Online Dating Advice: Optimum Message Length

September 3rd, 2009 by Christian Rudder

Picture this online dating scenario:

  1. You see someone you like.
  2. You read their profile, and wow.
  3. You send them a long message.
  4. You hang tight and…
  5. …you never get a reply.

Sadly, this is a typical story. Even on a lively site like OkCupid, only about a third (32%) of first messages get any response.

Some people, however, get much better results.

In the next several posts here on OkTrends, we’ll be taking a closer look at messaging and finding some ways to improve your own message response rate. We will not be dispensing generic advice. No. We’ve done research, and we have actual numbers.

. . .

As we began to dig into OkCupid’s messaging data, the first thing we noticed was that most people’s contact attempts are way too lonnnng. Almost 16% of first messages are over 2000 characters (roughly 400 words), and the average is 743! At least in terms of using your time efficiently, your messages should be much shorter. Let’s start with this chart:

The y-axis is reply percentage; the x-axis is message length, in characters; and the two lines are as follows. Red is the ratio of messages that get any reply. Green is the ratio of messages that get a reply that in turn gets replied to by the original sender. The idea is that this is the ultimate goal of the first message: to start a conversation with someone.

Messages sent by guys are, overall, only about half as likely to get replies as similar messages from women. But when you consider we’re including dudes who send out messages such as:

Your hot

DAm I got inch for you

and

Your people need to get out of Israel

a baseline reply rate of 22% is looking pretty darn great. (All those were actual first messages, by the way.)

Now, our graph clearly shows that in raw terms, it helps guys to write longer messages. But when we factor in the actual time it takes to compose a given message, it becomes clear that in terms of time put in vs. likelihood of starting actually having a conversation, shorter is actually better. If we imagine that people type messages at about 200 characters per minute, we get the following table:

Of course, we shouldn’t forget that there’s a certain amount of overhead involved with contacting someone (scanning her profile for common interests, thinking of jokes to make, taking a deep breath, clicking around, and so on). If we include 5 minutes of forethought, we find that the actual ideal first message length is 200 characters, or 1 minute’s worth of typing for the average writer.

Yes, brevity is key. Something we learned building SparkNotes, in our pre-OkCupid days. If you’re the kind of person who spends a little more time reading a profile and thinking about your message, say, 10 minutes, then the optimal length goes up a few words (to 270 characters), but, still, short is better. Savor this advice, men, for there are not many things in your world that fit this paradigm.

. . .

For women, the most efficient message is even shorter.

The shortest messages get almost the best absolute response rate, and the reply rate actually goes down as messages approach extreme length. Apparently, after about 360 words (1800 characters), you start scaring people off. A message like that is the online equivalent of a face tattoo. Of your life story. Let’s generate our efficiency table for women:

Incredibly enough, the optimal first outreach from a woman to a man is just 50 characters long! I’m willing to speculate that this graph is telling us that a guy decides whether or not to reply to a woman’s message regardless of what the message actually says, and that the first message’s true function is simply to bring her profile to his attention.

My guess is that he looks at her picture and if she’s his type, he writes back. On the one hand, such a superficial reality is depressing. On the other, over 40% of female-to-male first messages do get replied to, so, as a woman, if you’re writing to a few people who fit your basic demographic the odds are very good you’ll get a response. Anyhow, all this implies that the average woman’s time is better spent looking for the right people to write to, rather than composing detailed messages.

To our bi and gay readers: we also ran the numbers on same-sex messaging, and though we don’t have nearly as much data for them, those charts are here, along with some discussion.

A quick note about privacy on OkCupid

Though this post talks in detail about the content of people’s messages on OkCupid, all messages have been thoroughly anonymized, with sender and recipient data stripped out. In addition, our sifting program looks at the content of messages only two or three words at a time, to track the success of certain phrases (like “what’s up” vs. “wats up”), then aggregates results by phrase. No human has read any actual user messages. The longer messages I give as examples in this post were actually forwarded to us by their annoyed/amused recipients.

