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).


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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