Researchers found the key to a successful online dating profile

Researchers have found the key to creating a successful online dating profile. And if you feel like you haven’t got much to boast about, you’re in luck. It turns out humility is more attractive than impressive life experiences or advanced qualifications.

Professors from the University of Iowa’s Department of Communication Studies created eight fake profiles (four men, four women) using an OK Cupid template. The different profiles for each gender varied in the type of information included. Some had more Selective Self-Presentation (SSP), aka: only highlighting the positive. Others included more Warranting – which means they had specific information such as where someone works.

The researchers showed these profiles to 317 people with experience of online dating. They expected that people would be most drawn to online dating profiles with high SSP and high Warranting – i.e. people who seemed like a real catch and whose details could also be verified. But that’s not what happened.

Instead, the study participants were far more interested in people with high Warranting but low SSP, meaning they seemed real and flawed. Maybe it’s a sign of collective low self-esteem that we’re intimidated by people who’ve achieved a lot, or maybe it’s useful to bear in mind that some profiles are clearly too good to be true.

Either way, if you feel like you’re not going to meet your match because you dropped out of uni or failed to heli-ski across New Zealand, worry no more. No one’s looking for a sad sack, but as long as you seem real and have a GSOH, online daters will be drawn to you.

Diane Shipley