Paralyzed By Possibility

I hear a lot about online dating and how it can be quite exhausting. First you have to create a profile, which can feel like a momentous task. You have to figure out what exactly you are looking for in a potential mate and how to hopefully make yourself sound appealing to this target group. Then answering messages and filtering profiles can feel more like work than fun. It can seem like an eternity before you even get to go on a first date. But the real challenge lies in deciding what romantic options to pursue when, thanks to technology, there can be so many. In theory, we might believe that more options are better. In reality, we can become overwhelmed with choice and paralyzed by possibility. In his 2004 book, Paradox of Choice, psychologist Barry Schwatrz talks about how we are either 'satisficers' (people who satisfy themselves and then suffice) or 'maximizers' (people who seek out the best). With so many online profiles and "matches' to choose from, we end up becoming maximizers, thinking that it's easy to find and get the best. The problem with this, as comedian Aziz Ansar points out in his book, Modern Romance, is that we end up comparing potential partners to an idealized person to whom no-one could measure up. And, of course, do we even really know what exactly we are looking for in a soul mate? While there is a role for on-line dating, should we rely on it to the exclusion of other ways to connect romantically?