Everything you wanted to know about the paradox of choice

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Being single can be tough, but it’s not all bad news. In fact, there are a lot of benefits that come with single life. Single people tend to have busier social lives and work out more often. But why are those of us single, still on our lonesome? It comes down to a paradox of choice. But what on earth does that mean? Let’s find out.

Paradox of choice

We now have the capability to find a date at our fingertips with hundreds of potential partners to flick through on apps like Tinder. This abundance of choice is actually harming our decision making though. The problem is we are becoming pickier due to the increase in options. What if, though, we met that person and got over the tiny little physical feature we weren’t keen on from a selfie shot a year ago. If you keep swiping thinking someone better is going to be on the next page, you could be skipping past the person you actually would have gotten on really well with.

Do you want a comedy or a horror this evening?

Then when you look up from your screen, glance around the empty room and ask yourself why nobody loves you, you can answer that question. You’re too picky, and you’ve not given anyone a chance! It’s the same as trying to choose a film or show to watch on Netflix. There are so many options you can spend hours trying to pick what you think is the perfect one, only to get bored and choose any old one. Normally something with Adam Sandler in it.

Read the book

There are two types of people who deal with this abundance of choice, “maximizers,” and “satisficers.” Barry Schwartz wrote a book titled “The Paradox of Choice,” and in it, he identifies the mentalities of both. Maximisers see dating as trying on clothes, they are willing to sample many outfits until they find the perfect fit. Satisficers, on the other hand, know a good thing when they see it and won’t worry too much about whether the grass is greener on the other side or not. Not that they settle, they tend to have higher standards, which means if they find someone they like, they know there’s a good chance of success.

Fingertip dating drawbacks

Dating apps are a good thing, they have allowed many of us to get out and date when we would have otherwise spent that time home alone. The success of dating apps has paradoxically lowered the likelihood of their matching abilities, however. Now, we are so spoiled for choice we cannot see a potential partner despite them being right in front of us (on our smartphones). People are more than just a photo on an app, so if you’ve been hypercritical when swiping through potential dates, perhaps look a little closer and beyond the poorly shot profile picture.

If you’ve been holding out for that special someone, give some of the others a fair chance. The fairytale ending might not begin the way you expect it to, after all, most fairytales involve some sort of hurdle to get over before love finds a way in the end. Most people don’t fall in love at first swipe, so why would it be different for you? Give those people a chance, they might just be the one.


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