How to get better at online dating, according to science

In the world of online dating, first impressions (which is something you want, obviously) count for a lot. And one of the hardest things about online dating (apart from everything) is the agony of having to customise your own profile. Because you may be Mr Right but what you’re going for is Mr Right Now. Even if you’ve managed to score a right-swipe, there are plenty of potentially damaging minefields to navigate in between your struggle of kickstarting a fruitful conversation (and hoping you don’t get blocked on Tinder after your first line) and coming off as a deadbeat loser. This pain is such a turn-off for some people that the market has responded with special “online dating experts” and “scientists” who conduct actual research studies to zoom-in on useful tips on creating profiles, bios and predict what tone is most likely to cop you a real bait. Here’s three research-proven tips to flirt sensibly online and improve your swipe game.

It’s all in the profile pic

A picture speaks a thousand words and if your profile picture is a shirtless gym shot, she’ll assume all of them are “gains”. You don’t want her to think you’re a narcissist, even if you are. According to multiple studies, the two important features that are scientifically related to positive first impressions are a genuine smile, a slight head tilt and a pic at landmarks, especially foreign landmarks- which is a great conversation starter.

Never skip the bio section

Keep it light, maybe throw in a reference to something you like. Research shows that if your dating website or app requires you to fill in a profile headline, make it count. Focus more on things that will make you likeable and relatable. For example: kinds of activities you enjoy, your interests etc. Basically if they don’t learn anything about you from your bio, you’re also doing it wrong.

Getting blocked on Tinder after the first line? Science is here to help. We don’t have to tell you twice that initiating conversation is just as important as your profile pic and bio. Because once you’ve baited the fish, you’ve got to reel her in too. If your opening line is as generic as a ‘hey’ or ‘hello’, you’re already too boring to acknowledge. Be friendly and respectful. Demonstrating that you have a sense of humour can help. Look at her profile for a few ice-breakers and say something interesting. Brownie points if you say something witty or directly express your humour through a clever as hell bio. Research by Lehmiller has shown that humour is one of the traits both men and women find most desirable in a partner.


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