This post’s line charts are smoothed with a bezier spline. Message length is rounded up to the nearest 50 (or we wouldn’t have significant data on some points.) So the first data point on the graph is messages of length 0–50, next is 51–100, and so on.

239 Responses to “Online Dating Advice: Optimum Message Length”

  1. UNC TARHEELS says:

    When I receive a long message I think a few things.

    1. Guy is a weirdo
    2. Guy has no life
    3. Guy cut and pasted the message

    I also fall in the 20′s age group. What I have noticed is that these long messages come from men who are geeky ( no offense, just not my type) or men who are a lot older than me. If you are in your 20′s and fun, more than likely you are going to send something brief because you realize this is a numbers game whether you believe it or not and your not wasting your time writing a ton when you could be hitting up the gym or the bar or the library if you are a undergrad/grad student and hopefully meeting someone in person rather than online.

  2. TheMyst says:

    Hay, i got the hots 4 u. u make sexeh tiem? =3

    Who the fuck thinks that lines like that actually work? I feel sorry for the poor deluded fucker who does.

  3. Corey says:

    I didn’t even realize that girls were allowed to send messages first.

  4. Black Kat says:

    Interesting stats. I never thought about length of contact verses contex. For example my profile says you should NOT contact me if you have nothing more important to say than “Yer Hot!” Not to sound vain, but I work at it, I know to those who like the petite, blonde, All American girl I can be attractive. Apparently most men never read that far into the profile. The last 5 messages I’ve recieved all said “Yer Hot!”. I did not respond to any of them.

  5. Demiurge says:

    As usual, these sorts of analyses (why is this word underlined in red? it’s the correct spelling of the plural…) either fail to produce any meaningful results, or simply display them in an oversimplified, over-extrapolated manner.
    Strictly regarding the conclusions in this post, I agree that shorter messages generally yield better results (to a degree), and as much as I love long meaningful conversations, I would probably be a bit weirded out too if someone sent a first message with 750+ words.

    That said, however, I firmly believe it’s a combination of profile, profile pictures and first message that ultimately decides if a response is given and, if it’s more than “that’s nice”. That, and the fact that Potential Mate A liking short messages does not force Potential Mate B to like the same thing.
    We’re all picky, and that’s OK. Because it’s more likely that if we actually have things in common with someone and like their appearance, that it’ll go further than first message or first conversation. Those who say dating is a game of numbers aren’t wrong, but they aren’t right. The fact that there are people who end up spending a lifetime with the first person they dated proves that not everyone is the same.

    IMO a message doesn’t have to be too short, or too long – just have it show you’re not a spambot.

  6. Demiurge says:

    And to the poster above me, let me ask you:
    If one asshole approached you in person would you go and commit suicide because of it? no, you’d ignore and/or kick him in the junk. PLEASE do not take one asshole and extrapolate it to our entire gender. Our chances are bad enough as it is.
    Thanks, awesome, zombie.

  7. bantha_fodder says:

    I almost always solely respond to long messages. I think it really depends on the type of person and what it is they’re looking for. Although, if I received a message that said I was an “awesome pretty awkward zombie” I might be inclined reply. Sincerity, above all, is key as well. I’ve had a few men message me with word-for-word messages that they have given other females, and even myself before that they have forgotten. I can’t imagine scripted, impersonal messages work too well, eh?

  8. HalideX says:

    So long as there are not glaring errors in grammar and punctuation, I doubt very much that the content of the first message matters hugely. Attraction is the primary factor at work here.

    For my initial message, I usually ask someone out straight away. I figure there is no point in being long-winded, they will be able to see from my profile whether they like me enough for a quick date or not.

    Personally, I too like to be asked out straight away. I don’t like long-winded messages, especially rambling ones or “steam of conciousness.”

  9. Frank says:

    I love this data crunching! Fascinating stuff.

