The most popular way to start a romantic relationship

Sociological studies show that, at least since the middle of the last century, the most common way to get to know a potential romantic partner was to meet in a common company: through friends, relatives and acquaintances. The link between the two people really greatly facilitates the process of meeting and further communication, eliminating the primary awkwardness.

Now, in an era of very rapid development of technology, everything is changing, and communication, like dating, go online. However, despite the popularity of applications such as Tinder (by 2014, two years after launch, the number of network users exceeded 10 million people), it is still not clear whether online dating could actually replace other ways to find a partner.

To understand this, for example, residents of the United States decided sociologists from Stanford University. To do this, they used the data collected during the How Couples Meet and Stay Together project in 2009 and 2017: in total, 4002 participants of the first wave and 3510 participants of the second were in the sample for analysis. Scientists focused solely on heterosexual couples.

Based on the data collected, scientists were able to build a graph of how the dating of romantic partners has changed since the end of World War II. So, the most popular ways of dating in the 1940s — through family and at school — became more rare every year, but the number of acquaintances through friends grew until the mid-1990s, after which it seemed to decline giving way to online dating, the number of which began to grow at about the same time – with the beginning of the spread of Internet use. The number of acquaintances in bars and restaurants kept at the same level from the 1970s to the mid-2000s, after which it began to grow again, but acquaintances at work fell.

The Internet has become the main mediator in dating two potential romantic partners, replacing other people (mutual friends and family) and common places of residence (work, church and university). Of course, the results obtained may not correspond to the picture observed all over the world (for example, in countries where applications and dating sites are not so common).

Wherever potential partners meet, a significant part of their communication is likely to occur in instant messengers and social networks. Scientists are studying this: last week I wrote that using emojis in correspondence can ensure the success of a first date and increase the chance that they will develop into a romantic relationship.

By Cindy
August 26, 2019

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