It’s the winter holiday season, which is when singles are reminded of how lonely they are.
It turns out that the holidays are one of the busiest times of the year for online dating — the dating website Zoosk has seen, over the last three years, a 26% jump in signups in the two weeks after Christmas.
If you are one of those whose New Year’s resolution is to find a special someone, or if you are already online and looking to connect with one (or more) of these newcomers, you will want to have a solid profile. Zoosk recently did a study of an anonymized sample of nearly 4,000 of their users, and discovered some strategies for how to improve your odds of receiving messages, and of getting replies to your messages.
Things You Should Do
- Use a full-body picture. Zoosk users who show their entire body in their main profile photo, instead of just using a head shot, receive over three times as many messages as the average user, and see a 33% improvement in their chances of getting responses to their messages.
- Describe your hobbies in your profile. Users who talk about exercise receive 21% more messages, users who mention music and musical skills get 15% more messages, artistically inclined users get 6% more messages, and members who include the words “book”, “read”, or “write” receive 21% more messages.
- Have an upbeat attitude. Profiles with the words “creative”, “ambitious”, “laugh”, or “healthy” get 33% more messages, and profiles that include “confident”, “outgoing”, or “positive” receive 23% more messages.
- Use emoticons, but be careful. A smiley face with a nose, “:-)”, in a message makes a reply 13% more likely, but a smiley without a nose, “:)”, lowers the response rate by a whopping 66%. The extra effort of putting in that nose dash seems to pay off.
- All laughter is not created equal. Messages that include “lmfao”, “lmao”, “haha”, or “lol” have improved chances of getting a reply, but “jaja” and “rofl” make a reply 13% less likely.
Things You Should Avoid
- DON’T include friends or pets in your photo. Users who bring their animal companions along in their main profile picture get 53% fewer incoming messages, and 12% fewer responses to their messages. Friends are almost as toxic — profile pictures with more than one person lower the rate of incoming messages by 42%.
- DON’T come on too strongly. Messages including the words “hot”, “sexy”, or “cute” are 44% less likely to get a reply.
- DON’T make spelling mistakes. If you drop a “teh”, “ur”, “cuz”, “dont”, “b4”, “im”, or “u” in a message, you will be 13% less likely to get a reply. If you are a straight man, be especially wary of these shortcuts — for men, the response rate drops by 27%.
- DON’T use the word “angel”. Messages that include this most cliche of pickup words have a 51% lower reply rate.
Boys and Girls are Different
While the above advice applies to men and women alike, there are a few profile and message choices that have very different outcomes between the sexes.