Be Real

In the previous post, I mentioned Nietzsche’s claim that love has to be learnt. But firstly, you have to find someone with whom this learning can take place.

In early days, in order to find love one could go out to the central well, and roll a heavy stone. Later, the seeker of love could sing serenades under a balcony. But it was always a complicated matter. In recent years to the list of obstacles on the road to happiness and love was added the almost inevitable demand to market oneself on dating sites and apps. At least this is something Romeo and Juliet had spared themselves.

Image result for jacob and rachel william dyce
Jacob and Rachel by William Dyce (1850)

What is the best way to introduce yourself online? Investigators Khalid Khan and Sameer Chaudhry reviewed dozens of relevant studies in psychology, sociology and behavioral sciences, and reached a number of conclusions about the perfect dating profile. For example, so as not to seem narcissistic, it is recommended to write not only about yourself but also about what you are looking for in your partner (the researchers recommend dedicating 70 percent of the profile to yourself, and the rest to a description of the partner you are hoping for).

But the most important advice comes from another study, and from another era: be real. Yes, it still works. University of Iowa researchers created fictional profiles and gave them to interviewees. Some of the profiles presented a perfect picture of the person and some were balanced. Beyond that, half of the profiles contained specific personal information about the person, and the rest were general. The most sought-after profiles were, to the surprise of researchers, those that were balanced and contained specific information. A successful profile is therefore one who is positive, but not excessively so, and that includes details, not generalizations (so, for example, the researchers recommend writing where you work and not only what your profession is). The more you offer life-details in the profile, the more it will seem real and reliable.

People use dating sites not to find the perfect person but to find the perfect match, the researchers concluded. Such a match can only happen with a person who perceives, and describes him- or herself in a real way.

And perhaps it is not that users of dating sites prefer real people, but it is love that prefers them.

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