Speed Dating? It Pays to Be Picky
Act Desperate, and They're Just Not That Into You, Speed-Dating Study Shows
Feb. 8, 2007 -- When speed dating, eagerness isn't an asset.
That love lore doesn't come from Dear Abby (though she might agree).
Instead, it's from researchers, including Eli Finkel, PhD, of Northwestern
"Romantic desire comes in two distinct flavors: selective and
unselective," Finkel says in a Northwestern news release. "If your goal
is to get someone to notice you, the unselective flavor is going to fail, and
To reach this conclusion, Finkel and colleagues set up four-minute
"speed dates" for 156 single undergraduates, roughly half of whom were
Each student went on nine to 13 speed dates with suitors of the opposite
Immediately after each speed date, they rated their date's romantic
likeability, sexual attractiveness, and perceived selectivity in choosing
matches at the speed-dating event.
Match or Miss
When the students went home, they visited a web site and checked
"yes" or "no" to indicate whether they wanted to meet their
speed dates again. They could vote "yes" for as many dates as they
If they and their speed date both voted "yes," they received each
other's contact information.
Students who voted "yes" for most of their speed daters didn't get
But selective speed daters -- those who found a few needles in the haystack
-- tended to hear "yes" back from the rare person that interested
"People who like everyone, unlike in a friendship context where they
generally are liked in return, may exude desperation in a romantic
context," Finkel says in a Northwestern news release.
The study is scheduled for publication in Psychological Science's