Love Doesn't Work By Checklist

from the problems-of-online-dating dept

I’ve had a running discussion with a friend about people we know who seem to “date by checklist”. They have certain characteristics they like, and will assume that the more points on the list they can check off, the better the relationship is likely to be. We both think this is a terrible way to date, and generally leads to bad relationships – where people say “well, I want to like this person, because of a, b, c, & d”, but the reality is something different. Now, an opinion piece in the Globe & Mail is suggesting the same thing, but takes it one step further, saying that internet dating is encouraging this sort of behavior. You go online, check off all the characteristics you like, and the computer makes sure you only see such people. This cuts out the opportunity for a serendipitous find – someone who doesn’t match your check list, but still makes your toes curl. I don’t know how most dating sites work, but maybe there’s an opportunity to add in a more random element. To some extent, that may be part of the appeal of a site like Friendster – where people find people not necessarily based on their specific criteria, but on who they know.

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Comments on “Love Doesn't Work By Checklist”

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Adam Rice (user link) says:


When I found myself single, I checked out a number of different dating sites. Some are very checklist oriented, and have a truly mind-bending array of multiple-choice and short-answer questions. Others are extremely sketchy. Eventually I settled on one that seemed to hit a sweet spot–not too many questions, and the ones that were there seemed to elicit interesting answers.

Any medium for meeting people–bars, blind dates, the Internet, back-page personals ads, whatever–will expose you to a different cross-section of the person.

Anonymous Coward says:


Some “checklist” items are important. A non-chemical type is not going to want to be around a heavy drug user or drinker. A single parent is going to be better off dating other experienced singles. An 80-year-old is going to be better off with older singles. A 6’6″ person is unlikely to do well with a 4’10” person. An atheist should not be paired with a bible-thumper.

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