How people choose a mate: the black box

It is possible to analyze how people choose a mate based on statistics.

Probably it does not surprise you, that people usually want a healthy, positive person as their significant other, who will pull their own weight.

But what about the specifics?, I hear you cry. What about the hair color, what about their hobbies?

What hobby should I start doing to impress the maximum number of men and women?

If you really want advice for this: There, probably, you should go with what is really popular, to maximize your appeal. Something like soccer in Germany. Or cricket in India.

The truth is, every person is an individual. Let me share something personal with you.

the “Bio” label

We have a shampoo bottle at home, which carries a “Bio” label on it. Probably, in the eyes of the manufacturers of this product, this is supposed to enhance it’s appeal.

This is likely true for many people – there are people who prefer “Bio” products. In all fairness, this is probably the target group of this shampoo. And people who feel in resonance with it, will buy it.

(for anyone who wonders what “Bio” is – at least in Germany, it’s a common label for products which are manufactured using less pesticides, and more “in tune with nature”)

I, however, have a negative association with the “Bio” label. For me it means: “let’s rip off consumers by charging higher prices”. I always, always avoid Bio products and go for the cheaper alternatives.

For me, “Bio” is not associated with “being better for me” or “healthier”.

Possibly using less pesticides is a good idea, and I would not mind eating apples which are marketed as “less chemical” or some such thing.

But the word “Bio” specifically, is associated with being “expensive”. Just that. I do not have ANY positive associations with it.

Probably it will not surprise you, gentle reader, that I did not buy that shampoo. It was (probably) my sister who bought it.

Why does this story matter?

If there was no market for such products, and everyone would associate “Bio” with “more expensive” and “ripping off customers”, as I do, people who would manufacture “Bio” products would not be able to sell them. They would disappear from the market.

There is a difference between the market, and individuals.

As such, when trying to “optimize” for a specific person, you will end up overoptimizing for them specifically.

Just because Janet tells you that she prefers ripped men, it doesn’t mean that Aastha also prefers ripped men. She might, in all fairness, but also she might not. There are women who have more positive associations with chubby, “cuddly” guys.

Each person goes through their unique experiences, and builds up their own associations. I’ve built up negative associations to the label “Bio”. Many, many other people have neutral associations with it, or some – a sizeable population – even quite positive associations.

When you encounter a new person, you will never know what is a good fit for them and what isn’t – there is no magic formula.

There is just statistics, and what “most people like.”

Most people like someone who doesn’t cheat on them, listens to them. Who makes them feel good, valued, cared for.

Hack your mating

I’ve read a great book, called “Hack your mating” by Tony Vakirtzis. In this book, the author argues that women (the book is written for men) are like a black box. After having the insight about the “Bio” label today, I agree. This is not because women versus men are a black box – but because every human being is an individual, who has their own preferences.

The solution is to talk to many different people, and find out whether you resonate.

For example, I had a video date yesterday, where I really enjoyed the conversation – we went deep into personal topics, relationships – I always enjoy talking about these things. It was a good fit for me (conversation-wise), it might have bored another man to tears.

Other men really like soccer – I do not have any positive associations with it. At best, it’s completely neutral to me, at worst “a waste of time”.

See? People are black boxes – they have their own preferences, likes, etc.

If someone rejects you, or “the way you are” – it simply is because they have their own experiences and associations.

The same, by the way, is true for business – you can’t be a “match” all. Some people prefer to drink Coke, some people like Pepsi. I drink water.

You might be the nicest “Bio” apple in the world. But if I come across you, I will just think that you are “expensive” and “trying to rip off consumers”. Just the way it is.

Take a bite!

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

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