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Should You Delete Your Dating Apps For App-less April?

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App-less April

Since 2013, the use of dating sites and apps has nearly tripled among Millennials, according to Pew Research Center. Even amongst less tech-savvy generations, dating services are relentlessly popular. In 2016, if you’re single and not using one, you feel as old fashioned as the great-grandmother who saves rubber bands in case of another Great Depression.

Dating apps are ingrained in the fabric of modern romance. They can boost confidence, provide entertainment, help the single and apprehensive get back in the game, and - oh yeah - even facilitate real, lasting relationships.

But they can also have a downside. Dating app burnout is a real thing, and you may be experiencing it without even knowing you are. That’s why we now have App-less April, an oh-so-modern holiday dedicated to getting away from your screen for 30 days.

Participants delete their apps for the duration of the month to recharge, reevaluate, and come back refreshed. Although April has almost ended, it’s never too late to join the app-less masses until May. Here are 3 reasons why you should.

  1. You rarely meet people offline any more. Remember when people met IRL? When dating apps seemed like a supplement to “real” dating? You don’t have to ditch your apps forever, but it’s a good idea to make sure your in-person flirtation skills aren’t too rusty. You never know when they might come in handy (or who you’re missing out on by never giving them a try).
  2. You’re feeling disillusioned. When you’re a dating app virgin, everything seems exciting. Hundreds upon hundreds of amazing people are at your fingertips, anxiously awaiting your swipe. Then reality sets in. Messages go unanswered. You’re inundated with one-word hellos, terrible jokes, and sexual puns. You discover what ghosting is. Pretty soon you’re just using your app out of habit. Don’t sink time into dating if your heart’s not in it.
  3. Your apps are taking over your life. Tinder, Hinge, How About We, Bumble, Coffee Meets Bagel… there are nearly endless options and some singles are on all of them. You may think you’re increasing your odds of finding someone special, but what you’re really doing is drowning. A 24/7 obsession with your smartphone isn’t healthy for anyone. Spend the extra time during App-less April catching up on sleep, picking up a new hobby, or - if you’re feeling especially adventurous - meeting people in real life.

Remember: this is a temporary separation, not a break-up. You and your apps are just taking some time off. Come May, you could be ready for an enthusiastic reconciliation or you might decide you’re better off apart. Either way, App-less April will help you decide what’s best.

Zoosk Study Reveals The Biggest Online Dating Turn Off

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In today’s visual world, we put a lot of thought into how we look online. The perfect selfie is only perfect because 27 selfies have been taken before. Instagram filters are layered on until the subject looks more alien than human. And when it comes to choosing photos for your online dating profile, no shot ever seems good enough.

But what if your images aren’t the most important part of your profile? Zoosk surveyed more than 9,000 singles about their online dating dealbreakers with surprising results.

Seventy-two percent said spelling errors are a major turn off, while forty-eight percent said poor grammar is a buzzkill. Knowing the difference between “you’re” and “your,” “then” and “than,” and “who’s” and “whose” wasn’t just important on your seventh grade exams - it could be keeping you single.

Zoosk, who is currently ranked in the top 3 on DatingAdvice.com, found a variety of other interesting facts about spelling and grammar online as well:

  1. Don’t fear the period. Previous studies have found that using a period at the end of a sentence can come off as aggressive or insincere online, but Zoosk’s users were mostly in favor. Ninety-three percent said they’d be happy to receive a message with proper punctuation, including the controversial period.
  2. Exclamation points are welcome (in moderation). First messages that contain exclamation marks receive a 10% higher response rate. But beware, because they’re also a case of too-much-of-a-good-thing. Use excessive exclamation points and you’ll sound like you’re yelling or disingenuously excited.
  3. Women are more concerned with grammar than men. While a significant portion of both sexes find poor grammar to be a turn off, it’s a bigger issue for women. Sixty-five percent of female Zoosk users said it’s a dealbreaker compared to 40% of men. Women were also more likely to assume that poor grammar is a sign of being uneducated, unintelligent, and lazy.
  4. Correct grammar becomes increasingly less important over time. Users over the age of 45 are the most forgiving where poor grammar is concerned. Forty-three percent said it doesn’t really mean anything  in the grand scheme of things.
  5. It’s not always hip to be hip. Using trendy internet acronyms doesn’t necessarily make you look cool. “YOLO” caused a 47% decrease in response rates. On the other hand, “LOL” increased response rates by 25% - presumably because the recipients were charmed by their suitors finding them funny.

