When you browse online dating profiles, the same topics come up with alarming regularity: Sunday roasts, pineapple on pizza, and love of travel are just a few.
But rather than sticking with the crowd, using metaphors and personal information is more likely to land you a date, according to research.
While numerous studies have looked at the role of profile pictures in creating an attractive dating profile, experts say there has been less focus on the writing underneath.
Now, researchers have found that dating site users rate authors of more original profiles as being smarter, having a greater sense of humor and – perhaps most importantly – being more attractive. Plus, they’re more likely to land a potential date.
“The images are the things that get the most attention initially, but people also look at the profile text,” said Tess van der Zanden, the research’s first author, from Tilburg University in the Netherlands. Down.
Writing in the journal Plos One, the researchers say that authors of profiles considered more original by participants were judged to be more intelligent and to have a better sense of humor. The team adds that participants were not only more open to dating such authors, but found them to be more physically and romantically attractive.
Higher perceived originality was not associated with the author being judged more odd, and authors judged as odd were deemed to have low originality. They also had lower attractiveness ratings and participants were less willing to date them.
The team suggests that this indicates that it is not just novelty but also ownership that matters for originality. They then looked for traits common to profiles deemed more original by the participants.
“Our results show that profiles that score higher on perceived originality of profile text are more likely to contain one or more fixed or novel metaphors,” they write, noting that an example of the former would be “ I have my life on track”, while the latter could include “I don’t like growers of crops between the nose and the neck” and “I am looking for a Don Juan who can make me weak in the knees “.
Another common feature of the original profiles was that their authors divulged concrete information about themselves.
“Don’t just say ‘oh, I like to play sports,’ also mention what kinds of sports to make it more concrete, more unique to you,” van der Zanden said.
She and her colleagues reported how they used profiles from two Dutch dating sites, the vast majority coming from a site for people over 50.
While the team initially had thousands of profiles, they found that many were very similar. To ensure that their study sample encompassed a variety of styles, the team used software to sort them into seven groups based on the similarity of the words used. They then randomly selected and anonymized a subset of 22 profiles from each group, and attached a different blurred photograph to each.
They asked 1,234 dating site users to each judge up to five of 308 profiles, based on their stated sexual preference, and rate them on a scale of 1 to 7 for originality of text; how clever they thought the author was; how attractive they found the author; how weird they thought the author was; and their perception of the author’s sense of humor. Participants were also asked whether or not they would agree to go on a date with the author.
While the team noted that more work was needed to see if the results applied to different age groups and different types of dating platforms, they said users should be careful what they write.
“Every information available will be used for the formation of the impression,” van der Zanden said.