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An Evidence-Based Approach To Online Dating 286 writes Rachel Nuwer writes in the NYT that Dr. Sameer Chaudhry's online dating persona was garnering no response from the women he reached out to so he synthesized 86 literature studies on the subject of online dating in the fields of psychology, sociology, and computer, behavioral, and neurocognitive hopes of improving his odds. As it turns out, success begins with picking a user name. While men are drawn to names linked to physical traits (e.g., Cutie), the researchers found, women prefer ones that indicate intelligence (e.g., Cultured). Both sexes respond well to playful names (e.g. Fun2bwith) and shy away from ones with negative connotations (e.g., Bugg). User names that begin with letters from the first half of the alphabet do better than those from the latter half. "As human beings, we have a tendency to give things at the top of a pile more value," says Khan. As for your profile photo, pick a photo with a genuine smile, one that crinkles the eyes, and with a slight head tilt (it's linked to attractiveness). And if you're looking for a male partner, go for that photo of you in siren red—a color that enhances men's attraction to women. "For those attracted to browse into the profile, a description of personal traits increased likeability when it: showed who the dater was and what they were looking for in a 70:30 ratio; stayed close to reality; and employed simple language with humor added. Invitations were most successful in obtaining a response from the potential date when they: were short personalized messages addressing a trait in their profile; rhymed with their screen name or headline message; and extended genuine compliments." And finally, don't wait too long before arranging a face to face meeting.
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An Evidence-Based Approach To Online Dating

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  • by greg1104 ( 461138 ) <> on Sunday February 22, 2015 @09:29AM (#49104857) Homepage

    Do not spend your time synthesizing literature studies.

    • What else would you expect from someone called Sameer Chaudhry who lives in Dallas?
      I'm fairly sure he would have gotten plenty of responses on an Indian dating site.
      (disclaimer: this post isn't racist, I would expect close to no responses if I tried dating on an Indian site)

  • by PerlPunk ( 548551 ) on Sunday February 22, 2015 @09:41AM (#49104889) Homepage Journal

    He should have just gone for an arranged marriage.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Arranged marriage: worked for me. But failed for a lot more. So the online dating is not that bad - you can fail on your own.
      Well, I had a dishonest advantage: My mother is a perfect offline dating service. She is a teacher in a high school. So she knows A LOT of young people very well and develops closer relations with clever ones.
      • Worked for me, too.

      • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Sunday February 22, 2015 @10:43AM (#49105101) Journal

        Arranged marriage: worked for me. But failed for a lot more

        I guess it matters who's doing the arranging. One of the happiest couples I know were an arranged marriage, but the parents who did the arranging were some extraordinary people with great sensitivity, understanding of their young people and remarkable wit.

        I shudder to think who my mom would have arranged me with. Certainly not with the woman I've been married to for 27 years, that's for sure. Don't get me wrong, I love my mom, but she didn't know what I like in women. And my wife's parents certainly would never have chosen me.

        • I shudder to think who my mom would have arranged me with too. Either a bunch of women who wouldn't have been interested in me at all, or some homely and utterly boring religious women probably.

  • Thank you (Score:2, Funny)

    by ls671 ( 1122017 )

    Thank you, Thank you.

    I do not know how to thank you enough for this advice, I am going to make use of it from now on.

  • Bad Advice (Score:5, Insightful)

    by StormReaver ( 59959 ) on Sunday February 22, 2015 @09:49AM (#49104913)

    Anyone who follows this advice deserves what they get.

    The age old advice still stands: be yourself.

    If someone wants you for who you're not, rather than who you are, you are better off just moving on. Here's what I posted on my blog years ago after marrying a wonderful woman I met on Plenty of Fish:

    I was recently reading the front page of, a dating web site where my wife and I first met (we recreated a joint account to submit a testimonial), that provided a very long, detailed opinion piece to a young man about how to behave in order to win a girl that he was very attracted to. It was from a so-called dating expert, and contained some of the worst drivel that men cling to in hopes of landing a wife.

    The given advice was to act distant, indifferent, and aloof; that showering her with affection made him look desperate and goofy. We men turn to this kind of garbage when we're not having much luck with women. We turn to this crap when we actually do become desperate.

    It took me a long time to realize what should have been self-evident all along: the old advice of just being yourself is, by far, the best advice you could possibly get. Being yourself isn't intended to improve upon the quantity of women you attract. It is intended to improve upon the quality of women you attract. Not surprisingly, the exact same advice applies equally to women. Don't follow those stupid "rules" such as not making the first move. All those rules are complete and utter crap, and will just make you even more miserable than you already are.

    All the little head games and misdirections that you have learned are intended to achieve one thing: a brief relationship. They are not the doorway to a lasting marriage, but rather just the path to multiple meaningless disappointments. You will not be able to maintain the charade you have built, and will always fail in the long run. She will always see through you eventually. You will eventually slip up and expose yourself for the fraud you are, and you will be back to square one.

