For socially weird or anxious or shy people, trying to meet a stranger in public is a nightmare, and even for someone charming and outgoing, it’s a grueling task that requires a lot of luck.The alternative that often happens is meeting someone through friends, which can work, but it’s limiting yourself to single people your closest friends and family happen to know.In the course of our research, I also discovered something surprising: the winding road from the classified section of yore to Tinder has taken an unexpected turn.

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This kind of rigor goes into a lot of my decisionmaking.

Whether it’s where I’m eating, where I’m traveling or, God forbid, something I’m buying, like a lot of people in my generation—those in their 20s and 30s—I feel compelled to do a ton of research to make sure I’m getting every option and then making the best choice.

If this mentality pervades our decision­making in so many realms, is it also affecting how we choose a romantic partner?

The question nagged at me—not least because of my own experiences watching promising relationships peter out over text message—so I set out on a mission.

I am perpetually indecisive about even the most mundane things, and I couldn’t imagine navigating such a huge life decision so quickly. Happily so—and probably more so than most people I know who had nonarranged marriages.

The first girl, he said, was “a little too tall,” and the second girl was “a little too short.” Then he met my mom. Let’s look at how I do things, maybe with a slightly less important decision, like the time I had to pick where to eat dinner in Seattle when I was on tour last year.

The first prominent online dating site was Match.com, which launched in 1995.

e Harmony started in 2000, Ok Cupid in 2004, and more recently, a wave of mobile people-swiping apps, like Tinder and Hinge, have become wildly popular.

Effective dating definitely needs to take place in person, the same way your grandfather did it, but I see no good reason why happens—and for the most important mission in most of our lives, it makes no sense to crush your ability to meet great people to try a first date with because it’s not as good a story to have met them online.

I have a friend that goes on two or three first dates every week with people he already knows are potentially good personality and physical matches for him—how you find the right person, and good luck keeping up with him meeting people the old-fashioned way.

I read dozens of studies about love, how people connect and why they do or don’t stay together.