Dating As a Numbers Game

Stephen Hussey

Quantity in dating is increasing, but is quality?

A recent Inc. article talked about the importance of meeting quality people in business networking. The argument goes: It matters who you choose to interact with more than simply how many people.

My suspicion is that our general overestimation of the importance of quantity explains why dating apps like Tinder prove to be such a let down for people. They always promise MORE, but they don’t deliver MORE and BETTER.

Dates might be easier to come by as a woman when you’re getting swiped by every bro-dude out there who wants to meet someone for the night, but we rarely consider the opportunity cost of all that time spent filtering through the slush pile of available singles with whom we have nothing in common (other than both having a Tinder account).

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It’s easy to think of dating as a case of knocking on more doors, but in truth we really want that person whose mind we can never explore deep enough, the one with whom conversation feels natural and easy, the one we get giddy about when we see he’s texted.

Yet people waste time as if they have it to burn. They tolerate second dates with people when it’s going nowhere, or they swipe through another bundle of dross instead of going out somewhere interesting where they could meet anyone in a chance encounter.

There are benefits to being picky about who we meet.

Most people still find their partners through their social circles (if your friends like him, you’ll probably like him). You’re also much more likely to meet a great guy at an activity you love than at another faceless meet-up session designed to throw you in a room with a bunch of anonymous faces.

It’s easy to get addicted to the seduction of “numbers dating”. But I don’t think we really need more dates. More good dates though? Maybe. More incredible dates? I’d take one of those over five boring coffee chats any day.

So where do quality guys come from?

Meeting quality people is the result of normal things. But it’s the normal things that so many people don’t take time to do.

Unfortunately though, these are precisely the things that are difficult to motivate yourself to do them when all the marketers tell you that you can find love simply by cruising the latest dating app while sitting on your couch watching The Walking Dead.

If we want to meet the RIGHT person (or people in general) we have to do things like:

  • Put thought into where we spend our time
  • Cultivate and nurture friendships with people who get us out there and having fun
  • Talk to people in our daily life and seeing where opportunities take us
  • Do activities we actually enjoy so that we meet other people we have things in common with.

Add these things up and incredible opportunities can happen. Fun things can happen. I believe we’ve all become so convinced that we have so many options in dating now that we’ve mistaken it for having proximity to the kind of people we actually want to date. It makes us lazy. And yet, the fact is, with a little extra creativity we can create a world that brings us far more social opportunities then any app can. 

Besides, it’s far less strain on the fingers than swiping all day.

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19 Responses to Dating As a Numbers Game

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  1. Ursulline says:

    I’ll see this a rather different tune the Get the Guy book. Matt verbatim says meet more men. Yes of course don’t let them pass through the second funnel if you know it’s going no where but the concept sounds different here what Stephen is saying

  2. Divinelyd says:

    Thank you Stephen for writing this post. I’ve deleted my OKC account last week to focus on my life right now, and this article just affirms my decision. Will keep your suggestions on how to meet quality guys in mind when I’m ready to date again.

    Thank you so much again for this.

  3. Hope says:

    I wish that I could go back in time to advise my younger self to prioritize finding a mate instead of a career. As a woman it seems like my marketability takes a precipitous drop with age. Work is overrated, and the social consequences of never being married increasingly hurt – feeling left out of the traditional rites of passage in society like getting married, having children & grandchildren. The growing invisibility as a sexual being in comparison to your male peers who scoop up younger second and third wives. It just hurts.

    I would tell my younger self to strike while the iron is hot. Find that young man who is decently attractive in mind, body & soul and make a home with him. Look for a very kind man with a backbone and prioritize marriage and children because a company – even a great one – will not love you back. It will use you, chew up your best years with stress, spit you out with a declining 401K. Sounds bitter, right? Cynical but presciently true.

