When to Ask the Hard Questions?
When I first entered the online dating arena 4 1/2 years ago, the choice of providers was simple. I was warned away from OKCupid’s “hook-up” culture (which, from what I hear, has shifted in the years since). eHarmony rejected my “separated” marital status and, besides, they promoted themselves as the site used to find a spouse, which was NOT what I was looking for at the time. And Plenty of Fish only seemed appropriate if I was looking for a future in cradle robbing.
So, Match it was by default.
Their system at the time was pretty straightforward. After paying some money and completing a profile, you could either wink or message people and have the same done to you. The messaging was free response, which led to some interesting emails but also allowed for a quick weeding-out of the potential date pool. I received countless messages like the following:
You have a nice butt. I’d like to meet it in person.
Is that a recent picture? The last chick I met looked hot in her photo but was fat in real life.
Hi. You look nice. Id like to meat u.
Even the more thoughtful and thought-provoking responses didn’t provide any true character or relationship information. All they did was act as a first-level screen, sifting the debris out from the potential gems. The real getting-to-know you happened later.
In a conversation with a friend yesterday, I learned about eHarmony’s methodology. After a wink, you have the option of asking your interest a series of questions selected from a list. These are hard-hitting questions, the type that are important, yet frequently overlooked in the early, heady days of lust.
When you are in a relationship, how much alone time do you need?
How do you view gender roles?
Now, the part I find interesting, is that these are all multiple choice questions.
All you have to do is click on your selection.
No bigger picture.
Personally, I have mixed feelings about this approach. I love the fact that eHarmony encourages people to think about the traits that really matter in a relationship (yeah, apart from the butt). However, I have limited faith in the authenticity of a multiple choice response and I fear that people may be rejected for a simple answer to a more complex question. Nuance reduced to a letter.
What are your thoughts? Do you/would you prefer a more natural, open-ended format or do you like the pre-screening of the real questions first?