On that last point, Zoosk relationship expert David Pedersen encourages a balance between slang and traditional language.

“While abbreviations such as YOLO and LOL are more popular with millennials, these phrases are becoming more common beyond that demographic and slipping into the everyday vernacular,” he said. “These pop-culture phrases could very well become accepted over time, after all, some of them are starting to be included in Oxford’s dictionary! However, there will always be those individuals that appreciate the use of proper English to abbreviations."

Why Women Should Make The First Move Online

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Dating Statistics for Women

If you believe Beyonce, girls run the world. But if you’ve spent any time using an online dating service, you may have noticed a different story.

Despite the continuously decreasing stigma around online dating and the increasingly loud conversation about feminism, women on OkCupid remain surprisingly traditional in one key way. Data published recently by the site found that its female users, regardless of sexual orientation, do not initiate contact. Straight women are 3.5x less likely to send the first message than straight men.

Naturally, being the inquisitive types, the folks over at OkCupid had a question: why are ladies — in particular, straight women — less likely to spark a conversation?

According to a post on The Deep End, the successor to the OkTrends blog, the initial hypothesis was that women are more passive because they can afford to be. Their inboxes are already flooded with messages, so why bother initiating conversations with anyone else?

The team compared messages sent vs. messages received for straight male users and straight female users and found that, contrary to their hypothesis, the number of messages received does not affect how many messages they send. Even if a woman receives no messages, she’s not likely to send any of her own. Men, on the other hand, initiate no matter what and do increase the messages they send when they receive more.

The next step was to test by age. Perhaps older woman act more assertively because they’re more confident and more particular about what they want. Again, the hypothesis proved incorrect. Regardless of age, the outboxes of female users remain empty.

So OkCupid turned to the next logical factor: attractiveness. Women with a higher attractiveness rank on the site may feel like they don’t need to reach out first because they’re used to getting attention. Yet again, the team was stumped. The most attractive men send the most messages, but the same pattern does not appear amongst female users.

What OkCupid did finally find was one striking habit: online daters tend to reach out to people who are more attractive than they are. More specifically, men reach out to women 17 percentile points more attractive, and women contact men who are 10 percentile points more attractive. That means that if women do nothing, they’ll be inundated with offers from less attractive men.

A small adjustment has a dramatic effect. If a woman sends the first message, everything changes in her favor. Men tend to respond frequently. Women on OkCupid are 2.5x more likely to receive a response if they initiate. “If you’re a woman who sends the first message,” concludes the report, “not only are you more likely to get more responses in general, but you’ll be having conversations with more attractive guys.”

The message is loud and clear, ladies: stop waiting to be approached. Read our review of OkCupid for more information on this dating site and app.

This Word Could Be Ruining Your Chances Of Finding Love Online

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Could one word really be hurting your online dating game? Could one word make it better?

Dating app Hinge looked at 5,000 users who exchanged contact information within 24 hours of matching to determine which opening lines are most likely to get dates (and which will get you ghosted).

Using a text analysis model, they identified common phrases and words in the conversations they examined. So which words were winners and which words were losers?

The biggest flop was the word 'sorry.' Hinge users who included 'sorry' in an initial communication were a whopping 56% less likely to get a person's number. Next time you feel tempted to apologize for not responding sooner, take the “sorry not sorry” approach (just don't actually write it). You were busy and that's a good thing. Besides, not explaining yourself creates a teeny bit of intriguing mystery your date may be eager to solve.

Hinge's research also found that being vague and “wishy-washy” is a turn-off for potential dates. People who suggested dates in ambiguous timeframes like “this weekend” and “next week” were 40% less likely to score someone's digits. The more specific you can be, the better. After all, you matched with them so you must be interested in them – make it clear by arranging concrete plans, or answering with a simple yes or no.

At the other end of the spectrum, laughter proved to be irresistable. Hinge found that conversations that used words associated with laughing – like 'haha' and the ever-present 'lol' – had a 17% higher chance of ending in an exchange of phone numbers. It's not hard to believe when you consider how many people say a sense of humor is one of the most important traits in a partner. And what would flirting be without a little witty banter?

Unsurprisingly, compliments also had a positive effect on conversations, but one type of compliment in particular stood out. When a Hinge user told another user that they have a cool name, it increased the likelihood of getting their digits by 12.5%. Destiny's Child had it right: say my name, say my name (especially if it's to talk about how awesome it is).

