How to succeed at online dating, according to science

Speed dating. Image: Getty.

Science has turned its attention to the online dating game and has come up with a list of evidence-based tactics to improve your chances.

Simple tips: get a user name with a letter starting in the top half of the alphabet, get a decent photo with a smile and a write a descriptive headline.

The analysis by Professor Khalid Khan of the Women’s Health Research Unit at the Queen Mary University of London and colleagues is published in the journal Evidence Based Medicine.

The researchers wanted to determine which approaches maximise the chances of converting online contact into a face-to-face meeting in the physical world.

They searched through 4,000 studies in the fields of psychology, sociology, computer, behavioural and neurocognitive sciences.

Relevant findings were pooled and analysed to come up with a list of Dos and Don’ts.

Here’s what you should do:

  • Do personalise any email invitations to correspond online
  • Do make it short and sweet
  • Do use poetry, preferably rhyming with the potential date’s headline
  • Do ask open questions (ones which elicit more than a yes or a no)
  • Do respond promptly: eagerness is not turn-off
  • Do introduce humour
  • Do disclose some personal information

What you shouldn’t:

  • Don’t write too much in an email but enough to indicate generosity with time
  • Don’t sell yourself as a rare commodity

And if you’re on a webcam:

  • Do smile
  • Do mimic body language
  • Do pay genuine compliments, but don’t flatter
  • Do end every conversation on a positive note/with a positive revelation about yourself
  • Don’t slouch
  • Don’t portray yourself as perfect. This creates suspicion
  • Don’t leave it too long before arranging a face-to-face meeting

Other tips for success are simple, and sometimes obvious, but worth recording.

With online user names, avoid tags with negative associations such as “Little” or “Bug” and aim for a more playful tone such as “Fun2bwith”.

According to the research, men are more drawn to the physical with names such “Blondie” or “Cutie”. Women go for intelligence with names such as “Cultured”.

Here’s a few more:

  • Use a photo with a genuine smile and crinkles up the eyes. Perhaps, tilt the head a little. To convey friendliness, importance and status, try a happy group photo with you in the centre, touching someone on the upper arm.
  • Women wanting men should wear red.
  • And women find a man more attractive when they see other women smiling at him, say the researchers.
  • Men are drawn to physical fitness in women. Women prefer bravery and risk-taking in men rather than kindness and altruism.
  • When it comes to humour, try to demonstrate this rather just say you’re funny. A wittily written profile is likely to be successful.

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