The summer can be a great time to start a new relationship. Maybe it’s that lingering ‘school’s out’ mentality that makes us feel young and carefree.
Or, hey, maybe it’s that people look better when they aren’t bundled up in an oversized turtleneck sweater.
Dating site Match told Business Insider that July tends to be one of its busiest months. Match’s chief scientific adviser, Helen Fisher, said that might be because summertime is the mating season in many species – and even though humans breed all year long, “increasing light does give us a sunny personality and more energy and optimism – all of which could increase our sexuality.”
If you’re thinking about joining a dating site in the near future, and if you’re somewhat terrified by the prospect of wading through thousands of nearby matches in the hopes of finding someone decent (who thinks you’re decent, too), we’ve got you covered.
Below, we’ve rounded up some of the most practical online-dating advice we’ve published in the last year. Read on to learn the tricks of the trade – and the biggest mistakes to avoid.
Choose a photo where you’re taking up space
Research suggests that we’re more attracted to people in expansive – as opposed to contracted – postures, even if we don’t consciously realise it.
Men especially appear more attractive to women when they’re holding their arms upward in a “V,” reaching out to grab something, or standing in another expansive position.
Whatever you do, avoid choosing a profile photo where you’re crossing your arms or hunched over.
Don’t choose a photo where you’re covering your face
Tinder’s in-house sociologist, Jess Carbino, told Business Insider that one of the biggest mistakes Tinder users make is obscuring their face in their profile photo. That includes wearing glasses or sunglasses, or even a hat.
The same logic likely applies to users on other dating services.
According to Carbino, we use people’s faces to make judgements about their personality, which are sometimes (but not always) accurate.
So if people can’t fully see your face, they might not be able to assess whether you’re extroverted or kind, for example. Meaning they just might move on to the next option.
Include a question in your profile
Carbino also told Business Insider that adding a question to your profile can make it easier for someone to message you, because they already have something to talk about.
For example, if you mention in your profile that you like to travel, list a few places you’ve been and then ask: “What’s your next destination?”
If you’re an art fan, cite artists whose work you enjoy and then ask: “Who’s your favourite artist?”
If you’re a woman, take the initiative to message a man
Recent data from OKCupid suggests that women (those who want to date men, anyway) fare a lot better when they muster the courage to message men.
In fact, OKCupid found that women are 2.5 times more likely to receive a response to their messages than men are.
Moreover, women who send the first message wind up meeting more attractive men than women who wait for a man to ping them, the report finds.
That’s because women generally message men who are five points more attractive (as rated by OKCupid users) than they are, while they typically receive messages from men who are seven points less attractive than they are.
Interestingly, OKCupid also found that men send 3.5 times the number of messages women send, suggesting that few women are aware of the advantages of stepping up to the plate.
That’s possibly because of lingering social stigma about women making the first move. Whitney Wolfe, the founder of dating app Bumble, on which women can message men but not the other way around, told Sophia Amoruso:
“I can’t tell you how many times in college I had a crush on a guy, or I thought a guy was cute, and I would text him, and my friends would be like, ‘You just committed the ultimate sin.’ Like, ‘What have you done? You texted him first?’”
Wolfe went on: “No thank you. .. It’s so outdated, and it’s so needed for something to come in and say ‘enough.’”
Don’t post a selfie
As Business Insider’s Nathan McAlone reported, selfies were 40 percent less likely to receive a like on dating app Hinge.
Put time and effort into crafting your profile
The more you put into your online dating experience, the more you’ll get out of it. It’s as simple as that.
Data from PlentyofFish reveals that users spend about 10 minutes creating their profile, on average – but those who spend about 20 minutes are twice as likely to leave the site in a relationship.
What’s more, POF users who add detail and photos to their profile are four times more likely to meet someone on the site than users who have minimal detail and no pictures.
Detail could mean anything from the sports you enjoy, to the cusines you love, to the languages you speak. The point is to give people something to talk to you about.