How to Date Effectively Like An Economist Would
When we think of the guy that gets all the girls we imagine him to be the CEO of some big-time company who goes sky diving on weekends and dines with dignitaries on Fridays.
He breeds award-winning horses and was a D-1 football player but decided not to go pro because he wanted to dedicate his time to the NGO he funded during a summer in college.
This guy is awesome.
This guy is, well, not an economist.
Yet despite our prejudices, economists know how to get down. I mean what woman wouldn’t want to strip naked and talk division of labor with this guy?
Alright, perhaps Karl Marx could’ve used the help of a stylist, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that thinking like an economist can seriously up your dating game and teach you how to date effectively.
Here are the most helpful economic principles that you can leverage to help you date effectively, like an economist (red; get more buns).
How To Date Effectively Like Marx (Sans The Beard)
Supply & Demand
With inflation affecting the housing market, used cars, and yes even chlorine used to clean pools we’re more cognizant than ever about the seesaw that is supply and demand.
But how can the principle of supply and demand change how we date?
Well, a few ways actually.
First, take a look at this map.
The map shows the cities with the highest gender imbalances.
As you can see, cities like San Francisco, San Jose, Man-Diego, and really every other major west coast city is buzzing with men all fighting it out for the handful of queen bees they can find.
Women on the other hand are found in abundance in cities central southern and east coast cities like NYC, El Paso, Memphis, D.C., and Philly.
If you live in a major tech hub on the west coast you know just how difficult it can be to find a single woman. Especially when men outnumber men by 50,000 in San Diego and by 20,000 in San Francisco.
But what are you going to do with this information? Are you really going to pack up shop and move to an east coast city flush with single women?
- 230,000 more single women than men in New York
- 70,000 more single women in Philadelphia
- 65,000 more single women in Washington, D.C.
Considering the recent exodus from major west coast cities, maybe, but probably not.
And it’s not like the concept gets any easier to apply when swiping on dating apps, especially when the two most popular dating apps offer ratios of 7 men for every 3 women (Bumble) and 9 men for every 1 woman (Tinder).
So far it seems like applying S&D to your love life is a bit of a cockblock, but that’s not entirely the case.
William Nicholson is an economist that has always struggled with love. One time he fell in love with a woman much quicker than he should’ve. Naturally, as his heart hijacked his behavior he began to inundate her with affection. He was surprised when she broke up with him, doing so because he “had been too nice.”
As an economist, this puzzled him.
In a market scenario, the easiest way to make something more attractive is to cut its price. To make something extremely unappealing you cut its supply big-time thus raising the product to exorbitant proportions.
However, this isn’t the case when it comes to attraction.
Nicholson realized that he could actually increase desirability by playing hard to get (i.e. decreasing supply of attention, affection, texts, etc.).
Restricting your time is the equivalent of a high-end watch company only making so many models of a certain watch.
You become a luxury brand.
So how do you apply this to your dating life?
The most effective way to weaponize supply and demand is to make sure:
- First dates last no more than an hour
- First dates are NEVER scheduled on Fridays or Saturday nights
Look you’re a busy and in-demand kind of guy.
You have better things to do than spend countless hours with a stranger any day but especially not on a day as valuable as Friday or Saturday.
This is another classic microeconomic theory.
Opportunity costs the value of the next best thing (after a decision has been made).
You can’t have everything.
When you go out with Beth on Friday you’re giving up the chance to play poker with the boys or binge LOTR for the umpteenth time.
Ya see when an economist makes the decision to buy a smoothie at Robeks, they’re asking themselves three questions:
- How much do I value this?
- What am I giving up now to have this?
- What am I giving up in the future for this?
You should be asking the same thing when you’re dating around.
Specifically, you should be asking yourself what you’re giving up when you become exclusive.
I don’t say this because I want you to become a serial dater. Rather I say it because it can be tempting to shack up with the first person you date. If you haven’t felt a woman’s touch in a while you can easily catch one-itis on a first date.
But ask yourself what you’re giving up when you choose to make the first person you’ve gone on a date with in years your girlfriend.
To understand your true worth as well as the worth of those around you, you’ll want to MegaDate. MegaDating is all about dating women prolifically and simultaneously in order to find a forever-woman that you’re highly compatible with ASAP.
