It’s Official: Most Couples Don’t Meet Through Friends or Family
In the so-called good old days, rather than wading through a pool of potential partners via Tinder, Grindr, Plenty of Fish, Bumble, OK Cupid, or any number of other matchmaking services, your friends and family members would set you up on a blind date. Not anymore.
According to a new study from Stanford University more couples meet online nowadays than through friends and family members.
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The study’s authors indicate that there’s no longer a necessary middleman when it comes to modern dating unless you count apps. Letting a computer play matchmaker for us instead of Uncle Jim or Aunt Marilyn may sound appealing at first, despite thousands of years of human tradition standing opposed. However, it does pose unique pitfalls.
As it turns out, 70 percent of heterosexual men and women are now meeting each other online. That number stands in pretty stark contrast to the number of people who found love via the internet in the early 2000s, which as Derek Thompson of The Atlantic suggests in an interview with WBUR, was closer to 20 percent.
“So, 20 years ago, practically nobody met online,” Thompson said. “In the early 2000s it was about one in five… that was about equivalent to the number who met in bars. But it wasn’t nearly as many people [as] who met through friends or family. Then, in the last decade, it’s just taken off. The internet is now the most common place to meet a new partner in America. We are now twice as likely to meet our partners online as we are through a friend. And what’s fascinating to me is that this is one of the oldest behaviors – one of the oldest marketplaces – in human history.”
What’s exciting about this new data is that it also suggests that there are absolutely more opportunities in the dating market for men and women using the internet. Aunts, uncles, and family friends may have their own selection biases which prevent you from being hooked up with someone they deem – in their own opinion – too “different.” As the survey results suggest, for example, interracial dating has skyrocketed in recent years, partially because the innate soft (or hard) bias coming from your inner circle has been replaced.
That’s not to suggest that one’s family, friends, and loved ones are necessarily prejudiced in any serious way – just that humans, by nature, use a different set of tools when selecting from a table of options than a computer program or an app might. Which, for many people, means a better chance of getting lucky and finding their true soul mate.
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