Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Real Chemistry Happens Face-To-Face

Dating can be complicated in today's modern world.  Busy professionals have a demanding work environment and daily commitments that make it difficult to find time for dinner -- let alone browsing online profiles, cruising the bars or enduring yet another blind date.

While technology makes communication easier, it doesn't necessarily make it easier to date, and a group of U.S. psychology professors released a report last week explaining why there is no substitute for face-to-face connections.

According to the review published in this month’s issue of the journal Psychological Science in the Public Interest, online dating has three key services: expansion of one's dating pool, the ability to communicate with a potential partner prior to meeting them in person and the service selecting a match based upon an algorithm.  

The key assumption, according to the report, is that two people will experience better romantic outcomes "because the individuals are more romantically compatible from the start."

But Eli Finkel, psychology professor at Northwestern University and one of the  authors, says the typical online dating site doesn't improve one's chance of meeting a compatible mate for you can't judge chemistry. According to the report, the sites may be able to predict who appeals to an individual "in a profile but not necessarily in person." 

Finkel said in a recent article about the report, "There's no better way to figure out whether you're compatible with somebody than talking to them over a cup of coffee or a pint of beer."

And Jacquie Brownridge, director of It's Just Lunch in Toronto, Vancouver and Victoria, couldn't agree more.  

"You don't make a genuine connection with someone through texting.  But when you meet someone in person and share a meal, you see how they interact with you and the people around you," said Brownridge. "That's where true chemistry happens. Face-to-face and person-to-person."

From an article of February 2012 Women's Health Magazine, "Feeling a spark on a first date has less to do with looks and more to do with how at easy your feel, according to a recent survey of 5,000 singles by dating service It's Just Lunch." 

According to the IJL survey, 66% of singles say that on a first date, chemistry is more important to them than compatibility.  But what do they mean by chemistry?  Though 20% are sparked by physical attractiveness, and 7% by flirty or sexy banter, the clear winner is neither of those. Instead, it’s “feeling comfortable together,” the answer selected by 44% of the singles -- and surprisingly 49% of men.

When asked what people look for in terms of measuring the success of a first date, the number one item, with 45% of the vote, was “I felt comfortable being myself.”

Comfortable is definitely the magic word. There are things you can do to make someone feel more comfortable. But there is only so much you can do. There’s also a mysterious side to being comfortable with somebody that has nothing to do with any action you can take. It’s just . . . chemistry.

And, as we stated before, that can only happen face-to-face.