Rating Prospective Dates Leads to Disappointment When We Meet Them

Here is another issue with dating apps, rating prospective dates. This sort of objectifying of potential partners leads to disappointment when we finally meet them. According to Quartz, dating apps make people less attractive in real life.

Now a lab experiment has shed some light on one of reasons the dating app experience can be so dispiriting: It’s not just that you meet more people you’re not attracted to, but that the act of rating and comparing people in advance actually makes them seem less attractive when you do meet.

Researchers at the University of Kansas found that when subjects saw and rated photos of potential mates and then met one of these people in person the results were predictable and sad. When subjects met the person they had previously rated they lowered their opinion of the person in regard to being fun or funny, having charisma and being socially attractive. According to the researchers dating apps replace the normal process of getting to know someone with a set of pass or fail decisions. We noted something of this sort in our article about how online dating kills the chance of mixed attractiveness relationships.

Think of the movie Roxanne with Steve Martin and Daryl Hannah. Hannah’s character, Roxanne, is a striking beauty whereas Charlie, played by Martin, has a huge nose which distorts his features. In the 1987 movie Roxanne comes to love intelligent, resourceful and poetic Charlie despite his unattractive looks when she gets to know him. That would never happen today if the two of them used dating apps!

Roxanne would simply rate Charlie a 2 out of 10 and never give the most interesting and intelligent person she would ever meet a second glance. And if Charlie saw and rated a photo of Roxanne as a ten he would downgrade that rating upon meeting her based on the psychological mechanics of objectifying another person.

Sexual Objectification

The dictionary definition of objectification is the act of seeing as or treating another person as an instrument of sexual pleasure. Wanting sex is normal and wanting sex on the first date is not uncommon for both sexes. But if sexual objectification is taken to its extreme it removes all aspects of personality, intelligence, trustworthiness and other positive traits from the discussion. Rating people before we meet them is normal to a degree but the pitfall with dating apps is that people never live up to our expectations when we see and rate their photo and rating before meeting tends to poison our chances of getting to know a person and developing a happy relationship. In fact it may be more likely to lead to abusive relationships.

Efficiency at the Cost of Effectiveness

Dating apps are efficient and fulfill the goal of online dating which is to find a lot of potential mates and avoid people we don’t want to get to know. But in order to move the real world of face to face dating, getting to know someone and deciding whom to spend your life with you need to move way past the sort of objectification that we see with rating photos on a dating app. The process may be efficient but it is not necessarily effective in meeting your long term goals.

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