Have you ever gone to one of those buffet-style restaurants with all the options you can think of? It’s proverbial gluttony heaven. When you arrive, the smell of random delights hits you like a Chicago wind.
As you circle the kiosks of food like bandits surrounding a wagon convoy, you do your best to pile as much as you can on the little plate they give you. However, when you sit down and start eating, you realize…
This food sucks
All those options that looked good weren’t good. In fact, they were terrible and only good enough to fill a certain desolation in your empty stomach.
Similarly, there’s cable television. Tons of options, nothing that you want to watch is ever on when you want to watch it. As a result, you spend years paying an inordinate amount of money, while watching 5 out of 400 channels. What can you do? The allure of so many options is intriguing, to say the least. Being able to pick and choose whatever you want is a great thing…
Not so much.
Options Are Good
Autonomy and Freedom of choice are critical to our well being, and choice is critical to freedom and autonomy. Nonetheless, though modern Americans have more choice than any group of people ever has before, and thus, presumably, more freedom and autonomy, we don’t seem to be benefiting from it psychologically.
Barry Schwartz was spot on. Depending on how you use them, options can be great. This places pressure on the competition to improve their product and delivery. A sort-of dating monopoly killer? But, are we truly benefiting from all these choices—and should we simply eliminate them to simplify the process of dating?
Furthermore, daters now have many opportunities to meet various other daters in a very short amount of time. This is due to dating sites, social media and dating apps. People you otherwise wouldn’t meet are now at your fingertip via a Tinder or Bumble swipe, or a click on Match or Plenty of Fish. Facebook has even jumped into the game with its own dating platform embedded in the very app we use every day.
This has to make dating easy right?
Not so much.
Explore Your Options
There’s nothing wrong with having options. We are presented with them every day. Examples such as, purchasing a car, choosing a career, shopping for food, or looking at a menu when frequenting your favorite coffee shop to name a few. Options let us choose what we feel is the best for us at that time. Nevertheless, when it comes to dating and relationships, having so many options has proven to make us very indecisive.
Daters are more apprehensive and fickle than ever before. Especially in bigger metropolitan areas. Comparatively, daters in smaller towns tend to find love and happiness with a partner more efficiently and suffer less anxiety and stress over the process of dating. This is mostly due to the vast number of options in the more highly populated areas.
As a result, more options can make deciding much harder. Or, individuals become more expendable as daters look for the bigger, better, deal. Their plate is full of what seems like a bunch of goodies, but all those options ultimately turn out to not really be options at all.
What Should You Do?
Explore your options as I said above. However, be mindful of the “Paradox of Choice” that you can easily get caught up in. Don’t get it twisted, it’s okay to date different people, but understand your limits and don’t overdo it.