Out of your league


New research from the University of the Obvious sheds light on our online dating habits:

Most people who use online dating websites seek partners who are out of their league, said a study… based on heterosexuals in four big US cities.


“Both men and women pursued partners about 25 percent more ‘desirable’ than themselves,” said the report in the journal Science Advances.


Hardly anyone reached out to people who ranked significantly lower than themselves.

It’s pretty easy to see why apps like Tinder encourage this sort of a strategy:

1. The desire for a partner who is more attractive than self is pretty common.

2. Tinder presents you with a cornucopia of potential matches, hundreds if not thousands, at your fingertips.

3. There are no downsides to swiping right on people “out of your league”. Firstly, it’s a private activity with no one standing over your shoulder and chiding you for your unrealistic hopes. Secondly, you don’t really experience individual rejection as you’re unlikely to remember all those profiles you’ve swiped right on and therefore unlikely to dwell on all those that didn’t match with you. By contrast, imagine you’re average looking and want to do better than your pay grade; you would have to┬áindividually approach and try to chat up a large number of significantly more attractive people at, say, your local club, which, unless you are particularly charismatic or thick skinned, would likely be a pretty frustrating and humiliating experience. In cyberspace no one can hear you stutter.

4. On the other hand, there are benefits – as the study also found, 21 per cent of those chasing partners out of their league got matched and got responses from such. One in five chance ain’t bad. Mostly likely it won’t lead to a magic love story or even a date, but it can be a good ego boost – a not uncommon reason why people spend time on Tinder and the such, often in the aftermath of break-ups or other confidence-damaging life events.

Of course, if your aim in life is to go out of your league, instead of wasting time on Tinder concentrate your energies on becoming rich and/or famous.