Appearance And Common Values Are Not That Important

No effect on one’s dating experience

The Data Collected
Your image of the perfect date may go something like this: A peaceful evening with a handsome man or a beautiful woman at your favorite quaint restaurant. The food is delicious and the conversation is enjoyable. You find that you have a lot of common values and interests.

If this is your assumption, then you may want to think again. A recent article that talks about the dating website OkCupid has shown that good looks and core values don’t have any effect on one’s dating experience.

How The Experiment Was Launched

The App: “Crazy Blind Date”

“Love is Blind Day” was launched by OkCupid on January 15, 2013; on this day all the user’s profile pictures were hidden from view. The day was held in as a promotion for a new mobile app called Crazy Blind Date. The app would send users on a blind date where the only thing they knew about their dating partners were their names.

Interesting Findings

Approximately 10,000 people used the app. As there was a post-date questionnaire interesting data about blind dates was collected. Christian Rudder, the co-founder of OKCupid and author of the book Dataclysm reveals that people generally like blind dates and, this is the interesting part, looks and how attractive a person was did not matter.

Rudder states: “The two people’s looks had almost no effect on whether they had a good time. No matter which person was better-looking or by how much—even in cases where one blind-dater was a knockout and the other rather homely—the percent of people giving the dates a positive rating was constant.”

So the attractiveness of a person did not affect the level of enjoyment experienced by the two people on the date.

What We Think We Like vs What We Really Like

What is not surprising is that when profile pictures are available people will choose to go on dates with good looking people. This may, however, not be doing them any favors as looks itself seems does not equate with having a good time. So what we think we will like and what we actually like may be two distinct things. This idea is explored by Rudder in his book Dataclysm.

Sam McNerney explains:

“Dataclysm is a book about a curious aspect of human behavior: the rift between what we think we’ll like, and what we actually like—what we say versus what we actually feel and do.”

Are common core values important?

Many people, when asked, will say that for a relationship to be successful both people need to share the same core values. For example, if someone is an avid vegan they are less likely to go out with a meat eater. However, core values may play a more minor role than we think.

Rudder says that the answer to mundane icebreakers such as “Do you like scary movies?” and “Have you ever traveled alone to another country?” can indicate if a relationship will last or not. If both couples have the same answers, be it yes or no, the relationship is likely to stand the test of time.


So next time you go on a date with someone perhaps you should consider going with an unexpected choice. You may like to consider someone who, in your eyes, is ordinary looking or someone who has different values to your own. Going against your instincts may yield surprising and positive results. You may find yourself enjoying the date to a greater extent than you would have ever anticipated. As Steve Jobs said: a lot of times we don’t know what we want until we experience it.


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