This is How Many Times You Have to Swipe Left on Tinder to Find “The One”

A very smart woman from London, U.K. has applied mathematics where it otherwise has no place at all: the world of online dating.

University College London lecturer Hannah Fry recently used the aptly named theory ‘knowing the optimal time to stop’ in order to determine how many people you should pass up before zeroing in on your soulmate.

Which, in today’s language, translates to how many times you should swipe left (decline a match) before switching directions and swiping right on future bae.

The theory Fry used was first popularized in the 1950s – then called “the secretary problem” or “the marriage problem” – and concerns decision-making under uncertainty. It’s supposed to help people know when they’ve found the right choice and when to stop looking; maximizing the probability of choosing the best person, while reducing the risk or rejecting that person and they go elsewhere.

According to the theory, finding the right person to date or marry is most likely after you’ve passed 37 per cent of the other options.  That’s right, if you’re looking to find true love with an app, you’re going to have to swipe through 37 per cent of Tinder – which is no small task if you live in a large city like Toronto.

Or, more number-y, per University of Sydney professor Mark Colyvan:

It can be shown mathematically that the optimal strategy, for a large applicant pool (i.e. when n is large) is to pass over the first n/e (where e is the transcendental number from elementary calculus—the base of the natural logarithm, approximately 2.718) applicants and accept the next applicant who’s better than all those previously seen. This gives a probability of finding the best secretary (mate) at 1⁄e or approximately 0.37.

And if you happen to find love at first swipe, well, consider it the raging middle finger to calculus you’ve been waiting to unleash since high school.