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You can extrapolate how to use this finding from a marketing perspective: If you need to reach out to customers or prospects about an emotional or sensitive subject, don't use a one-size-fits-all approach. Citing The Paradox of Choice , a book by psychologist Barry Schwartz, Ansari and Klinenberg pointed out that more options doesn't necessarily lead to happier customers.

Options make choosing harder in the first place; they also make it easier to second-guess your choice. In Iyengar's experiments, customers buying jam at supermarkets were much happier when they made their selection from a shelf displaying four types of jam, as opposed to 25 types. Later, out on the street, you see more "jam," just walking around. Your customers may want options, but you don't have to overwhelm them. The sheer number of options won't make them happier. If the goal is to study behavior , you need evidence of behavior--you can't just take people's word for it.

You have to see how they act when they're behind the wheel , as opposed to trusting their narrative of the drive.

7 Awesome Insights From "Modern Romance" By Aziz Ansari

Likewise, Ansari and Klinenberg asked to look at the phones of their subjects. Tellingly, there was often a gap between how a subject described her texts with someone, and how the texts came across when you actually read them, as a complete stranger to the situation. For example, one woman was describing her texting correspondence with a guy she'd just met.

But when they collected her phone, the authors saw that she'd named the guy "Kevin don't text me Thursday" in her contacts. More to the point, by looking at the subject's phone, Ansari and Klinenberg gained a new, useful insight into this particular subject that they otherwise would not have learned. Klinenberg told the crowd that one of the perks of working with Ansari was his clout as a celebrity. People were willing to share with Ansari what they'd not normally share with someone identifying himself as a social scientist, as Klinenberg does.

You might not be able to work with a celebrity, but you can certainly add an element of levity or relaxation to your market research. But does all the effort put into sorting profiles help? Despite the nuanced information that people put up on their profiles, the factor that they rely on most when preselecting a date is looks. Now, of course, we have mobile dating apps like Tinder. As soon as you sign in, Tinder uses your GPS location to find nearby users and starts showing you pictures.

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Maybe it sounds shallow. In the case of my girlfriend, I initially saw her face somewhere and approached her. I just had her face, and we started talking and it worked out. Is that experience so different from swiping on Tinder? Nor is it all that different from what one friend of mine did, using online dating to find someone Jewish who lived nearby.

Americans are also joining the international trend of marrying later; for the first time in history, the typical American now spends more years single than married. So what are we doing instead? As Eric wrote in his own book, Going Solo , we experiment. Long-term cohabitation is on the rise. Living alone has skyrocketed almost everywhere, and in many major cities, nearly half of all households have just one resident.

Read Aziz Ansari on Love and Online Dating

But marriage is not an altogether undesirable institution. And there are many great things about being in a committed relationship. Look at my parents: I looked into it, and this is not uncommon.


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People in arranged marriages start off lukewarm, but over time they really invest in each other and in general have successful relationships. This may be because they bypassed the most dangerous part of a relationship. In the first stage of a relationship, you have passionate love.


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This is where you and your partner are just going crazy for each other. Every smile makes your heart flutter. Every night is more magical than the last. During this phase, your brain floods your neural synapses with dopamine, the same neurotransmitter that gets released when you do cocaine. Like all drugs, though, this high wears off after 12 to 18 months.

At a certain point, the brain rebalances itself. In good relationships, as passionate love fades, companionate love arises to take its place. If passionate love is the cocaine of love, companionate love is like having a glass of wine. One is at the apex of the passionate-love phase. People get all excited and dive in headfirst.

Aziz Ansari Discusses the Digital Age in 'Modern Romance'

A new couple, weeks or months into a relationship, high off passionate love, goes bonkers and moves in together and gets married way too quickly. Sometimes these couples are able to transition from the passionate stage to the companionate one. The second danger point is when passionate love starts wearing off. This is when you start coming down off that initial high and start worrying about whether this is really the right person for you. Your texts used to be so loving: Now your texts are like: Hey, that dog you made us buy took a dump in my shoe.


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But Haidt argues that when you hit this stage, you should be patient. With luck, if you allow yourself to invest more in the other person, you will find a beautiful life companion. I had a rather weird firsthand experience with this. I was alone, because my friend did me a huge solid and declined to give me a plus one. Which, of course, is the best. You get to sit by yourself and be a third wheel. The vows in this wedding were powerful.

They were saying the most remarkable, loving things about each other. Without you, my soul has eczema. Did they call it off too early, at their danger point? Did I have what those people had? At that point, no. But for some reason, I felt deep down that I should keep investing in my relationship—as my father did, after those fateful 30 minutes of literally sizing up my mother—and that eventually that level of love would show itself.

And so far, it has.