Many of us have probably been told since we were young to "never judge a book by its cover." But understandably, it's kind of difficult to apply that rule to online dating. According to Match's seventh annual Singles in America survey, your dates are definitely judging your online presence.
The survey found that Millennials are 30 percent more likely to want a relationship this year over any other generation. They're also 57 percent more likely to look for love on a dating app. But if you've ever spent just 20 minutes swiping through matches on Tinder or Bumble, you're probably familiar with how superficial it can feel. "Modern day dating has led to more superficial judgment," Samantha Burns, relationship counselor and dating coach tells Bustle. "Naturally, most people won’t even take the time to read your profile unless they are attracted to you."
However, she says, this isn't the real problem since physical attraction is essential in a romantic relationship. "The issue is that many of these newer apps have limited space for a personal description," she says. "For instance, Bumble only allows 300 characters, which means you’re judging someone based on a very limited information, or a profile entirely composed of emojis!"
In an effort to stay safe and know what you're getting into, it's not uncommon to do a quick Google search on a date before you meet them for the first time or someone you matched with. According to the survey, here's how singles judge their matches:
1By Their Social Media Posts
The number one way to judge each other on dating platforms actually involves leaving the site or app. According to the survey, 42 percent of people will judge dates on what they post on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. "The reality is many daters dig deeper and will look at your social media accounts if your profile links to them, or if they're Google savvy they can find you," Burns says. "This is telling information since people choose only the most flattering photos to highlight in their dating profiles, or they sound cooler than the guy from the Dos Equis commercials."
"Stalking" social media posts of a potential partner can help you gather additional info on their hobbies, core values, and whether or not you’re really attracted to them. "Just don’t forget it goes both ways, so be mindful of what you share on social media," she says. "Access to social media posts will feature a more realistic look into both of your lives."
2By Their Photos
The survey found 42 percent of people say they judge potential dates by their pictures. "Realistically physical attraction and sexual chemistry is essential in forming a romantic relationship," Burns says. "Everyone says they want someone kind, honest, and with family values, but the reality is that they won’t learn that about you if they’ve instantly swiped left because they aren’t attracted to you."
Grammar seems to be a big one for 39 percent of singles surveyed. "On the surface it may seem trivial to judge someone on their grammar or clothing style choices, however these often indicate broader interests, values, and beliefs," Burns says. "So as much as I’d like to encourage singles not to judge a book by it’s cover, more meaningful advice is to be mindful of the way you are representing yourself online."
4Their Teeth And/Or Smile
Having a nice smile is important for 37 percent of singles.
And while sure, everyone just wants to find the best possible person for them, don't be too quick to write someone off for something so insignificant, like not having straight teeth . "If you like or are excited by 80 percent of someone’s profile, get offline and in person for a first date," Burns says. "Meeting in real life is the only way to determine whether there is chemistry or not."
Your sense of style can definitely say a lot about you and 35 percent of people will judge a person's outfit.
If you’re dating with the intent to find a serious commitment, Burns says it's important to think about the type of person you want to attract. Ideally that person will share your core values, interests, and similar lifestyles. "Create an authentic and genuine profile based on this important information," Burns says. "No, you can’t grow hair on a balding head, have your teeth straightened overnight, or wake up three inches taller, but you can put in effort to convey who you are and what you’re looking for."
The truth is, you never really know how much you'll like someone, or not, until you actually go out with them.