Charts to help you succeed in online dating


Over at I have a post about online matchmaker OKCupid's blog, which analyzes the messages its members send to each other and generates interesting charts and graphs from the data.

The OKCupid blog crunches data collected from millions of messages sent back and forth between its subscribers and reveals what kinds of messages and terms result in the most responses (along with the ones that are sure-fire turn offs). Even if you aren't looking for a romantic partner, you'll find that the graphs and charts offer fascinating insights into human nature.

Especially interesting is the post titled "Online Dating Advice: Exactly What To Say In A First Message." OKCupid analyzed the terms and phrases in 500,000 "first contact" messages. They found, for instance, that "the worst 6 words you can use in a first message are all stupid slang," such as ur, r, u, ya, cant, and hit. Using ur will drop the response rate from 32 percent to 6 percent! Another mistake is complimenting someone on their looks. If you say someone is "sexy" you'll almost halve your chances of hearing back from them. On the other hand, a greeting of "How's it going?" will boost the response rate to 53%. People also respond well to messages that make it clear you actually read the person's profile and have something to say about it (using "you mention" in a message increases the response rate to 49%).

Charts to Help You Succeed in Online Dating


  1. So, is performing mathematical optimization of your first message, based on keywords from the target’s profile, considered to be creepy or considerate these days?

    More broadly, I wonder how easy it would be to write a bot that could “first contact” strangers at or above human levels of effectiveness…

  2. So, is performing mathematical optimization of your first message, based on keywords from the target’s profile, considered to be creepy or considerate these days?

  3. The post Mark is referring to has another graph in which the following words appear…in this very order:





    I don’t know about the rest of you, but I would totally go see a zombie vegetarian metal band.

  4. (OK Let’s do this:)
    How’s it going? You’re all so cool. It’s nice that as an awkward agnostic male I have found posters with such good taste. You mention grains. I’m sorry that I’m not a vegetarian zombie.
    Let’s have dinner.

  5. I must mention that this is for Males sending to Females. Just as in the physical world, men still have to make the moves.

  6. Wow, boingboin ur sexy! Wanna c a pix of my hot dcik? Here it is[IMG][IMG]. U shuld come 2 my C@n@di@n |0|i+@ Ph@rm@cy so I can hit it, beautiful.

  7. the fallacy here is assuming the goal of a sent message is simply to recieve a response. you can keep your “fascinating” 32%, i’ll take my chances with the “sexy” 6%.

  8. I worked in the field of online dating for a few years there, directly involved with user messages (Read: removing overtly dirty stuff from public). The trouble with the okcupid stats is that they don’t take into account a key factor; that interesting messages take a lot more time to write and work primarily on those who’re interested in something slightly more long-term. A huge amount of men and a largish proportion of women use online dating sites for ‘random hookups’, and will message hundreds of women with a short message in an attempt to get a bite.

    So really, the different approaches are suited ideally to what the person in question wants. If you’re seeking a woman to talk to, you devote more time to the message and she’s more likely to respond in kind…but if everybody involved just wants no-strings sex, then it really is a wasted effort.

    tip for men: upload a picture to your profile, and do your best to make it a good one. Even though it’s text, first visual impressions count a lot more than you realise.

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