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With the declining influence of friends and family and most other social institutions, more single people today are on their own, having set up shop at a digital bazaar where one’s appearance, interestingness, quick humor, lighthearted banter, sex appeal, photo selection—one’s is submitted for 24/7 evaluation before an audience of distracted or cruel strangers, whose distraction and cruelty might be related to the fact that they are also undergoing the same anxious appraisal.Read: A psychologist’s guide to online dating This is the part where most writers name-drop the “paradox of choice”—a dubious finding from the annals of behavioral psychology, which claims that decision makers are always paralyzed when faced with an abundance of options for jam, or hot sauce, or future husbands.C., at the suggestion of a mutual friend from Texas.Forty years after that, when I met my girlfriend in the summer of 2015, one sophisticated algorithm and two rightward swipes did all the work.
Derek Thompson: The future of the city is childless But dating has changed more in the past two decades than in the previous 2,000 years, thanks to the explosion of matchmaking sites such as Tinder, OKCupid, and Bumble.This is the age of DIY-everything, in which individuals are charged with the full-service construction of their careers, lives, faiths, and public identities.When in the 1840s the Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard called anxiety “the dizziness of freedom,” he wasn’t slamming the door on modernity so much as foreseeing its existential contradiction: All the forces of maximal freedom are also forces of anxiety, because anybody who feels obligated to select the ingredients of a perfect life from an infinite menu of options may feel lost in the infinitude. Our friends and moms were underserving us.”Historically, the “underserving” was most severe for single gay people.Online dating’s rapid success got an assist from several other demographic trends.For example, college graduates are getting married later, using the bulk of their 20s to pay down their student debt, try on different occupations, establish a career, and maybe even save a bit of money.
As the co-authors write in their conclusion, “Internet dating has displaced friends and family [as] key intermediaries.” We used to rely on intimates to screen our future partners.