    Dating is a numbers game when time and opportunity are scarce. Such a situation is acutely felt by women over 40, especially if overweight. Therefore save young women grief by honestly impressing upon them the urgent need to find a mate while they are still deemed desirable by a sizable segment of the male population. This is not cynicism or pessimism – it is benevolent pragmatism! Please avoid the pain of being alone, old and unwanted. This is coming from someone who is a more introverted loner – I can’t imagine how it must feel for extroverted women who have always wanted kids.

    • Realistic says:

      I can empathise with how you feel. I lookback with longing sometimes at the guys I meet at 18 and 20 that I let go when I didn’t realise what I had. HOwever I probably wouldn’t have become who I am today and learnt as much about myself. And I might have wished Id waited until I was older.

      We do what we think is right at the time. Beating myself up over it only creates sadness that keeps me from moving forward and making the best of my life. Im discovering the plethora of men in their 40s and early 50s who appreciate someone that didn’t settle early and only want to date someone with a varied history and more mature outlook.

    • katy says:

      I hear ya girl. Things get very limited in your thirties, and dry up in your fourties. Men however get to stay eligible for dating marriage and/or children to a ripe old age! I wish i got dating active and smarter about men at a much younger age.

  4. Emily says:

    Excellent! I definitely swung to the quantity at times, which has a place in helping us get out there, get practice and feel less intimidated. But I’ve come to realize I’m more likely to meet guys who shares my passion, interests and values when I explore and expand my social circles rather than meeting online or going to events I’m not that interested in and therefore meet (and date) guys I’m also not that into.

  5. Leona says:

    “I believe we’ve all become so convinced that we have so many options in dating now that we’ve mistaken it for having proximity to the kind of people we actually want to date.”

    Not true for ALL of us. As a black female over 40 I can’t get a date on a website or app to save my life unless it’s with someone I would never want to date. I guess it’s the men that are convinced they have better options when they see my profile. I’m focused more on doing the things I like, but they rarely put me in contact with other single, eligible men to date. These days it takes a LOT of creativity.

  6. Brandi says:

    Lol The heavens hath parted with this article Stephen. Words of God! So wise. So true. Though I must say, I’ve known very proactive Tinder daters who are just efficient in love, not lazy at all. They also work a lot.

  7. Li says:

    I am feeling a bit blue right now. The fact that I went out to an international social event, which has people from 58 countries. Plenty of professionals in my age, but I could not find anyone that I have a natural chemistry with… As an entrepreneur, I am used to work long hours and more than occasionally have to put work before anything else… I don’t know whether it is because my very full work schedule numbs my senses or whether I genuinely have no interest in the men I met that evening… It’s such a nice feeling to stumble upon someone who would make you a bit nervous and excited… I miss that feeling and wonder where my guy is and where you are…

  8. A. says:

    So glad you are still writing here, Steven! It’s hard sometimes to slog it out in the dating world. These messages help. :-)

  9. Lisa Young says:

    Thank You So Much Steve!!

    Amen I Have Forgotten To Actually Do Some Of The Things I Really Enjoy Therefore It May Have Kept Me From Bonding With My Like Rhythmed Kind.

    Gracias So Much For The Wise Encouragement, And Yay For Your Graduation Too!! <3 <3 <3

  10. Vasiliki says:

    Steve,
    One of the things I admire most about you and your brother is the fact that you always “promote” quality in every aspect of our lives. The fact, that there are two young men, out there, that have such a positive influence in other people’s lives, is so rare and praiseworthy. BRAVO!!!

    P.S. Congratulations on your graduation. Aristotle said “The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet.” Time to reap the fruit of your hard work. Wishing you all the best for the future!!!

  11. Julie MacKenzie says:

    Great advice….Quality rather than quantity…when you get to my age… ;)

  12. Arianna says:

    “… but in truth we really want that person whose mind we can never explore deep enough, the one with whom conversation feels natural and easy, the one we get giddy about when we see he’s texted.”

    Bravo! Very well said, Steve. This quote made the romantic in me do a happy dance. This article is wonderful. I have always preferred quality to quantity, especially in terms of dating.

    Thank you for writing this. It is almost precisely how I have been feeling lately. :)

    Warmly,
    Arianna

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