A few years ago, psychologist Barry Schwartz wrote The Paradox of Choice--a pop psych book with a deceptively simple bottom line: though we think of choice as a good thing, having too many options makes us miserable.
Schwartz says there are two kinds of decision-makers: "maximizers" and "satisficers." A maximizer wants to make the best decision possible. If you spend forever on Amazon reviewing tea kettles before buying one, you're probably a maximizer. In contrast, satisficers want to make decisions that are "good enough." A satisficer might think, "I want a kettle with a copper bottom for under $50." She buys the first one that meets that criteria.
We might think maximizers make better choices--after all, they read reviews and know the specs. Sure, their decisions are a little better, but not by much. More importantly, they are less likely to be happy with their decisions.
How does all this apply to your dating life? This article talks about being single in LA. It points out that while big cities offer lots of choices, having too many choices of whom to date creates an illusion that it's possible to find a "perfect" match. In Schwartz's parlance, it makes us into maximizers; we're less satisfied with the person we're dating. On the other hand, if you're stuck in a small town, there's not a lot of choice, so you naturally become a satisficer. You find someone who matches you reasonably well and you're pretty darn happy.
Of course, dating for queers is different. There aren't as many of us, so maybe we're always satisficers, even in most big cities. Or maybe because so many of us date online, it creates a "maximizer" mentality regardless of where we live.
What do you think about all this? What kind of cities have you had the most luck dating in? Did you find your significant other in a giant pool or a small one?
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