    If she is not interested in who you really are, then you do not want her (regardless of what your hormones may tell you). It doesn't matter how pretty, gorgeous, sexy, or otherwise desirable she may seem. If she is not attracted to who and what you are, then any meaningful relationship with her is doomed. She will eventually (but usually quickly) tire of you, and move on to the next guy.

    I am a software developer, and spend most of my time in front of a computer. When I was dating, I tried hard to hide that from my dates. All the advice I had been given was that women were turned off by the kind of geeky guy who spent that much time with his computer. I tried to list other interests on the dating site (tenuous as those interests were), tried focusing on what I thought women wanted, and every other trick I could think of that was even remotely true (and some that were very much not true when I reached a certain point of disillusion). Maintaining the illusion was very difficult, as that isn't who I am.

    In the end, it was those very traits that my wife tells me were the most attractive to her. It turns out that her life had been full of too much stress, anxiety, and drama. An easy-going, caring, intelligent, homebody of a man is exactly what she had been looking for, and couldn't find, for a very long time (we were both in our late 30's). She would not have been at all interested in the man I had tried pretending to be, but was hopelessly in love with the man I actually am. Who we really are is what allows us to connect on a very deep, lasting level.

    It took us both a very long time to find each other (strictly speaking, she found me), and we both suffered some horrible emotional scarring in our prior lives apart, but that scarring is what allowed us to appreciate what we have together.

    So although it may hurt in the short term, it's better to be rejected by women for who you are than to be accepted by women for who you are not. You will eventually find that woman who will love you for who you are, even if you have to go through many painful rejections along the way. The women who accept you for who they want you to be will always desert you. No exceptions.

    • Re:Bad Advice (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Livius ( 318358 ) on Sunday February 22, 2015 @10:04AM (#49104961)

      The age old advice still stands: be yourself.

      That's fantastic advice if "yourself" is in the top 1% of the most awesome prospects. Those people don't need any advice at all.

      The best the rest of us can do is to be ourselves after first improving ourselves.

      Unfortunately you can't get to the long term without short term and in reality, being fake is phenomenally successful for the short to medium term. It generally works as long as the plausible deniability lasts.

      • Re:Bad Advice (Score:5, Interesting)

        by BonThomme ( 239873 ) on Sunday February 22, 2015 @10:19AM (#49105023) Homepage

        "...after first improving ourselves."


        This. This. This.

        If you put all the free time you have not-dating toward this, you'll suddenly see all your free time disappear in the most wonderful ways.

        • I once read a book about martial arts or Zen, don't remember.

          As it is with those books it was full with anecdotes.

          One was about a teacher and his unhappy student. When the student asked how he could beat a guy in a competition, the teacher took a piece of chalk and drew a line on the ground, telling the student: 'this is you'.
          Then he drew a parallel line, a longer one, besides it and said: 'This is your competitor.'

          'You have to make the competitors line shorter than yours.'

          The student did not really grasp i

    • The age old advice still stands: be yourself.

      Certainly, but most people want to make a good first impression. And most people here are willing to study how to do that. Or are you suggesting that people here should not be true to themselves, that in this special case they should go with their gut instead of studying and learning from more knowledgeable people like they would any other issue?

    • by bmo ( 77928 )

      All the advice I had been given was that women were turned off by the kind of geeky guy who spent that much time with his computer.

      >in facebook
      >online acquaintance who knows I'm a geek opens chat and is frustrated with her computer
      >she trusts me enough to log in remotely through Teamviewer.

      She proceeded to ask me questions, because all she really knew about me was my facebook page. No, I'm not gay, but I have a lot of gay friends thus the gay rights stuff on my page. I'm older than your sister an

    • Re:Bad Advice (Score:5, Insightful)

      by umafuckit ( 2980809 ) on Sunday February 22, 2015 @10:43AM (#49105099)

      Anyone who follows this advice deserves what they get. The age old advice still stands: be yourself.

      The summary provides suggestions on choosing a user name, what sort of photo to take (which it suggests should have real smile) and to include real personal traits in the description of yourself. How is this in contradiction of the age old advice?

      • How is this in contradiction of the age old advice?

        Is that representative of who you are? Are those things that represent your personality, or are you just doing those things because someone told you to do them? What happens when you are on your own? Or are you going to look on the Internet hoping to find an answer to every one of your life choices?

        If it's not how you would have portrayed yourself, you're going to lose when you're on your own and have to stand on your own personality. You will eventually expose yourself as a fraud.

        Make your own decision

        • If it's not how you would have portrayed yourself, you're going to lose when you're on your own and have to stand on your own personality. You will eventually expose yourself as a fraud.

          That would be true if the advisor were putting words into people's mouths (telling them exactly what to say). But my impression is that this isn't the case (beyond thing such as "wear red", which seem innocuous enough to me). Maybe you're right that this advice borders on "gaming the system" (e.g. username choice) but it's not right, IMO, to say that following this advice will cause you to present a fraudulent image of yourself. It just helps you maximise what you've got.

