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Online dating has, for many, become a mainstay of meeting new potential romantic partners, whether looking for casual dating, serious dating, or even a marital partner.
Until relatively recently, people met potential partners through friends, family, school, and other shared activities.
Indeed, Sharabi and Caughlin found that, contrary to their expectations, the greater the similarity, the better.
There was no point at which there was too much similarity, at least right after the first date.
Sharabi and Caughlin (2017) set out to investigate the question of what predicts first-date success in their recent work.
They surveyed 186 participants who were using online dating and had at least one person they were thinking of meeting in person.
How do couples move from online dating to that all-important first date?
Likewise, there was no point at which having less uncertainty about the other person became a negative.
Importantly, all other factors being equal, greater communication overall, and greater disclosure, predicted first date success.
Real-life, online dating experience tells us that it isn't surprising that the first date is typically disappointing.
Similarly, greater communication predicted a more successful first date, especially when people really were similar to each other.
When people were overly positive, exaggerating similarities and the expectation of future interactions, disillusionment was very likely; this effect was greater when communication was lower, presumably because people are able to maintain positive illusions in the absence of information about the other person, leading to a greater risk of being disappointed.
The more someone knew, the better—and the more they had asked about the other person ("information seeking"), the more likely the first date was to be successful, presumably because doing so reduced uncertainty.