In a new study, researchers looked at data from speed daters who answered more than 100 questions about traits and preferences, just like a diagnostic you’d find on a dating site. Then, the participants met each other on four-minute dates. After analyzing how the participants rated their level of interest, their sexual attraction to each potential suitor, and more, researchers came to one conclusion: Just because two people are matches on paper doesn’t mean they’re matches in real life.
“We found we can’t anticipate how much individuals will uniquely desire each other in a speed-dating context with any meaningful level of accuracy,” said lead study author Samantha Joel, PhD, in a press release. “I thought that out of more than 100 predictors, we would be able to predict at least some portion of the variance. I didn’t expect we would find zero.”
Romantic desire may well be more like an earthquake, involving a dynamic and chaos-like process, than a chemical reaction involving the right combination of traits and preferences.
Basically, meeting IRL—at a coffeeshop, a gym, a meditation studio, or basically anywhere with three-dimensional human interaction—might still be the best way to find your mate since not even the most advanced algorithms can pump out your one true love (if that’s even a thing).
“It may be that we never figure it out, that it is a property we can never get at because it is simply not predictable,” said co-author Paul W. Eastwick, PhD. “Romantic desire may well be more like an earthquake, involving a dynamic and chaos-like process, than a chemical reaction involving the right combination of traits and preferences.”
While this rough news for those who rely on mobile apps for matchmaking, the verdict’s still out about what this means for the Tinder of female friendships. Which is great, considering buddying up as an adult is no walk in the park.