          The advice in the article is no

        • Real personal traits are, in fact, representative of who you are and what your personality is.

      • The summary provides suggestions on choosing a user name,

        Studman69. What else?

    • Anyone who follows this advice deserves what they get.
      The age old advice still stands: be yourself.

      There is nothing in this article recommending what to lie about or how to trick someone into dating you. It is about how to put your best foot forward online. It is no different than telling someone to dress nice when you first meet someone or don't talk about yourself too much on a first date.

      It has advice like "ask open questions", "respond promptly", "introduce humor", "do smile", "pay genuine compliments", etc. Oh how manipulative these recommendations are!

  • by blind biker ( 1066130 ) on Sunday February 22, 2015 @10:27AM (#49105059) Journal

    I perfunctorily looked at TFA, and it doesn't mention height at all. This is ridiculous, and any man with even the most basic experience with online dating knows that height is perhaps the most important number in your online profile. The higher that number is, the more likely one is to receive invitations from women. I actually made an experiment, once, where I created to fake profiles that were almost identical, except for height, and the profile that had a height 10 cm larger than the other, got about 40 TIMES more contact requests (175 cm vs. 190 cm).

    • Can confirm (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I am diagnosed autistic, balding, stack shelves for a living, have a huge comics web site and my favorite topic is tax reform. But I am also 6 foot 6. So I was never short of dates on OKCupid.

      (All of that is true BTW)

      And I am currently engaged to the most wonderful woman in the world, thanks to the aforementioned site: She is beautiful, sexy, intelligent, capable, funny, incredibly kind, etc. and was only single because people found her own height intimidating (she is north of 6 foot). She replied to my ini

    • Glad somebody came here to say this, as I was going to point out the same obvious fact. Even being relatively well off, a "nice" guy with a diversity of interests, etc. matters little when you're 5'5". I know this from +40 years of experience. I have so many amazing lifelong friends who think I'm an awesome guy, but during the periods where I was single for years, I was very cognizant of what the "deal-breaker" was. Study after study after study has proven this.
      • There are things you can change about yourself, and things you cannot.

        If being less than average height in your era is the biggest deformity you have, you got a pretty good package.

        Besides, being born tall, lean, athletic, and beautiful often leads to coasting through life. Being born short, ugly, and pudgy often leads to overachieving.

    • The worst part is that all the women assume you're lying and have inflated by 1" / 3cm. It just shows how shallow they are when choosing a mate.

  • could just ask someone out that you meet in person, thus avoiding all of this investment of time and effort before you even know that there's going to be a basic mutual attraction. You're going to have to interact face-to-face eventually anyway.

    • by Shados ( 741919 )

      As someone in a relationship of 11 years and going (about half of that married) with someone I met online... The thing with starting with someone you know meet face to face, is that the first criterias that got you together is physical location and possibly physical appearance. The former is definitely convenient, the later is necessary to most people, but neither are usually the first thing of importance for a potential long running relationship.

      If the first thing that gets you with someone is some kind of

  • Anyone who thinks this is a good idea should read: [] Possibly the funniest read I've ever had, especially as I saw elements of myself in his character... Oh and if you thinks it's a bad idea I still recommend the book.
  • wait what? Is that a thing people do?

  • by tompaulco ( 629533 ) on Sunday February 22, 2015 @11:45AM (#49105395) Homepage Journal
    In other words, don't be yourself, try to be something you are not in order to attract someone who then hopefully will be willing to settle when they find out who you really are. Brilliant! Just start the whole relationship on the basis of deception.
    This works great in business. You get somebody hooked on your product with a bunch of promises and by the time they find out they are too deep in to back out. Not sure how well it works in relationships. Oh, wait, the divorce rate continues to rise even though there is a huge jump in the number of couples living together and not getting married at all. Huh, I guess founding your relationship on a lie is a bad idea after all.
  • Interesting concept (Score:4, Informative)

    by wwphx ( 225607 ) on Sunday February 22, 2015 @12:56PM (#49105821) Homepage
    I met my wife online some 12 years ago, our 10th anniversary is in June. Prior to her I had mixed results with online dating, I followed the 'to thine own self be true' model and had a very honest profile. I think that my takeaway from my experience was that it takes time and doesn't give instant results. My wife found me: I lived 500 miles away from her at the time and wasn't searching that broad a radius, she was running in to little but ignorant rednecks and broadened her search radius, finding me. It looks to me like you can keep your profile honest by following the FA's advice, you're just optimizing a bit to try to improve results. If I were looking, I'd definitely give it some serious consideration.

    I'm definitely forwarding this to a friend who lost his wife a bit over a year ago and hasn't been having much luck with online dating.
  • What about mine? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by antdude ( 79039 ) on Sunday February 22, 2015 @06:39PM (#49107677) Homepage Journal

    AntDude is a turn off? :(

  • ...or ask for a date too early.
    And different women have different dating time requirements. Good luck! ;)

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