Of course, no amount of dating advice or studies can guarantee a a phone number (much less a date), but they can help you avoid some basic mistakes. For more information on the dating app which brought us this study you can read our review of Hinge.

Zoosk Unveils The '7-Step Guide To Landing A Date'

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It's the busiest time of year for online dating. The stretch between Christmas and Valentine's Day is peak season for tech savvy singles. Some are scoring big while others are striking out.

With any luck, you're in the first category. Your date card is so full it's practically become a full-time job. Things are looking up for 2016.

Or maybe not. Maybe you're in the second category, sending message after message into the ether and getting nothing back. That's no way to begin a new year. Fortunately, the folks at Zoosk have compiled some simple suggestions for changing your luck in their "7-Step Guide to Landing a Date."

Here are the highlights:

  1. Suggest a date activity if you're really into the person. A recent survey of 3000 Zoosk members revealed that suggesting a movie date increases the response rate to your messages by 91 percent. Other compelling keywords include the beach (59 percent) and a park (39 percent).
  2. Send messages in the morning if you're a man and in the evening if you're a woman. Men increase their chance of a response by 10 percent if they send messages between 9 am and 10 am. Women, on the other hand, are nocturnal creatures. Their messages are best sent between 10 pm and 11 pm.
  3. Reply within 24 hours. The internet isn't exactly known for its patience. Of those surveyed by Zoosk, 94 percent said they expect a response within 24 hours. Playing too hard to get can easily backfire when more options are only a swipe away.
  4. Highlight your individuality. What makes you unique? Your special characteristics are what separate you from the vast sea of singles online. Embrace your glasses, flaunt your tattoos. Just stay away from overtly sexual messages, which Zooskers give a digital thumbs down.
  5. Watch the character count. Men aren't picky when it comes to message length, but women expect more effort. Forty percent of the female users Zoosk surveyed said they prefer messages that are longer than the 140 characters of a tweet.
  6. Expect to send multiple messages. Establishing rapport online takes more than a single sitting. Around half of singles polled said they exchange five messages before meeting a new suitor in person.

What's step 7, you ask? Start adding dates to your calendar.

Follow Zook's seven rules and you'll set yourself for a 2016 that's brimming with romantic possibilities.

5 Photos You Need To Delete From Your Dating Profile ASAP

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You'd think we'd all be experts at choosing photos by now. We need them for Facebook, for Twitter, for Instagram, for Snapchat, for LinkedIn... even our Gmail accounts can display an image. So why do we still find it so difficult to select photos that are accurate, flattering and appropriate?

The pressure is even stronger on a dating service. You're desperate to find the photo that says “I'm fun, laidback, ambitious, adventurous, funny, friendly, good with pets and parents, and – duh – attractive as hell.” It's enough to make any head spin.

It's time to end your era of inadequate photos. If you have any of these images on your profile, delete them ASAP.

  1. The bathroom mirror selfie. Let's start with the obvious. It's 2016, so selfies are standard – but that's no excuse for taking one with a toilet in the background. Ideally, you don't need a mirror at all. Step up your selfie game and use the front-facing camera. If you just can't resist the allure of a mirror shot, use one somewhere else in the house. No one needs to see how often you scrub your shower.
  2. The behind the times photo. Once you had hair like Fabio. Now you're Bruce Willis bald. Who cares? There's no shame in embracing your current self in all its glorious imperfections. What is shameful is pretending you're someone you aren't anymore to get more dates. It will be obvious immediately when you meet in person. Save yourself the embarrassment and your date the irritation by posting current pictures.
  3. The heavily filtered 'gram. See above. Do you want to be greeted by a look of disappointment on your date's face when they realize you look nothing like your photos? It's the era of Instagram, so you're bound to run into filtered photos on dating services, but don't edit your face until you look like a completely different person (or, worse, an alien).
  4. The group shot. Um... so which one are you? Today's singles are impatient and it only takes a second to swipe left on your profile. Don't make prospective dates play a game of Where's Waldo? with your photos. Even if you include a caption identifying yourself, there's only so much someone can see when you're just one figure amongst many. Your dates want to know what you actually look like.
  5. The cropped out ex. Yikes. Did every single picture of you get deleted except that one? Because that's the only excuse for using it. Sure, your ex is out of the picture (literally), but isn't it still kind of weird that that's the photo you chose for your dating profile? A cropped or blurred out ex just looks odd. And for that matter, don't leave the ex in, either.

What's the worst photo you've seen on a dating profile? Share your best snap mishaps in the comments.