The number of dates you need to tell if you're a match, according to Aziz Ansari

Aziz Ansari

Thanks to dating apps, we carry a 24-7 singles bar in our pocket.

There’s an endless supply of people we could see, so it’s easy to keep swiping after one “meh” date.

But according to Aziz Ansari, we’re less likely to find a match this way.

As he details in his book “Modern Romance,” it takes at least four dates to find out if you connect.

Someone’s deeper quirks and qualities rarely show up before the fourth date, he says. To begin to get to know someone, it takes longer than just one meeting — which Ansari can attest to both from his research and personal experience.

For the book, he
worked with sociologist Eric Klinenberg to explore how we date in the digital age. After talking with hundreds of single people worldwide, they found the nature of finding love has changed dramatically, fuelled partly by online dating.

In many of their focus groups, they discovered people go on a lot of first dates but not as many third dates. People said they wanted someone to instantly sweep them off their feet, but it just wasn’t happening.

Ansari noticed the same dating strategy in his own life. Normally, if the date felt average, he wouldn’t have asked the girl on a second date. He would have moved onto the next and texted other options, in search of the elusive stellar first date.

As an experiment, he went on four dates with the same woman, rather than four first dates with different people. By the time he had date number four, he discovered he felt more attracted to her, once he invested in getting to know her as a person.

“What I found is that a first date that was a six was usually an eight on the second date,” Ansari writes. “I discovered things about them that weren’t initially apparent. We’d develop more inside jokes and just generally get along better, because we were familiar.”

Casually dating many people had rarely led to this kind of discovery, he adds. At first, people are attracted to their dates’ looks and characteristics they can quickly see. But it’s their dates’ more unique traits and interests that make people fall in love.

And those only come out after sustained interactions.

You might discover that you both love Doctor Who or rock climbing, but it will take something like four dates to figure that out.

“A person may seem just ok, but if you really invest time in the relationship, maybe they will be greater than you assume,” Ansari writes.

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