The Science Behind a Perfect Online Dating Profile

The new year is approaching and tis’ the season where relatives drill you about why you’re still single and the jolly Christmas music and reruns of Love Actually make you just want to die a little. You might be feeling lonely during this time, but the good news is, you’re not alone. 1 in 4 people report feeling lonely during the holidays, which likely explains the significant increase in online dating activity during this time of year.

According to a recent eHarmony survey, December 26 through January have 2.27 times more registrations and communication requests sent than any other time of year. People are out looking, and if you’re single, the dating market is at its prime. The question is, do you have a dating profile that’s up to snuff? Here are some tips on how to create the perfect online dating profile:

Descriptors – ambitious trumps spiritual

In a study of over six years of data from eHarmony, the company found that certain words in a person’s profile resonated better than others. For example, women who used the descriptor “ambitious” for themselves, on average received 36% more communication requests than those who didn’t. Alternatively, men seemed to be less interested in profiles that included the the word “spiritual” with only 1.1% of males resonating with the term. Men have a tendency to choose women who use words like passionate, thoughtful, sweet, spontaneous and outgoing.

More than a selfie

For your primary photo opt for a picture with a genuine smile, one that crinkles up your eyes and slightly tilt your head. Selfies alone won’t cut it though. In your photo gallery, you should include pictures that show you are social and have friends. Even better if you can get a shot of you in the center of a group of people because of the center-stage effect – whereby being in the the middle signifies a sense of importance (as per findings in an academic journal titled, Position Biases in Decision Making). Lastly, instead of having five photos just showing a different angle of your face, choose photos that tell a story about you.

The 70/30 rule

Research published in the BMJ’s journal reveals that in your description, 70% should be about yourself and the other 30% about what you’re looking for in a partner. Profiles with this balance receive the most replies because people have more confidence to drop you a line.

Strive for authentic instead of perfect

Profiles that do not present themselves as perfect and contain information that make the person feel more real (i.e. the company they work for) were more likely to get chosen versus profiles that come across as too good to be true. The findings suggest that people want to be able to see, and relate to, the person behind the profile.

Now that you’ve optimized your online dating profile, it’s time to put yourself out there. It doesn’t matter how perfect your profile is if you don’t initiate and take a chance. According to dating coach and author, Ronnie Ann Ryan, messages sent within the first 24 hours are twice as likely to receive a response.

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