When dating, you may typically encounter the relationship escalator, which is a social script for how relationships are supposed to unfold that is oriented around default societal expectations. Potential partners are supposed to follow a progressive set of steps and achieve specific visible milestones towards a clear goal.

This escalator frequently looks like:

  1. Meet on a dating app
  2. Go on a few dates
  3. Hold hands, kiss
  4. Become romantically exclusive
  5. Fall in love
  6. Meet the parents
  7. Have a long weekend together
  8. Vacation together
  9. Move in together
  10. Get engaged
  11. Get married
  12. Buy a house
  13. Have kids
  14. Have a dog

Of course the steps are approximate and may not unfold literally in this order, but it should be pretty close. Moreover, where you are on this escalator and how long it has been since the previous step is often used to judge whether a relationship is sufficiently significant, serious, good, healthy, committed, etc. and to tell whether the relationship is worth pursuing.

Effective altruists, as a community though, are rarely mainstream like this. This suggests that it may be helpful for EAs looking to date other EAs to have a very different and more customized social script to follow to judge how their unique EA relationship is unfolding.


I recommend the EA relationship escalator look like this:

  1. Meet at EA Global but definitely do not flirt
  2. Re-meet at a house party where flirting is allowed
  3. Comment on their EA Forum posts
  4. Reach out on their “Date Me” doc
  5. Go on a few dates
  6. Become awkwardly personally and professionally intertwined
  7. Thoroughly assess together the conflicts of interest inherent in your relationship
  8. Talk to your HR department
  9. Talk to their HR department
  10. Talk to the CEA Community Health team
  11. Make a spreadsheet together to thoroughly quantify the relevant risks and benefits of your romantic relationship
  12. Decide to go for it
  13. Finally hold hands, kiss
  14. Synchronize your pomodoro schedules together
  15. Create a shared Complice coworking roomCuckoo coworking room for just you two
  16. Take the same personality tests and quantify each other
  17. Introduce them to your polycule, hope they get along
  18. Fall in love
  19. Move in to the same EA group house
  20. Synchronize your GWWC pledge donation schedules
  21. Have your relationship details exposed by a burner account on the EA Forum
  22. Have the EA Forum moderator team encode your relationship details in rot13
  23. Meet the parents
  24. Vacation together, but exclusively touring various EA hubs
  25. Decide to fight the same x-risk
  26. Raise free range chickens together, start an animal sanctuary
  27. Create a Manifold market around whether or not you will get married
  28. Get engaged
  29. Get married
  30. Maximize utility

Hopefully this EA Relationship Escalator helps give young EAs a social script to be able to find love with each other and be able to understand where their relationship currently is at.

After all, you may spend 80,000 hours of your life in a good marriage so it’s important to get this right!





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Extremely accurate. Speaking as someone who met his boyfriend at EA Global.

We have a shared complice room.

My last EA break-up was rough. She went all in on step #31: Bad mouth your ex until they get in trouble.

Omgosh, understanding this joke requires more context than all the text of the FTX terms of service!

My god! This truly made me smile😂. EA Humor is a thing, I just discovered 😂.

This is my favorite April fool's post yet! And I like most of them.

Best one so far

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