When it comes to online dating, confidence is key. Experts will advise you to highlight your best qualities on your profile. But there’s definitely a fine line between being confident and being cocky. If you’re an online dater who skews toward the latter, well, chances are you’re not going to attract as many dates as you probably could. A new study published in the National Communication Association’s journal Communication Monographs found that being humble is a major key to online dating success.
Researchers, Crystal D. Wotipka and Andrew C. High from the University of Iowa conducted a study of 316 online daters on what they thought of certain dating profiles. Researchers were mostly interested to see how people responded to “selective-self presentation” type of profiles, which gave the profile maker the ability to highlight the most flattering information about them. In short, those profiles contained information that would highlight the good, and downplay the bad.
The other type of profiles were “warranting,” which provided “access to corroborating sites” such as links to professional bio pages or blogs that the person regularly contributed to. In those type of profiles, people were limited in their control over how they were presented to others. Overall, the researchers wanted to see how selective self-presentation versus warranting helped shaped impressions, attraction, and trust from profile viewers. They also took it a step further and analyzed which profiles were more likely to elicit contact from viewers.
"There is a difference between presenting your best self and your authentic self," Laurie Davis Edwards, founder of eFlirt, and author of Love @ First Click tells Bustle. "If your authenticity is lost, it won't matter how many swipes or messages you received. It's easy for us to judge how we're doing based on the analytics of our love life, but meeting the right person comes down to quality over quantity."
Here’s what the study found:
1. Bragging Is A Total Turn Off
When someone’s confidence makes it seem like they have an inflated ego, that’s where things go wrong. As the study found, profile viewers who judged people as “overly bragging about themselves, their looks, or their accomplishments” were “less trustworthy and less socially attractive.” Because of that, viewers were less inclined to contact that profile owner.
2. People Are More Trusting Over The Things You’re Less Likely To Have Control Over
Googling a potential date many of us do or have done at some point. It’s all about safety. For the study, researchers presented people with profiles that had “high warranting value,” meaning that the authors included links to professional bio pages maintained and created by the profile’s employer. So, when people saw that information, they were more likely to trust the content in the profile as well as the person it belonged to.
3. Low Selective Self-Presentation + High Warranting Profiles = An Honest, Humble, And Approachable
In other words, let your work speak for itself. It’s important to note, however, that profiles that were both high warranting and had high self-selective presentation were seen as “arrogant or immodest,” which made people less likely to reach out. To profile viewers, playing yourself up in your profile and including external links to things like career accomplishments just seemed too much. At the end of the day, those people came off as braggers, which made them less likely to get dates.
So if you’re online dating and your goal is to find a longterm relationship based on trust—which, I’m sure is what we all want—the authors suggested that “daters should strive to present themselves as humble, 'real' people.’” Essentially, just be your genuine, wonderful, real self.
"None of this surprises me!" Laurie Davis Edwards, founder of eFlirt, and author of Love @ First Click tells Bustle. "However, I would NEVER suggest 'warranting' your profile by providing external links ... Sending someone to another site sends them away from your dating profile. It's less likely they will make their way back to the original dating platform they were on and message you when you do this."
If you want to come off confident and trustworthy on your dating profile versus cocky, Edwards suggests watching your tone. "The tone you use to talk about yourself matters much more than listing traits, like 'trustworthy,'" Edwards says. "Don't be afraid to be a little vulnerable by sharing parts of yourself that aren't perfect like a quirk."
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