There's a scientifically-proven way to win at online dating. Um, it's easier than we thought.
If you’re single and ready to not be, chances are you’ve dabbled in online dating. And sure, sometimes the idea of involving algorithms or stark data in your love life can feel pretty unromantic. But as it turns out, having a method to your love-madness is a pretty efficient way of finding someone to couple up with (and also save you some serious time).
That sound you hear is scientists and researchers saying ‘I told you so’ and laughing maniacally.
Because now, thanks to a new study by two British researchers—Khalid Khan, an epidemiologist at Queen Mary University of London and Sameer Chaudhry, an internist at the University of North Texas in Dallas—we have some surprising new tricks for making the most of swiping right. Wanting to understand what takes people from electronic communication to face-to-face dates (because, Chaudhry claims, his personal OD struggle was real), these two geniuses combed through 86 different studies on the topic and reported their discoveries in Evidence Based Medicine.
Some things they discovered were obvious: playful usernames go over better than negative-sounding ones and happy photos where you’re in the center of the frame are more successful than depressing pictures where you’re partially cut-off. You know, look like you’re a nice, open person and all that. But there were also a few surprise tricks they discovered that are TOTALLY game-changing. For example:
Choose a username that starts with a letter from the beginning of the alphabet
Dr. Chaudrhy and Dr. Khan discovered that screen/user names that start with a letter in the top half of the alphabet attract initial interest better than those starting with a later alphabet. Why? We don’t know. Science isn’t there yet. But if you’re deciding between AllTomorrowsParties and YOLOgurl91 for your OKCupid username, go with option A.
Apply the 70:30 ratio to your online profile
The suggestion for a persuasive, effective profile is to use a 70:30 ratio: 70 percent self-description, 30 percent what you want in someone else.. In other words, when you’re writing your profile devote 70 percent of it to talking about yourself—your likes, who you are, what you do, all that good stuff. The other 30 percent? Use it to describe what you’re looking for in a partner. That’s the perfect balance, friends.
Rhyme when you’re sending a message. Seriously.
This is one of the more random discoveries: “Invitations were most successful in obtaining a response from the potential date when they: rhymed with their screen name or headline message; and extended genuine compliments.” Sounds like a plan, Stan. (I’m not good at this.)
Make the communication process super-spiffy
This research suggests that not only should online communication be in quick succession—get back to someone you like super-fast, none of this two-day delay rule. Also, the most effective way to get off the computer and on a date is to make a plan PREEEEETTTY speedily. So don’t drag out the banter for too long. Make a meet-up plan after some quickie back-and-forths and hop to it.
That last one is so true from my online dating experience. If I’ve matched with people on dating sites and a date doesn’t get suggested within a week, almost every time, it ends up not happening. I say these are all worth a shot if you want to up your online dating game. Need further proof? Chaudhry put these methods into practice himself and boom: he met someone and they just spent Valentine’s weekend in Rome. I’ll take one of those, thanks.
Oh and let’s not forget the best part of Khan and Chaudhry’s findings: the acknowledgements at the bottom of their very scientific published paper. They write, “The authors would like to thank the potential dates who turned down one of us repeatedly, encouraging us to think about the effectiveness of online dating.”