The Secret Mathematical Algorithm For Finding The Love Of Your Life

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Finally: Math is put to good use.

Want to know how to get your dream job or the perfect mate? Just do the math.

You may have thought you'd never need math once you got out of school, but it's funny how the principals of math still influence our daily lives. We do math when we're figuring how many minutes we have left for the month, or when we bake and want to double a recipe. 

But according to mathematician Hannah Fry, a basic mathematical principal can help you in almost any situation, and that includes your love life. In her new book, The Mathematics of Love, Fry explains how it always works in your favor if you take the initiative.

In her TED talk, Fry said, "I think we can all agree that mathematicians are famously excellent at finding love. But it's not because of our dashing personalities, superior conversational skills, and excellent pencil cases. It's because we've actually done an awful lot of work into the math of how to find the perfect partner."

What possible math equation can help your life?

Fry suggests that using the "Gale-Shapley" matching algorithm can be a great strategy for getting what you want.

An algorithm (it's probably been awhile since you studied math) is a process or a set of rules to be followed in calculations or other problem solving operations. In other words, it's a set of steps to help you work out a predicament or puzzle.

And since there's nothing more puzzling than the ways of love, Fry gives an example of how the Gale-Shapley works.

Three boys are chatting with three girls at a party. Each participant has a list starting with who is the most suitable for them to go home with.

If this were a 1950's-style dating situation in which it was up to the boys to approach the girls, each boy would make the moves on his top choice girl. And if the boy was turned down, he'd then approach his second-choice girl.

This works out great for the boys, as each one gets his first-or-second-choice pick. Plus, there's no way the boys could do better, because their top choices have said yes or already rejected them.

The girls (and thank goodness it's not the 1950's anymore) don't do as well as the boys, having been paired with their second-or-third-choice.

Regardless of how many boys and girls there are, it turns out that whenever the boys do the approaching, there are four outcomes that will be true:

  1. Everyone will find a partner.
  2. Once all partners are determined, no man and woman in different couples could improve their happiness by running off together.
  3. Once all partners are determined, every man will have the best partner available to him.
  4. Once all partners are determined, every woman will end up with the least bad of all the men who approach her.

Still confused?

What this love algorithm is suggesting is that whoever does the asking (and is willing to face rejection until receiving the best available option) is better off. Meanwhile, the person who waits for advances settles for their last option. 

In conclusion, Fry says, "I believe that mathematics is so powerful that it has the potential to offer us a new way of looking at almost anything. Even something as mysterious as love."

Don't wait for someone to call you. Send your resumes out to your dream job, and ask out that cute guy you always see at the coffee shop. Nothing will happen if you don't do something.

Learn more about the Gale-Shapley algorithm, and Fry's connections between math and love, by watching her Ted talk:


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