It’s a normal part of living in a globalised society; the abundance of choice. No matter where we look, we are given a plethora of options; from the type of toothpaste we use to the car we drive. We’re so used to abundant choice that it inherently seems like something we should want – but are endless options really that good for us?
The surprising truth about choice
Popular wisdom tells us ‘the bigger the better’. But as it turns out, this isn’t necessarily true; over the last decade, psychological studies into how we choose show that having too many alternatives actually leads you down a path to dissatisfaction. Popularised by Barry Schwartz in 2005, this concept is known as ‘the paradox of choice’ and essentially says that ‘’the more options there are, the easier it is to regret anything at all that is disappointing about the option you chose.’’1
Schwartz believes that ‘’[when] everything is possible, you increase paralysis and you decrease satisfaction.’’2 In other words, having too many options can be problematic in two ways: firstly, when faced with too many options, we tend to agonize over making a decision and, secondly, once we do make our pick, we are more likely to regret it. Even when we find a match that is objectively good, we can’t stop considering the what ifs.
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Here’s some proof: in a study of the theory, supermarket customers were presented with a tasting table that showcased 24 jams, while others could only choose from 6. While the larger table drew a bigger crowd, only 3% of these visitors ended up buying jam. In contrast, the smaller table attracted less attention –but 30% of the customers decided to make a purchase. It’s believed that the customers who did buy jam felt less overwhelmed by their options at the 6-jam table than the 24-jam table, and so could make a firm decision about the jam that would suit them.3
The secret to finding a match
‘The paradox of choice’ has interesting implications for those trying to find a match.
If you’re faced with too many options, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. And in the case of online dating, being overwhelmed unfortunately makes people make quicker decisions, based on less information. Essentially, when faced with limitless profiles to flip through, people tend to go back to basics – liking matches based on the most rudimentary of attraction insights, which doesn’t do anyone any good!
Dr Amy Muise, a sex and relationships researcher, believes that pairings that result from these quick decisions will be based on relatively simple criteria, and that having lots of dating options is ‘’a strategy [which] may be better suited for daters who are looking for casual sex as opposed to a long-term partner.’’5
So an abundance of choice is fantastic if you want to keep your options open, but if you want to find a match who is in it for the long run, a new approach is needed.
Find a match: how EliteSingles works
At EliteSingles we cater for singles who are tired of short-term flings and are looking for a long term commitment, and that’s why we prefer a more targeted approach. We believe in giving our members the best possible chance to find real love and connection, so we make a concerted effort to avoid overwhelming our users with a sea of profiles. Instead, our in-depth matchmaking process helps our users find someone who is truly on their wavelength.
This doesn’t mean that our users are denied the opportunity to make a choice for themselves; instead, we offer a manageable selection of highly compatible options. For example, if you’re a premium EliteSingles member you can expect to receive 3 – 7 match suggestions per day, suggestions that are based on your personality profile, partner requirements and location.We think this is the ideal number to allow you the freedom to browse while still giving you enough time to really read about each new profile.
READ MORE: First date questions that will test your chemistry and compatiblity
In other words, although we don’t offer unlimited choices, you’re still in the driver’s seat when it comes to finding your special someone. Think of it as navigating with a local map rather than a world atlas: there might be less paths shown but those ones that are included have a greater chance of getting you to your dream destination. It is a simple case of choosing quality over quantity.
Are you ready to see who you might match with? Then choose EliteSingles today.
If you have any questions, please leave a comment below or write to us at email@example.com
1 Barry Schwartz Ted Talk: The Paradox of Choice, 2005. See video above.
3 The Tyranny of Choice, from the print edition of The Economist, 2010.
4 Melissa Schneider, So Many Fish in the (Online) Sea: Is All This Choice a Good Thing? 2012
5 Dr. Amy Muise, Online Dating: The Paradox of Choice. 2012.
6 Barry Schwartz Ted Talk: The Paradox of Choice, 2005.