7 Surprising Facts About Online Dating

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Online dating is hard. Dating is hard, period. What could be weirder than two total strangers trying to become not-total strangers? Let's just say the potential for comedic (and not so) mishaps is high.

With all that weirdness waiting to be unleashed at any second, it's no surprise we're desperate for any tip, trick, or nugget of wisdom that might stave it off. We've studied some seriously strange things in the name of cracking the online dating code, and although some are as weird as the weirdness they're trying to prevent, they're always interesting.

Check out a few unusual online dating facts below. You're bound to be surprised by at least one.

  1. Men aren't into receiving short messages. Forget all the stereotypes about men hating it when women talk too much. A message from a woman to a man is 40% more likely to get a response if it's longer than a tweet (140 characters).
  2. Men are, however, into women who make the first move. Women are 73% more likely to get a response if they mention “dinner,” “drinks,” or “lunch.” Speaking of stereotypes, maybe the one about “the quickest way to a man's heart” is true.
  3. Online dating has a seasonal peak. The busiest time for online dating is between Christmas and Valentine's Day. According to Zoosk, the single most popular day is January 5, when 54% more people sign up.
  4. There's an art to using smileys. Put aside emojis for a second and go back to the good old days of the classic smiley. If you send one with a nose :-), you're 13% more likely to get a response. If your smiley is lacking that key facial feature :), it's 66% less likely to get a message back.
  5. Being active is attractive. Ok, maybe this one isn't so surprising, but it's still interesting. Wired made an infographic showing 380 of the 1,000 most commonly used words in profiles. Active, outdoorsy words like “surfing,” “skiing,” and “yoga” topped the list.
  6. People actually prefer selfies. Joke about selfies all you want, but they're shockingly effective if you're looking for a date. A Zoosk study found that 84% of people favor selfies over formal profile pictures.
  7. Too much online chit-chat can ruin a good thing. Because safety is a consideration when meeting a stranger over the Internet, you may think it's best to prolong the convo for as long as possible before meeting up in person. However, a 2013 study in the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication suggests that too much communication could be problematic. The more you talk before a first date, the more time you have to idealize the person and the greater the risk of a letdown when you finally meet face-to-face.