This article will address, through personal anecdotes and statistical data, the best way to maximize your experience on two of the most popular dating-technologies. (TLDR: How to get chicks, bro!) (or guys, girl!)(or people, person!)
OKCupid uses a match percentage system, similar to some other popular sites. They develop your suggested matches based upon the (up to thousands of) survey questions that you choose to answer. Each user-submitted/admin-screened question, ranging from vanilla to deranged, comes with a subsequent rating of "how important is this question/answer/topic to you". In this way you can answer many questions, and designate which are more crucial to your values system, and which answers/topics are more flexible or even irrelevant. Answering the questions alone is quite a bit of good fun, if you have a few hours to invest. Be aware that they can get VERY personal, detailed, and graphic. So if you don't want your fetishes, traumas, and dirty little secrets to become public internet fodder, you can opt to "skip" certain questions. However, the more questions you answer, the more finely honed your suggested matches become.
Some users swear by the all-mighty match percentage system, and others pay it very little mind when surfing the site. Anecdotally (but with a significant sample-size), I can tell you that after answering many hundreds of questions, it has become clear that there is some kind of validity in the match percentage. How/why? Some experiments to try: Fill out a few hundred questions, and then visit the profiles of your nearest and dearest friends. I am willing to bet that the people you choose to let closest to you range from 70-90something percent match. After that, try perusing the profiles of a handful of people with a low match percentage (and a high enemy percentage), and see how off-put you are by their values/interests/intellect/personality. The match percentage need not be your foolproof bible, but I promise that it makes a pretty decent guidepost.
Handily, if desired, you can then filter your incoming messages by "Only those with 70% match or higher", which I have found to be essential. If you are a woman, and you are reasonably attractive, you can plan on getting at least several inbox messages a day, the majority of which you will not want to respond to. If you receive 5 messages per day, you can count on one being near-illiterate (how R u dooin??), another being totally devoid of thought or personalization (How are you doin?), another being vulgar or superficial (How are you doin, gorgeous? Your pics make me so horny), another being a waste of time (how are you doing? I know we live 5 states away from each other and have nothing in common, but i just couldn't resist msging you), and perhaps the 5th message having some viable/worthwhile content. If you set up your 70% filter, you will primarily receive the 5th variety of message described above.
If you are a man (or any gender, really), take heed to the examples given above. Before you hit send, make sure you are not aligned with examples 1-4, if you want any hope of a response.
But before we fully address message content, we should first cover the most important part of internet dating: Profile content.
This number 1 priority may seem unfortunate in your idealized version of our oh-so advanced, open-minded and progressive world, but... too bad. We're dealing in the truth now, and the truth is sometimes ugly. You, however, cannot be. At least not in the photos you select for your internet dating profile. Luckily for you, in the age of smartphones, webcams, and instagram filters, there is no need to present any pictures that fail to portray you at your best. In terms of your photos, here are some helpful Dos and Do-Nots.
- Smile. In most of your photos you should look happy. People are attracted to other happy people.Some photos may have a serious/neutral facial expression, but those should be the minority.
- Include non-selfies: The non-selfie advise is especially important for guys. Too many selfies come off as overly narcissistic and somewhat effeminate. There's got to be someone else in this world willing to take a couple photos of you.
- Make sure that each of your photos is uniqueand different from the others. 5 bathroom selfies from the same angle will not cut it.
- Include full-faced, and full-body pics: If you have nothing but your face, or conversely nothing but your body with your face at a distance/obscured, this seems suspicious. Are you hiding something? If one or the other of these (face/body) is your less-than-perfect asset, at least learn your most flattering angles and pose. Present the browser with some sort of evidence that you aren't a morbidly obese dismembered head, or the cross-eyed phantom of the opera.
- Post some sort of action shot. Proof that you really do have hobbies and a life away from your computer (hiking, biking, with your dogs/kids, at a concert, with your friends at a party/bar, etc.)
- Make your profile picture anything other than yourself. Not your kids, not a group pic, not even your puppy. People may be making a split-second decision largely based on this photo. It should be of you, and only you, looking your very best.
- Include just 1 of 2 pictures. Any human on earth can take a decent one-off picture of themselves. This is too little information for your perspective mate. No one can make an accurate assessment of your appearance from just one or two angles. This can also come off as suspicious, like you've got something to hide.
- Post a topless pic, unless perhaps you have the body of Ryan Gosling. And even if it is, you better not be at the gym, or flexing in your own bathroom mirror. Let's at least pretend you happened to be at the pool or beach that day.
- Post a picture of you with your ex (or your opposite sex sibling/cousin/friend who could be mistaken for your ex). Seeing you snuggled up with someone else, is a turn off. Also don't post pics of you loving on your nieces/nephews. Even if you explain in the comments, the first perception is going to be that this is your child, and therefore a complication/baggage. If your kid(s) is a huge part of your life, and you want that known up front, feel free to include a demonstrative photo, but do not select this as your primary profile picture.
- Post any pics of yourself as a kid. When someone is sizing up your fuckability, they do not want to imagine you as a small child. (unless they are some sort of sicko, which you should avoid)
With the statements you publish on your profile, and your chosen verbiage-based-self, it is best to be mindful of your aim betwixt over-disclosing, and under-disclosing. It is important that the bullet points of your true values be accurate and clear. Go ahead and state your religion, your drinking/smoking status, your dietary restrictions, body type, and your offspring. These are things that are better to get out on the table early, rather than risk being seen as dodgy, fake, or sneaky later on.
