describe people in a way that tells us anything how to consume them. What does it mean to be with that person? Imagine the way we describe the food in restaurants by their ingredients. number of protein and vitamins. It doesn’t give you any sense of what that person is like.

Profiles are insufficient

We describe people by height, weight, religion, but what we really need to know is insight on what that person is like when you go to on a canoeing trip? We are misclassifying lots of people. Why do we describe these people in this way in online dating? Because it’s easy, but it’s meaningless in predicting in who you would like and don’t like. The companies who are doing it are taking shortcuts. They are trying to do things that are easy rather than effective. It’s a real shame

Effective Dates

Dating is going through a shared experience. I conducted a speed dating event in old peoples’ home. At first it was a bust, people were just sitting there staring at each other. We tried again but the second time, we asked them to bring a meaningful object from their life and the discussions were amazing.

This means that when people share an experience, it gives others a quick and efficient sense of what they are like. Let’s make dating something where you are committed to finding out something about someone for awhile rather than have quick judgments.

Online dating is like going to the bar

Online dating is really built for people who can pick up people in bar, it’s not very different, imagine you had a dating website for people who don’t do well in making a first impression.