Science says these things are going to score you a date online.
Meeting a mate online is not easy. At all. And anyone who’s ever used a dating app can tell you a horror story… or three.
Your straightforward and basic account profile won’t catch potential partner’s eyes — instead, it’ll turn them off. So, what does matter? Well, according to statistics, it’s a mix of things we can’t control, how we talk about ourselves, and what we show off.
It can be everything from your race to your favorite sport. And while appearances matter more than ever to the online world, so does vocabulary… and where you take your profile picture.
Here’s what science says is how to be attractive and will put you ahead of the game:
1. Being multiracial
Researchers from the American Sociological Association found in a 2014 study that three multiracial groups were on the receiving end of what they’re calling the “bonus effect.”
Researchers found that some white-minority multicultural daters (Asian-white women, white Asian-white, and Hispanic-white men) are preferred over white and non-white daters.
The reason? They pointed out that daters may be influenced by how the media portrays mixed-race people as exotic and sexually appealing.
2. Using certain buzzwords to describe yourself
After studying 12,000 eHarmony profiles in 2014, dating experts found that there are certain words that are guaranteed to attract the opposite sex.
Researchers found that women who used words like “ambitious,” “sweet,” and “thoughtful” were more often messaged by interested men, while girls went after guys who used words like “passionate,” “physically fit,” “ambitious” and “perceptive” to describe themselves.
In a 2017 study by Match.com, the best buzzwords shifted to “love,” “fun,” “friends,” “laugh,” and “music.”
Women are attracted to profiles with the words “caring” and “family,” while men are more attracted to the term “easy.”
3. Taking your picture outside (if you’re a man)
A 2013 study by Zoosk found that male users who took a non-selfie outside and used it as their profile picture had a 19 percent increase in messages. Apparently, potential partners want to see men doing stereotypically rugged and manly things.
But the same doesn’t apply for women, unfortunately. The Zoosk study found that when women took to the Great Outdoors, they saw a 40 percent decrease in messages from potential suitors.
4. Having white teeth
Make sure you’re brushing! When Market Tools Inc. surveyed 5,481 singles aged 21 and older in 2013, they found that 58 percent of men rated “teeth” as a must-have, while 71 percent of women rated perfectly pearly whites as a must-have.
Good hygiene goes a long way.
5. Showing off and describing your body
While we’d love to say that it’s who you are and not how you look that matters, it’s impossible to ignore the fact that it does matter — especially when you’re online dating.
According to a 2014 infographic, the guys aren’t interested in your selfies that only show off your pretty face. Men rated the stomach as the most important feature to them in a woman’s profile picture. Not too far behind were her butt and legs.
Research from a 2014 Plenty of Fish internal study found that women, aged 25 to 35, that categorized themselves as “thin” in their profiles were most likely to receive more messages than anyone else on the site.
When women categorized themselves as “athletic,” they were second most likely to meet a mate. Women who dubbed themselves “average” were third most likely to be messaged.
When women declined to note what their body type looked like, they saw the most negative effect on the number of messages they received.
Unsurprisingly, the results showed that men who listed themselves as “athletic” on their profile were most desirable, but it didn’t have nearly as close to the same effect on date requests as body type did for women.
6. Having an interest in surfing and yoga
Which extracurricular activities make you more attractive? Out of 1,000 possible sporting activities, surfing was the top sport that boosted appeal for men. As for the most attractive activity a woman can do? Yoga.
7. Including the nose emoji in texts
When you’re messaging with someone, don’t be afraid to use an emoticon, says a study by online dating site Zoosk. And when you do, don’t forget the nose since 🙂 gets 13 percent more positive responses while : ) is 66 percent more likely to get you ignored.
A 2019 study conducted by the Kinsey Institute at IU also found that people who use emojis in communication have more success in finding and maintaining romantic relationships. They found that using an emoji is a way to try and make important connections online.
Hey, I guess people appreciate the small details.
Kylie M. is a freelance writer and frequent contributor to YourTango.
Michelle Toglia is the Deputy Lifestyle Editor at Bustle.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally posted in August 2014 and was updated with the latest information.