Users of online dating sites often struggle to find love because the sites themselves make it more difficult than it needs to be. To the rescue: Virtual Dates, an online ice-breaker from Jeana Frost of Boston University, Michael Norton of HBS, and Dan Ariely of MIT.
Their advice about online dating (which also applies to winning business online):
“Remove yourself as much as possible and don’t invest your ego in one particular date,” Frost offers. “Remember that it’s very easy to get carried away and imbue a profile with overly favorable qualities. My advice is to try to stay calm and resist being invested in one person until you’ve actually gotten to know them. Avoid long e-mail correspondences because they tend to heighten expectations.”
“It also takes resilience to go on a lot of dates and spend time actually arranging to meet rather than spending hours a week just searching. The people who go on a lot of dates are the people who find someone. In some sense it’s a numbers game.”
New users especially should keep in mind that online dating is not in the end so fundamentally different from regular dating, adds Norton. You try to find people, you try to meet them. “It’s the people who think it will be quite different from their regular experiences who end up being the most disappointed . In online dating, the same sorts of people who are online are also out there offline. It can help you sort, but ultimately it takes work, effort, and a little luck.”