It definitely wasn’t love at first sight, she said — that took a while.
Stronger predictors of possible romance include the tenor of their conversations, the subject of their discussions, or what they choose to do together.
“Interaction is a rich and complex process,” says Reis.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as profiles can help quickly weed out the obviously inappropriate or incompatible partners (who hasn’t wished for such a skip button on those disastrous real-life blind dates?
), but it also means that some of the pleasure of dating, and building a relationship by learning to like a person, is also diluted.
It also means that b) people may unknowingly skip over potential mates for the wrong reasons.
The person you see on paper doesn’t translate neatly to a real, live human being, and there’s no predicting or accounting for the chemistry you might feel with a person whose online profile was the opposite of what you thought you wanted.
Offline, that kind of attraction would spark organically.
The authors of the study note that people are notoriously fickle about what’s important to them about potential dates.
Most people cite attractiveness as key to a potential romantic connection when surveying profiles online, but once people meet face to face, it turns out that physical appeal doesn’t lead to more love connections for those who say it is an important factor than for those who say it isn’t.
Once potential partners meet, in other words, other characteristics take precedence over the ones they thought were important.
You never know how things are going to evolve until they do.