The Crazy Things We Google for Love

The Crazy Things We Google for Love

The other day at the office, we all had a chat about ridiculous things we’ve done in a haze of love and utter desperation. One of the guys once texted a girl so frequently that she ended up rejecting him in cold blood with the phrase “my fingers are in too much pain to write any more messages”. As for another guy, the dark and twisted ways of love caused him to do the unthinkable – bending the knee that is.

Reminiscing about my own past blunders, one of the dumbest things I’ve ever done is falling in love with a girl months before I had to move to the opposite part of the country. But is falling in love a bad thing? Nope, of course not, but deciding to keep my distance and wait it out for months only to hook up with her at a festival weeks after I’d moved, now that wasn’t exactly the best thing to do.

Our brief relationship didn’t last, of course, and instead of listening to my calm and collected conscience, I ended up with a broken heart and an extremely condescending voice in my head screaming I THOUGHT WE HAD AN AGREEMENT! I’m sure we’ve all made mistakes – or at least so would most of us like to believe.

Enough about us

After all, the mistakes of others can make our own seem a bit more natural and explainable, and no matter the shame and disgust we might feel about our actions, there’s always comfort in knowing that you don’t stand completely alone. And so, while licking our wounds from past glory days, the office voted unanimously in favour of finding out what humiliating hurdles average Joe stumbles upon in his life.

What might be the most common challenges that most of us face in the pursuit of love, and what stories could we possibly tie these scenarios to? To find out, I plunged headfirst into the vast ocean of Google’s search engine and its endless stream of questions that people with troubled hearts need answered.

Dear Google, am I in love?

What struck me first was the fact that when it comes to getting to know yourself and your feelings, apparently, lots of people rely on quizzes for guidance. I found loads of differing phrases with the keywords love and quiz, but the outstanding juggernaut was clearly “am I in love quiz” with 1,500 searches a month. Additionally, “how to tell if you love someone quiz” and “how to know if you’re in love quiz” have a combined 10,200 searches a year – and that’s all in the UK alone.

If we look at a larger scale, the English-speaking citizens of planet earth thirsting for love quizzes could populate a fairly large city with a combined 193,200 searches per year. Of course, there’s a slight chance that lovestruck teenage girls are responsible for 90 percent of the work, but that’s just my clumsy prejudice based on nothing.

However, what’s perhaps more interesting is that even though we find ourselves as part of a couple, we still like an occasional quiz on whether we are still in it for the long run. Of course, feelings are difficult to interpret, and I for one have surely been unable to analyse myself from time to time. On that note, if you do find yourself relying on quizzes to tell you if you love your partner, perhaps you already know what time it is.

Girls, boys, and stinky towels

In the UK, the phrase “am I in love with my boyfriend quiz” has 70 searches per month, and – interestingly enough, when I searched for the same phrase only with girlfriend instead of boyfriend, there were basically no results.

In other words, I guess that boys just assume that they love their partner, or at least they don’t seem to rely on quizzes to tell them what they feel. However, boys will be boys, and perhaps we’re just too preoccupied with football, Minecraft, or something else with more importance than our relationship.

On the other hand, if I may be serious for just a second, my research shows that there seems to be far more interest in the boyfriends and husbands than the other way round. It does seem that women are more inclined to turn to Google for answers – perhaps best explained with the phrase “why does my husband’s towel stink after he showers” stacking up 500 searches per month worldwide.

Sometimes, in my opinion, it’s better to let it go and accept that you can’t know everything. Still, I acknowledge that it might be difficult to resist the urge to jump down the rabbit hole and find out why 500 husbands have smelly towels, and if you can’t help finding out after reading this, I take full responsibility.

In the end though, what’s wrong with a little bit of mystery? I think I’ll choose to stay blissfully ignorant on this one.

All the single googlers, all the single googlers

Now, if you think that I’ve been a bit harsh on the fairer sex, don’t worry – the tables are about to turn. That’s right, the singles bar has just opened, and I’m sorry guys, but I’m afraid the room is reeking of testosterone. Of course, I’m hugely generalizing and only basing my conclusions on people’s googling history, but still, I might actually be up to something here.

When focusing on what desperate singles might need answers for, the mammoth question was “if he likes me why is he still online dating” with 250 searches per month in the UK – 900 worldwide. In comparison, the phrase “if she likes me why is she still online dating” only has 40 in the UK and 250 worldwide.

This tells us one of two things: either men are more prone than women to keep fishing after they’ve already got a fish on the line, or perhaps women are just better at riding two (or several?) horses at once. Now that I think about it, I guess both could be absolutely possible.

Welcome to the friend zone

Although women might have trouble with lovers clinging to the bachelor lifestyle and not wanting to commit, when it comes to avoiding rejection, female singles clearly seem to have the upper hand. A field that most guys these days are familiar with is the friend zone – the root of all humiliation and the excruciating desperation that comes with it. Trust me, it’s the worst.

