The Scientific Benefits of Online Dating
Online dating allows us a fantastic opportunity to study the science of human attraction.
Real-world interactions are basically impossible to model: there are too many variables to control for; it’s very difficult (and unethical) to record conversations; there’s an almost infinite number of scenarios. Trying to model person-to-person communication is like trying to model the game of chess: they’re both just too complex.
But online dating is simple. A man writes a message to a woman. She then either replies or she doesn’t. If she does, the message exchange continues until either party stops replying or the couple meet on a date.
The data is there to see and analyse. As such, it’s an amazing proving ground for theories about dating, romance and attraction. For this reason (among others) it’s something we recommend every guy has a go at.
Online Dating and “Status”
I talk a lot about “status” as it relates to online dating on this blog. The problem with online dating is that, rightly or wrongly, men who approach women via online dating get less credit than those who approach in-person. Because online dating is easier than walking over to a girl in a bar, the average online dater starts from a weaker position than his real life counterpart.
The problem with online dating is that you’re faced with a Catch-22. If you show yourself to be “low status” you’re going to struggle to get girls interested in you. That’s not girls being mean – it’s just human nature. You’re attracted to pretty girls; she’s attracted to high status men.
But if you visibly try to demonstrate your high status, you risk coming across as arrogant. Arrogance actually isn’t all that much of a problem when you approach girls in-person. You’ve already showed that you’re a cool guy, just by having the confidence to start a conversation with her. Arrogance when doing online dating, however, is a massive turnoff
Demonstrate High Status via Your Online Dating Messages
So if you don’t want to look low status, but don’t want to look like you’re trying to be high status, what can you do?
The answer lies in the way you write your online dating messages. Not in what you say – that leads to boasting. But in the way you write them. That’s right – the actual grammar and syntax of your online dating messages can mark you out as a high status man. The girl will find herself attracted to you, and she won’t even know why.
I did some research on high status online dating messages and found the results of a study in the Journal of Language and Social Psychology called Online Interactions Between Group Members Who Differ in Status. In the study, the psychologist examined messages between high and low status member on internet message boards.
What High Status Online Dating Messages Look Like
The messages were rated for the following: degree of conformity, ingratiation, agreeing, requesting, and instructing. They were also examined for basic grammar constructions. This is what they found:
Low status member messages were rated as more conforming, ingratiating, and agreeing than high status member messages. Low status members also used more first person singular voice, affective words, and exclamation marks. High status member messages were rated as more instructive than low status member messages. High status member messages contained more complex words, second person references, and welcoming language than did low status member messages.
For those of you without a linguistics degree, let me summarise. If you want to demonstrate high status in your online dating messages, make sure you:
1. Don’t try to ingratiate yourself.
2. Don’t agree too much.
3. Don’t use “I” too much.
4. Don’t get emotional.
5. Don’t use exclamation marks.
6. Give instruction.
7. Use complex language.
8. Use the word “you”.
9. Use welcoming language.
So when you come to write your next online dating first message, bear in mind what high status communication looks like. It will be far more effective than telling her about your cool job and great sense of humour.