So I just learned that my ex started seeing someone a few weeks after we ended a 10+ year relationship.
My feelings about this aside, it got me thinking about the game of dating. And that’s because dating is very much about selling a product — it just so happens that the product is probably a pretty personal matter. C’mon, it’s you.
Market economics for a matchup is all about supply and demand, and given that I’m not a dating advice columnist, I’ll leave the supply side out of this. :p
So how do you increase the demand for a product like yourself?
In a crowded market, standing out is
pretty important critical. In The Game by Neil Strauss (yes, I’ve read it, and no, not because of this :p), that’s the concept of peacocking. What’s something surprising or unusual about you that breaks from the clutter? Hopefully you’ve picked differentiating on something that’s actually in demand!
It goes a bit hand in hand with the previous point, but if you’re not seen as a few-of-a-kind (meaning that you are not hyper-differentiated), then there’s no reason to pull the trigger. Ok ok, so maybe standards might be lower for casual dating, but point being the more scarce you are, the better the odds. Ideally you’ve got a few things that’s the intersection of highly unusual and highly desirable.
If you’re differentiated, and it’s clear you’re rare, it doesn’t matter a minute if the perception is that you’ll be around and available forever. Think about the psychological impact of an auction. You often pay far more than you intended because if you wait, it’s gone. So what can you do to give the impression that if they wait, you’re gone?
The most successful brands speak to you emotionally. Think about the feelings that come to mind when you think of brands like Apple, Mini Cooper, Molson Canada’s I am Canadian campaign (it being crap beer aside :p).:
Shared experiences (ideally novel, thrilling, or dangerous) tends to help with creating closeness and establishing an emotional connection. As does skipping fluff in conversation like the weather or your job and focusing more on things like the challenging times you’ve faced; events that shape who you are today.
Indifference (aka, not desperate)
Dating is a psychological game. It feels calculating, but unfortunately, it’s true. You’re a far more desirable brand if you create the impression that you care — just that little bit less than your potential counterpart. Don’t go too far the other way though to be completely unavailable. Studies have shown that a less attractive person who sends a positive signal (e.g. brief eye contact) will be approached far more frequently than someone who’s a 10 and sends no signals.
Brands devalue themselves when they engage in heavy, constant discounting. Don’t be that brand.
Frequency of contact
Familiarity might bring complacency and potential boredom down the down the line, but if you’re an interesting person and there’s already physical attraction and an emotional connection, increasing the opportunity to be reminded of the person or just spending more time together having meaningful shared experiences will certainly increase the odds of engagement. It’s why dating or emotional affairs happen so often in the workplace! Long hours, close proximity, common bond = muchos kindling.
It’s true. Packaging matters. It doesn’t mean you have to be the 99.99% percentile to the world – just be that to the person (people) who matter.
If you’re predictable, you’re less interesting. That’s not to say be schizo. Once you establish a connection, you stay more intriguing if there are little surprising or unexpected things about you.
Mind you, this is all purely academic as 1) I’m absolutely no dating expert, and 2) my very dear friends are more than satisfying my need for connection right now — meaning I have no intention of applying these points to anything!
And to these friends, thank you.