Opportunity costs can also help us find the optimal partner.
But to do so we need to apply it to “the secretary problem.”
The Secretary Problem
Also known as “the sultan’s dowry problem” this mathematical problem will help you understand exactly who you should be settling down with.
Imagine for a moment that if you never settle down you’ll go on to seriously date 11 women.
After dating all of them it’d be pretty easy to select who’d you like to spend the rest of your life with. Though sadly this isn’t a Black Mirror episode, this is the real world.
Chances are you’re not going to date for the rest of your life and thus never know who you’re best suited to be with. To put yourself in the best possible position to choose the most compatible partner you’ll want to choose to settle down with the first person you date (that’s better than all the previous suitors) after already having dated and rejected 37% of your total lifetime suitors.
Of course, to know this you’d have to know how many lifetime suitors you’d have if you never married; that’s impossible, but be realistic with your estimation.
Sunk Cost Fallacy
Have you ever waited in line 5 minutes only to feel compelled to wait for 10 more because of the time you already invested?
What about watching the first 15 minutes of a movie, hating it, knowing that all you have to do is click a couple of buttons to pick a different movie but you keep watching regardless?
We do the same thing with relationships.
This phenomenon is called the sunk cost fallacy. It happens when a previous investment in one option leads to a continued investment in that option, despite it not necessarily being the best choice.
Whenever we consider ending a relationship we consider all we invested in it, the money, time, jokes, connections, dates, etc.
The thing is, previous investment doesn’t mean continued investment is merited.
We feel as though all that previous time will have been wasted if we stop seeing a woman, but that’s not the case. Those memories and good times are still there, but the person isn’t.
Don’t stay with someone you’re iffy about just because you went on a few dates with them.
MegaDating will make it easier to let go. Knowing that you have another date lined up around the corner makes it easier to move on.
Hyperbolic Discounting: How To Date Effectively as a Man
There are many magical firsts when it comes to dating.
The first date, time you touch her hand, kiss, vacation, etc. are special.
A unique combination of chemicals has an orgy unlike any other when you experience a romantic first with a new woman.
When you’re dating around it can be easy to keep doing so as you continue to chase this high.
This is the impact of hyperbolic discounting.
It’s when we opt for immediate rewards that might be smaller and less gratifying than future rewards that promise to be more rewarding.
Those future rewards might take the form of forming a meaningful connection, getting married, moving in together, and building a family.
We so often choose the more minor rewards because of our endless chase for quick gratification. This is also what leads us to Tinder while in the bathroom even while on a half-decent Tinder date.
We all know that losing sucks.
What we may not be aware of is that losing hurts twice as much as winning does.
This is what loss aversion tells us. This is why we often prefer to avoid losing instead of winning the equal and opposite gains.
Men get too fixated when they get ghosted, rejected, etc.
This disproportionate anxiety holds men back from taking risks (in particular talking to and asking women out).
We see the loss of getting rejected as greater than the equivalent opposite, being having a woman accept a date request.
People dwell on the negative without seeing the potential for a positive outcome.
The only way to deal with this fear is to:
1) Acknowledge the cognitive bias
2) Exposure therapy (ask out a bunch of women)
The part of the brain that triggers fear and floods your brain with cortisol will be less and less active the more you ask women out. Soon enough rejection will be as routine as brushing your teeth.
You’re 6’3, make 200k a year, are funny, and yes you own the cutest goddamn puppy in Brooklyn.
That’s good for you.
But none of that means a damn if you’re not effectively signaling.
Signaling is all about how well you convey your worth.
So let’s say you are all those amazing things, but if your only Bumble photos look like this, you’re not effectively communicating your worth and thus aren’t getting any matches.
Find a way to communicate your worth via dating apps.
Get your photos taken by a friend or professional, make sure you’re dressed well, show off your hobbies, and make damn sure you don’t upload any bathroom selfies.
It doesn’t take the brain of an economist to figure out that selfies with a toilet in the background don’t belong on dating apps.
You won’t begin to date like an economist overnight or after reading a few pages from renowned ladies-man Milton Friedman.
Join the Dating Decoded program to learn how to apply economic theories to the world of dating and start dating like an economist.