Dating contact in 2016

I wondered to myself, is this what online dating has done to us?

Is it creating a new reality in which people actively avoid real-life interactions?

dating contact in 2016-7

Surrounded by potential partners, she pulled out her phone, hid it coyly beneath the counter, and opened the online dating app Tinder.

On her screen, images of men appeared and then disappeared to the left and right, depending on the direction in which she wiped.

There’s no obvious pattern by which people who meet online are worse off. For people who have a hard time finding partners in their day-to-day, face-to-face life, the larger subset of potential partners online is a big advantage for them.

For folks who are meeting people everyday—really younger people in their early twenties—online dating is relevant, but it really becomes a powerful force for people in thin dating markets.

The idea is that if you’re faced with too many options you will find it harder to pick one, that too much choice is demotivating.

We see this in consumer goods — if there are too many flavors of jam at the store, for instance, you might feel that it’s just too complicated to consider the jam aisle, you might end up skipping it all together, you might decide it's not worth settling down with one jam. I don’t think that that theory, even if it’s true for something like jam, applies to dating.

I spoke with Rosenfeld to hear more about his research, to learn about the ways in which the rise of online dating is defining modern love, and to talk about the biggest misconceptions people have about online dating.

The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

The rise of phone apps and online dating websites gives people access to more potential partners than they could meet at work or in the neighborhood.

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