OkCupid, the “free” dating website, is surprisingly accurate at matching people. But according to the people who use it, you need to be honest and patient, and a little bit funny, to find the right people.
The following are some tips from real OkCupid users:
1. Be open. Jordan, a media liaison in Washington, D.C., said, “The system is smart, but it can’t detect someone putting up a front. If you really want to find someone, be open [with other people].”
2. Be honest. “Faking it won’t get you far, and being someone you’re not will only bring your heartache,” said Tamara, who recently found “the love of her life.”
3. Know what you want. One way to ensure success is to know what you want in a romantic match. “I took time and wrote notes about what I was looking for,” said Nicola, a graduate student. “I had this clearer mental picture of the right person.”
4. Make your profile stand out. Take the time to the write a good profile. “You need to spend some time working on [your profile] because the longer my profile was, the better I did,” said Michael, who met his wife using OkCupid.
5. Be funny. Michael said, “Be funny.” That’s how Savontae, a church music director, landed most of her dates. “Display some humor,” she said, “and be personable. I describe myself as a nerd who loves learning and loves to laugh. I talk about my quirks and things I love, like music and cooking, and things I can’t stand, like crappy TV and wet socks.”
6. Avoid the glamour shot. Pick the perfect profile picture, but choose one that actually looks like you. Jason, a youth pastor, said he showed a dozen pictures of himself to his closest friends. Each friend picked the same photo for him to use. “It’s not the one I would have picked,” Jason said. “But I’ve been on two dates now and both girls told me how much they liked my picture.”
7. Don’t rely on profile pictures. Just because you’re avoiding the glamour shots for your own profile doesn’t mean other people will do the same when creating their own profiles. “Some of the pictures people use in their profiles are not always the best, and neither is the profile information,” said Meghan, who met her wife on OkCupid.
8. Change it up. If you’re not meeting the right people, try changing answers to your profile questions. “I just got frustrated after while, so I changed my profile and changed answers to some of my questions,” said Jonelle, a single mother in Charlotte. “Boom! A whole different kind of list of guys popped up.”
9. Engage people. “The best way to start chatting is to ask about something they put in their profile,” said Savontae. “It shows that you care about people beyond their looks.”
10. Be patient. The recurring theme from all of these OkCupid users was simple: Patience is a virtue. Don’t expect to find the love of your life in a few clicks. “Give it time to work,” said Jonelle.
~ A version of this column appeared in The Vindicator, Sunday, September 28, 2014.
Dr. Adam C. Earnheardt is professor and chair of the department of communication at Youngstown State University in Youngstown, OH, USA. He researches and writes about communication and relationships, parenting and sports. He writes a weekly column for The Vindicator newspaper on social media and society.