Still, with 186,000 searches per month, it’s a hugely popular topic. To be more specific, every year, 21,600 people google the phrase “how to get out of the friend zone with a girl”. And why is this so significant? Well, if you search for the same phrase only with boy at the end instead of girl, there are fewer than 10 occurrences… every month… ON THE WHOLE PLANET!

Women all over the world are refusing to take part in friend zones – and so should you! It can’t possibly be healthy to face rejection over and over again, and so, if you find yourself caught in the trap, it’s entirely okay to abandon ship and swim for land. I can’t promise there won’t be sharks, but then again, what’s the difference if your ship is sinking? Dare to be an optimist!

Don’t go ghost hunting

Perhaps, yet again, I might have to stress the fact that I’m in no way trying to make women the baddies. On the contrary, I think we men could learn a lot from women when it comes to administrating our love life. Based on my shallow research, girls are just more prone to stand up for themselves and their feelings and better at walking away from a disaster.

Another example of this theory is when it comes to ghosting – you know, when someone all of a sudden just ignores you and slowly vanishes from your existence. I’ve seen it firsthand, and from other sources I know that it’s quite a common thing in the world of online dating.

But guess what – according to my research, men are once again making a fool of themselves. The phrase “how to get a girl back if she is ignoring you” has 80 searches per month in the UK and 300 in the world, and here’s the thing: the phrase “how to get a boy back if he is ignoring you” doesn’t even exist in the system.

However, I am not saying that women don’t experience ghosting – I’m merely emphasizing that women aren’t naive enough to kid themselves that there can be a happy ending to ghosting. If he or she is completely ignoring, just let it go. Of course, it’s an extremely impolite way of telling someone that they’re no longer interested and being on the other end of it can be extremely humiliating.

Therefore, if you should ever consider ghosting someone – and especially if it’s a guy, please just say you’re sorry but it’s over. Otherwise, the dude just might lay awake at night googling how to regain your attention. And to the ladies out there falling prey to ghosting, don’t do as us guys – keep calm and carry on. He probably isn’t worth it anyway.

Hope for the Hopeless

Carpe diem

Finally, it’s time for the main event. It’s been interesting to ramble on about my findings in the search for the most common challenges that most of us face in our love life – singles as well as couples. Though it was never my intention, comparing the sexes is always good fun, and whether we agree or disagree on my silly assumptions, it’s been lovely to have you with me on the journey.

However, besides from the earlier reveals, I also hoped that my quest would lead me to something ridiculously interesting – something I hadn’t even thought about before, and boy oh boy did I hit the mother lode. As I mentioned in the beginning, it’s nice to know that you’re not the only one dealing with a problem, but what’s even more soothing than that is witnessing someone whose challenges make your own seem silly and somewhat easy to manage – I guess that’s the foundation upon which reality TV was built, right?

Of course, getting rejected by someone you fancy is no fun. However, at least in most cases anyway, you can grab a spoon and try a new flavour of ice cream, as Joey Tribbiani from Friends eloquently put it. However, if we stick to that figure of speech, what do you do if you don’t even like ice cream? What are you supposed to do if you’re in love with a person who doesn’t even exist?

In love with a fairy tale

Let’s cut to the chase. Each month, 60 people in the UK google “in love with a fictional character” – and 700 in the English-speaking world. Of course, people might just be googling the phrase because they are curious about the subject and want to learn more. However, the phrases “I’m in love with a fictional character” and “why am I in love with a fictional character” both score 30 searches each per month in the UK and a combined 600 worldwide.

If you yourself currently are or previously have experienced this condition, I’m terribly sorry, and I can only imagine the struggle and confusion of being in love with a fictional character. If we are to compare it with anything, let’s say you’re in love with a celebrity whom you’ve never met. Of course, the chances of you and your celebrity crush hitting it off are quite slim, but at least there’s a theoretical possibility that it actually might happen.

Maybe, just maybe?

However, the heart wants what the heart wants, and if that is to be in a relationship with a fictional character… well, let’s just say you’re screwed. In this case, the ‘person’ can’t even reject you – you’re rejected by default. Still, as we’ve been through earlier, boys can be incredibly naive and optimistic, and I’m sure that girls can have the same capacity if desperate enough.

Just because your crush doesn’t exist, why should that be an obstacle? Well, I could come up with a couple of reasons, but maybe I’m too pessimistic. In contrast, every month, about 100 of the world’s bravest souls have the mental strength to google “how to date a fictional character”. I must admit that I don’t have the imagination to follow this train of thought, but then again, who am I to judge?

Love works in mysterious ways. What’s important to take from this is that no matter what you’re going through – heartaches, breakups, and what not – remember that some people are hopelessly in love with a fictional character and contemplating how to bend the fabric of the universe in order to turn a date with their crush into reality.

About the investigation

Using the website ahrefs.com and its Keyword Explorer, I have analysed about 2000 questions and phrases asked on Google in search for both interesting and significant results.

Ahrefs is an SEO tool used to gain insight on monthly searches for keywords and phrases. Ahrefs get their data from multiple sources including the Google Keyword Planner.