However, it is best to leave a few things a mystery. Not only because people like to uncover intriguing info, but also because over-disclosing can come off as desperate, or stubborn.
Profile content Tips:
- Show, don't Tell - Don't tell me that you have a lovely smile or pretty eyes. Just demonstrate those assets in your pictures. And please do not tell me that you are funny, witty, or clever. If that is the case, then it will be made clear in your profile. Which leads to:
- Be Funny! A sense of humor is hugely important in attraction, so a significant dose wit, sarcasm, or silliness in your profile content can go a long way.
- Be unique. If there is something special or different about you, some talent or interest or skill, mention that thing. Don't be afraid to stand out. It might make all the difference.
So you have found someone appealing that you'd like to chat with. What now? First there is the passive approach, which includes simply visiting their profile with your viewable visitors turned on. This means they will see that you checked out their page, and then likely they will check out yours. If you are lucky they will take the initiative and send you a message. The second slightly less passive approach is to give their profile a "star". This indicates that you saw something you liked, and the other user should receive an alert or email that you gave them said star-o-interest. Again you can hope that they visit your page, and star you back, or send you a message. These methods are low-risk, and can be useful if you are someone who struggles making the first cyber-move.
Your first message Tips:
- Make it personalized. - Not so personal that it appears you spent hours pouring over the details of their profile or match questions. Just enough to make it clear that this isn't a one-size-fits-all introductory message that you send to every potential connection you find. Comment or inquire about some part of their profile you found interesting. Don't overly analyze it or ask deeply probing questions inappropriate for a first message. Simply make it known that you actually read the front page of their profile, and perhaps share a commonality, etc.
- Say something funny. - Again, a sense of humor is a huge draw to either sex, so if you can crack a relevant joke or display your wittiness, definitely do. This may come in the form of sarcasm with a wink face, or if you use ir properly, a playful tease or jab.
- Be complimentary, but moderate this! - Too many or too intense of compliments in the first message(s) can come off as creepy. Use compliments sparingly, when appropriate/relevant. You want to be perceived as cautiously interested, not a fan-boy/girl belly-up in a fishnet. You're already showing some of your cards by sending the other person a message. Offset this by maintaining that you still might be a challenge.
- Keep it brief. - Nothing overwhelms like a 2 page essay from a total stranger. This screams that you have no life, and are lonely enough that you feel the need to pour your as of yet unreciprocated heart out to a total stranger.
- Give the person something to respond to. - In order to increase the likelihood of a response and a forward-moving conversation, you must motivate the other person to send a reply. This usually comes in the form of a question. Common mistakes are questions that are too broad/boring "How are you?/ How was your weekend?", or too specific/closed-ended. "How long have you been playing the guitar? How many tattoos do you have? What are your dogs names?". Your question should be one that the other person is likely going to want to answer, and the answer will have to be more than a few words long.
- Send just one message. Two max, if you must. - If they do not respond to your first message within a few days, 90% odds that they are not interested. If you must make sure they don't fall in the 10% who simply forgot or needed an extra nudge, you may send one follow up message at after at least several days have passed. If they do not respond to your second message, they are 100% not interested right now, and any additional messaging will only serve to push them further away. Move on. Often persistence is read as desperation, which is NOT attractive.
Tinder is much more superficial and simple than OKC, but equally fun and addictive. There are no survey questions or match ratings/percentages. The only info required is your first name, sex, and age. You are given one paragraph on your "profile" to include whatever information you feel is important/relevant, and that is all. You are able to filter your match possibilities by sex, age range, and distance/miles from your current location.
When using this app the only thing the other users see initially is your name, age, and photo. They then must choose to X or <3 you (swipe you left, or swipe you right), based on whether or not they are interested. Although there is the paragraph of information available on your profile, the user must click a third "i" information button to be able see this, and to browse your other photos. The majority of the time the person will make the decision without this extra step, and therefore solely based on your primary profile photo.
With this knowledge, please refer to the photo advice in the OKC section. All the same rules/tips apply. On Tinder you can add up to 6 total photos, but your main pic is by far the most crucial. It had better be of YOU, alone, smiling, with a little more than just your face, and lookin' fantastic. Feel free to get more creative in the other photos, but keep in mind that potential matches will only ever see these photos if they are lured in enough by your first one, and want to take a deeper look. Otherwise it's just instantaneous left-swipe city for you.
Sidenote: A strange meme on Tinder, primarily among men, is to include a photo of yourself with a tiger.(typically some kind of tourist trap, tranquilized-looking animal.) Use this information as you will.
In your allotted profile paragraph, make sure to at least write *something*. Ideally include a couple key points about yourself/your interests. Make at least one joke if possible. Also in Utah it is common etiquette to indicate whether or not you are LDS/mormon.
You cannot simply opt to message anyone on Tinder, at first. You can only express interest, or disinterest. If you designate interest (heart shape or right swipe), your pic/profile will soon show up in the rotation of that person's possibilities. If one person says yes, and the other says no, you will never be shown each other again. That single moment can be both the beginning and swift/decisive end to your eternal match potential. If however you both say yes, you are informed by Tinder with an "It's a Match!" alert, and message in your inbox. You may now communicate with one-another through the app.
Again, refer to the first-approach advice given above. All the same applies here. If after chatting you decide that the person is not your cup of tea after all, there is an "un-match" option, which will render this person non-existent in your tinder-sphere for the rest of time.