Is It OK To Keep A Dating Spreadsheet?

Here at Lifehacker we're big believers in using spreadsheets to track and organise your life. But we're in two minds about whether it makes sense to maintain a dating spreadsheet that includes details such as your impression of someone's online dating profile.

Picture by Scott Barbour/Getty Images

The story of David Merkur, a New York investment banker who maintained a spreadsheet of women he had met on, has quickly spread around the internet. Arguably, Merkur's biggest mistake wasn't making the spreadsheet, but agreeing to share it with one of the women he dated. She emailed it on to friends and it quickly became a viral sensation.

Most decisions are better informed by data, and if you're dating a lot of people casually, keeping notes makes sense. Clearly, though, sharing those notes with others is a bad idea. That's my take; what's yours?

Banker rates dates in a spreadsheet — then shares the file with one of them [New York Post]


    Not cool. Raise serious concern on your ability to remember this kind of stuff.

    If you like a girl, or at minimum like an aspect of her, maybe great sex, or great cook, or good show-off body, you'll remember her for that reason(s). If you don't like one for whatever reason, she will be forgotten easily and trust me, it is better not to remember her at all.

    I have no problem with it. It could help avoid forgetting names, occupations and other important details.

    hey if it works for you do it.. eventually you'll meet another who is also into this kind of thing & then you can start building your own spreadsheets together.

    personally it's not my thing.

    He describes himself as "someone who works with spreadsheets every day" and like a man who only has a hammer everything looks like a nail.
    Since his is not using any of the maths functions in the spreadsheet and is just using it as a table, he should have done it in a word processor. This main data is the comments on the women and text is much easier to format in a word processor. I think that was his first mistake.

      I disagree. Excel affords you to manipulate the visibility of cells/columns to suit your screen size needs. He may very well be accessing this spreadsheet on his laptop, big monitor, tablet, etc...

      And that's just storing data, imagine what he could do generating reports and graphs!

      I'd go the other way - this is better suited for a proper database than excel. SQL, a basic web interface for adding/searching data (phone acessible), a rating system, and some nice regular reports. The more you put in, the more you get out.

      with a fancy learning algorithm you could get a running estimate of how compatible you are with each woman and your best prospects for the week. And then you're about 80% of the way to running your own dating site anyway...

    I'm sorry, but listing girls you are dating in a spreadsheet pants-on-head retarded. If he were honestly and truly attracted to any of these girls, he wouldn't have needed the spreadsheet.

    He claims he is someone who works with spreadsheets everyday. So? I play multiplayer video games most days, does that mean I should poll random strangers online about a girl I'm dating?

    I think what he did was stupid. He's probably not a bad guy, but I don't think he gets it. There should be chemistry.

      I'm not quite sure why your playing online games means you would poll people online about girls your dating?? This guy was keeping track of info not unable to judge girls for himself.

      His comment about being a spreadsheet kind of guy is meant to indicate why he used a spreadsheet instead of scribbled an aide-memoire on a napkin or something as other people may do if they don't want to forget something.

        My point is: If someone is forgettable, then they aren't the person for you.

          This works for you, maybe. But never assume that other people remember things the same way you do.

          Just because someone is unforgettable does not mean you can't forget details. I can't remember names to save my life. I've met girls that have been fascinating & I can remember the most inane details about but their name ... nope.

          You can argue that dating some many women is wrong. You can argue his spreadsheet design was poor. However to argue that writing things down so you don't forget them is kind of link arguing written language is wrong.

    i just use the star (*) system in my phone, 1 for dud, 5 for dynamo

    Don't see what the problem is - what's the difference between merely holding an opinion of someone (which we all do) and jotting down details so you don't forget something (easily done if you're busy or just 'like that' with info).

    This is all just media 'outrage' because it's a - gasp - spreadsheet! People us different tools to keep track of details, be it a post-it on a fridge or something else. If this guy is a spreadsheet kind of guy then so be it, it doesn't make him a monster.

    Looks to me like this was an online dating situation where he was doing what EVERYONE who uses online dating does and engaging with multiple people, hoping to meet one who really clicked. I don't see the problem with keeping a few notes. What's the difference between this and a girl keeping a diary, or a guy keeping a little black book? Emailing it to someone was colossally stupid though.

      Hell yeah - his error is not in keeping the spreadsheet (everyone judges and ranks everyone else as soon as you meet them) - it was in distributing the spreadsheet.
      Rookie mistake.

    anyone got a copy of this spreadsheet?

    Online dating can be quite hectic at times if you're dating a lot of girls. How he manages these relationships is none of my business. He probably shouldn't have given it to that women, but it is only his opinion and it does look as though he learnt from his mistakes.

    This is just an electronic version of the old little black book. I agree with Jimmy - if you're dating a lot (say more than once a week) then it's hard to keep track.

    The bad person in this piece is the person who violated another persons trust - aka the woman who shared the spreadsheet. Does it really matter if you keep data in your head or your computer?

    I agree with Lindsay... The spreadsheet seems fine, but the girl who shared it - not so much. I'd date him!

    the question is, what's wrong with the bitch who shared it?! Although he was an idiot for showing her in the first place. Sad to think he couldn't trust her with something that was supposed to be private.

    If you are doing online dating and meeting more than two women, then a spreadsheet seems like a great way to keep track of personal facts and attributes. I ran across this recently which formalizes the whole dating spreadsheet concept, and has taken input from a group of people who use it ...

    No harm in trying it out - I find it useful, not insulting at all.

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now