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a Computer Program Find Love For You?
|by Devlyn Steele
I logged on to a dating site the other day and was greeted by a large,
flashing message. It promised that if I took the time to answer
a series of questions that they would find a "perfect match" for
me. Imagine that? All the work and worry of being single - gone!
We truly have evolved! Not only can computer programs manage the
entire traffic system of a city and make chess grandmasters cry,
but now they can lead my perfect match right to my doorstep. I
always wanted a Stepford wife, I hope it comes assembled.
The recent trend in Internet Dating has been the use of a "computer
personality test" of some sort. Websites claim that these tests,
usually developed by a "top psychologist", have the ability to
understand you and your needs through a series of questions.
Confused? Lost in love? Problems communicating? Don't worry, the
Online Dating Hal 5000 can figure you out! In fact, when you're
done, this computer program will know your needs and desires
better than you do.
Remember the Broadway play “Fiddler on The Roof”? You might not, it was the
first Broadway play I went to when I was seven. A song that
always stuck in my head for some reason was “matchmaker,
matchmaker, make me a match…” The song starts as a plea to the
matchmaker to bring true love straight to the altar; someone
beautiful, rich, intelligent, and perfect.
But by the end of the song, the singer realizes that the Matchmaker might
not be up to the task. She decides that “playing with matches, a
girl can get burned”.
So, do these tests really work?
Personality tests have a long history. Really, really smart guys with names
like Freud, Maslov, Fromm, and Jung developed respected
psychological theories, and these theories are used as the basis
for all types of tests. “The Big Five” theory suggests that
there are five dimensions of personality: openness to
experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and
neuroticism. Some popular personality tests use this as a
foundation. Others go the “Big Three” route, which does away
with the “openness” and “agreeableness” dimensions - mostly
because it’s easier to remember.
I joke a little about these theories, but the truth is that they’ve survived
the test of time and there is a ton of scientific research
behind them. The real question is if these tests can be
effective in applying a theory to the complexity of a human
being. Add to this the additional layer of meshing your answers
with another, equally complex person. That’s a tall order.
People have impulsive behavior that simply can’t be measured when they’re
sitting, relaxed and introspective, taking one of these tests.
Often our answers reflect our perfect (or hopeful) idea of
ourselves. Even if we are trying our best to be honest, our
impulsive behavior in real-life situations can be far different
than we’d expect.
Another wildcard is attraction. We can meet someone who’s empirically
good-looking, has a similar background, is kind and successful –
and yet we’re not attracted. Often we can’t explain why we like
another person. It may be how they make us laugh, a crooked
smile – even how they smell! Sometimes little things that are
immeasurable on their own can collectively make us attracted.
Human beings and our emotions and desires are far too complex, and a
computer program can’t solve the riddles of our romantic lives.
As Jung put it, “the meeting of two personalities is like the
contact of two chemical substances; if there is a reaction both
are transformed”. It sounds good, but even Jung was hedging his
bet when it comes to love. What will cause two individuals to
react to each other? Even the developers of the study of
personality would not presume that a series of questions could
If you rely solely on matchmaking services, you are missing the entire
beauty of online dating. The beauty is opportunity. Online
dating offers you an almost limitless opportunity to meet and
date new people. It gives you the time and space to find what
best suits you. Going to a quality dating site that isn’t trying
to sell you fantasy of finding your match for you will mean you
will have a pool of millions of singles to meet.
Treat matchmaking options as just another fun way to explore. It can serve
as an ice breaker to start a conversation, but don’t expect them
to be the answer to finding your perfect match. Keep all options
open and explore possibilities. As a unique individual, only can
you know what works for you. You need to develop skills to
communicate and meet people. Developing both online and offline
dating skills is the best way to find the right relationship.
Next time you’re brushing your teeth, take a look in the mirror. See that
amazing person? That’s your matchmaker with a mouthful of
toothpaste. Take charge of your life and get into action! Enjoy
dating and enjoy the process of discovery. Your experiences,
both good and not-so-good, are essential to finding the right
person for you.
About the author:
Devlyn Steele ("America's Leading Life-Coach") is a Relationship
Coach, Life-Coach, radio host, columnist, and the developer of
ToolsToLife.com . His new program OnlineDatingKit.com teaches
Internet daters the skills they need to find their perfect
matches on their own.