In a new analysis, researchers have discovered and compiled the most successful, and sometimes unusual, tactics for finding love in the world of online dating.
The findings, published in the journal Evidence Based Medicine, include unique suggestions, ranging from creating a catchy screen name to choosing photos to expressing humor.
For the study, researchers investigated which approaches tend to maximize a person’s chances of converting online contact into that all-important first face to face meeting.
To do this, they conducted an extensive search of relevant studies in the fields of psychology and sociology, as well as computer, behavioral, and neurocognitive sciences. Out of nearly 4000 studies, 86 met their inclusion criteria.
They found that the screen name chosen for an online profile is important. People should avoid names with negative associations, such as “Little” or “Bug”, and aim for something more playful, such as “Fun2bwith,” for example. Men are more drawn to names that indicate physical attractiveness, such as “Blondie” or “Cutie” while women go for names that signal intelligence, such as ‘Cultured.’
Interestingly, however, it may be even more important to start a screen name with a letter in the top half of the alphabet, say the researchers. That’s because several measures of success, such as education and income are linked to names at the beginning of the alphabet, added to which search engines sort names alphabetically. Looking at the profiles of other people you find attractive and using a similar screen name to theirs was also recommended.
As far as photos are concerned, it is important to include one that features a genuine smile that crinkles up the eyes, and possibly a tilt of the head. Women also tend to have more luck if they are wearing red, the evidence shows.
And don’t post only selfies. Prospective dates like to see group photos showing other people having a good time in your company.
It’s even better if you are right in the middle of the action and touching someone else (but only on the upper arm). This will help convey your friendliness, importance, and status. Incidentally, women find a man more attractive when they see other women smiling at him.
Don’t use complex language to try to appear more intelligent, because it won’t work, they say. People are naturally drawn to words that are easy to remember and pronounce, and ease of information processing increases likeability, the analysis shows.
“If you can get the potential date to stop and think about your headline message, increasing the exposure time to your primary photo, this will increase their liking [of you],” point out the researchers.
Men are drawn to physical fitness in women while women prefer bravery and risk-taking rather than kindness and altruism in men. Likeability is more attractive than academic achievement, and a profile that appears genuine is more likely to generate interest.
When it comes to humor, “show; don’t tell,” is the advice. A wittily written profile is likely to be far more successful than just saying that you have a sense of humor, say the researchers.