My brother Kyler and I like to talk about a lot of crazy ideas. In 2015, he and I were both single. He’s good and married now; I’m still good and single.
I am a serial matchmaker and just have the hardest time NOT trying to set people up, even though sometimes people hate me for it. I have lessened my efforts considerably over the past few years, so you’re welcome. But being a matchmaker is tough business and one thing I’ve learned is that people tend to think something they try is useless unless it gives them the end result they wanted (even if the result actually was useful to them in leading them forward in some way). I get it. It’s hard for me to see dates as moving me forward if they don’t end up as a relationship. BUT…that is too much on the results of our experiment.
So. My brother and I were trying to improve on the too-big and not-seemingly-as-effective dating connector simulators already happening through apps and online. And capitalizing on seemingly effective methods of broadening social circles.
Our hypothesis was that the people you are most likely to get along with (and thus potentially date and marry) are people who are in your extended circle of influence (loose connections). Those people are likely to be more similar to you, and those people are likely within reach. But while they may be within reach, you may also need a little help getting to know them. The friend of a friend principle. Someone you might like is likely a friend of a friend OR a friend of a friend of a friend. You follow? It may be a loose connection, but it’s a stronger connection than just a rando.
And the second hypothesis was that sometimes we make our dating pools so big with so many options that there is the paradox of choice–we are paralyzed by too many options, always looking for the non-existent “just a little bit better.” So limiting options might actually be better.
My brother and I wanted to call our service “small pond” because that was the gist–if we could actually make the dating pond a little bit smaller than all of everyone on dating sites, would it be easier to match up the fish? By using the referral system, could we create a very small prototype of a dating “application” and then use what we know from them, and who we know that connects us to them, to line people up and match them to each other? The answer is you can absolutely do this. The question is if it’s successful. 🙂
This is where my brother dropped out (aside from moral support) because he started dating someone who he eventually married. I decided to do a small test first to see if there was any validity before getting serious, like buying a URL and getting venture capital (one can dream).
Thus was born a Google Form and I began soliciting applications.
The rules (as stated on the form)
- Must be single (duh)
- Must be within one hour of Salt Lake
- Must have a Facebook account for verification and so I can ask mutual friends about you, if needed
- Must have mutual friends with me
How it worked (as stated on the form)
- I will peruse profiles and choose a match to make.
- I will give both of you your date’s first name and phone number. The guy is expected to set up the date.
- I’ll send you an email a week after sending your match to get feedback so I can improve the service and quality of set-ups.
The other catch about it? No photos! Like, not ahead of time. If people agreed to be set up, as stated I would give each person the other’s first name and either their chosen phone number or email or whatever. If they then wanted to share first and last names or look each other up on the social medias, they could do that. But the goal was not to base this on pictures or seeing the other person before agreeing to go out because that is what every other dating app and real-life situation did. This was a different type of experiment.
The profile asked for the following information:
- Contact info (phone, email)
- Link to Facebook
- Link to their mom’s Facebook (to make sure they were legit people)
- A scale from 1-10 of “How Mormon are you?” [More on this later, haha]
- Career and educational background
- Must-haves in a partner
- Deal breakers
- Three of their most deeply held opinions about life, religion, politics, etc.
- What kind of person would absolutely not work for you (career, interests, looks)?
- Interests [a huge list of interests they could check off]
- Open field to put the name of any friends of mine that they might want to go out with or be set up with, not that it was guaranteed I’d match them but just to see if anyone fessed up
- Selection boxes for single status: never married, widowed, divorced, has children
- Selection boxes for willingness to date someone never married, widowed, divorced, has children
- A required check box that I would not be held responsible for any bad dates and that the person going on the date would take responsibility for ensuring his or her safety.
- A required check box that the person understood he or she may not ever be set up on a date through this service.
In a coming post(s), I will explain how many people signed up and the results and learning I gained from this experiment (protecting privacy of course). In some ways it was fun and in some ways not. Stay tuned.