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M

The downsides of choice

I saw an advert on facebook recently for a beautiful necklace with the cross and word FAITH incorporated into it. I bought it straight away thinking how lovely it was and how happy I’d be wearing it around my neck.

Then something interesting happened.

The people selling this piece of jewellery are clever. After I’d paid, they offered me a matching ring, then a bracelet, then another chain with a different emblem on it. And in the follow up emails I’ve had from them (which have been lots) I’ve been offered all sorts of other bits and pieces – all of which, I must say, are lovely.

The piece of jewellery I’ve ordered hasn’t arrived yet but now I’m wondering if I’ve bought the right piece (in other words…. the best piece) and whether I’d have rather had a necklace with a different word on it – like Jesus or hope or love. A little bit of dissatisfaction and unease has crept in.

But remember I was delighted with my initial purchase and thought the word ‘faith’ was lovely.

A little bit of dissatisfaction and unease has crept in.

It strikes me that choice is NOT always a good thing. And this is definitely the case in dating I believe.

Now you already know I want you to walk up the aisle (if marriage is what you are looking for) with someone you truly love and want to make a life with.

But I definitely don’t believe there’s only one of them.

When you have endless choice – and that’s certainly one of the problems of modern day dating sites and apps –  you’re always comparing and thinking maybe I’d prefer something – someone else. Rather than looking at a few people and choosing someone you like (and most probably could be very happy with) like I did with my necklace purchase, you begin to see the alternatives (which in the case of my jewellery certainly wouldn’t make me  any happier) and get stuck wondering if x or y characteristic would be better for you.

It’s not uncommon for me to be talking to a member at the end of their membership and be reviewing with them all the profiles we’ve sent them. Often it’s way over 100 – and in some cases over 200 or 300. Bearing in mind these are all Christians, don’t you think it says more about them, than the people we’ve sent them, if they haven’t been able to find one out of that many to get to know really well.

(Of course the reality is they’ve given most of them a quick cursory look and decided to move on….)

There’s no doubt that if that original facebook ad for the jewellery had give me 5, or even 10, necklace options I would NOT have purchased.

For one I’d have had to spend my time looking at each one and considered whether I liked one compared to the others – trying to find the ‘best’ one – the one I liked most of all. Indecision would have set in, let alone unease about whether I’d made the best choice.

Now clearly finding a life time partner and buying a piece of (cheap) jewellery are very different but I do think there’s a lesson to be learnt here.

And the lesson is more choice isn’t necessarily a good thing. It doesn’t necessarily get you a better outcome or make you happier.

More choice isn’t necessarily a good thing

It’s worth bearing this in mind next time you receive a set of profiles from us.