  10. Triumphant278 says:

    I would much rather go for quality over quantity, as some others on here have mentioned. I’m not going to message everyone I see in order to follow some Darwinian code written in my DNA! But it is quite discouraging to get no response from someone who seems to be a great match!

    Ladies: if you get a long message that obviously took some serious thought, then please respond with something! Anything! Otherwise I think you’re lying about wanting to meet new “friends” as well as something more. Responding to a message doesn’t exactly commit you to anything serious.

  11. JustBrowsin9 says:

    I don’t expect any of this advice to actually work for me, but this is a really interesting thing that you guys are doing.

  12. undersaur says:

    To be fair, we don’t know the context of the “your people need to get out of Israel” line. It could’ve been said by a terrorist zombie pirate hobo to an alien ninja robot lizard. Then it would be *totally* justified.

  13. erdos1 says:

    Am I misreading something? This post states that brevity is superior, but the chart shows that reply percentage is higher for longer messages.

  14. edge7117 says:

    Wow, this totally explains why my standard first message, “ur beautiful, im wanna hit it!” isn’t getting any responses…

  15. Randomuser54 says:

    I’ve been here over a year. Out of over maybe 900 messages I sent (ok more like 100-300, if you go by users) I have gotten maybe a 1% response. I have only had one person message me themselves and we talked for awhile, nothin happened. We ended up just friends. Thats not the point. I’m (and after reading this I hate using the word now) a very awkward guy whos scared of rejection. So my messages are literally:

    Subj: Heylo/Yellow/Hello/Hi (various variations)
    Body: How are you doing today? I’m not really sure what to put. I read your profile and it was well thought out.

    Also in all the profiles I have reviewed, I only did one superficial rejection, because I swear that girl had some balls under her skirt.

  16. whitechocolate57 says:

    In reality, the response from a female is entirely relative to a guys looks.
    Sad, but true.

  17. Willendorf Venus says:

    Anyone got inch for me?

  18. lol no says:

    Doesn’t anyone want to discuss Ur of the Chaldees any more?

  19. srook2 says:

    @Gover: That’s because you’re saying ‘Your people’ instead of ‘ur ppl’. :P

  20. srook2 says:

    Oh, and here’s a simple way to get more responses: Read what you’ve written and ask yourself whether reading this from a complete stranger in any context (dating or non-dating) would prompt you to reply.

    For guys, ask yourself if you’d reply to this from a guy. We don’t tend to be very good at filtering messages from women.

  21. Warren Huber says:

    I… see a rather large problem with your analysis, and one that effects me directly.

    This analysis is entirely without advice or data for homosexual members.

    Besides being deeply insulting to be ignored on a site that markets itself as LGBT friendly, a heterocentric analysis of such information is entirely useless to me as a gay man. I don’t know from your data mining if my messages are going to be read at rates like those in your “men messaging women” (because I’m a man), or more like your “women messaging men” (because my recipients are men), or if they will have their own pattern (because we are both men).

    I would greatly appreciate a non-discriminatory re-write of this article.

    Sincerely,
    ~Warren Huber

  22. John says:

    After reading the section about keywords I decided to put it to the test. I messaged two women. One with all the good words, the other with all the wrong ones.

    Good:
    Title: Awesome Message
    Hey, I am sorry, haha. I use to listen to this pretty band, but they just looked like zombies with tattoos. It’s kind of awkward but as far as literature goes, their lyrics are pretty good. I have a piercing.

    Bad:
    Title: Holla!
    wat up babe? luv tha way ur lookin.ur realy a cutie. dont be hatin. ur beautiful. wanna go hit a bar some time? if u wanna im ur man.

    I will keep you posted with results.

  23. Dan says:

    Interesting post. But I can’t seem to find your source for this data.

    What you say MIGHT be true. In fact, research conducted by myself and others indicates that something along these lines IS true. So I’d be quite happy to see additional support for such things.

    However, you’re not just giving some informal advice about writing shorter messages (based on, say, your own personal experience); you’re claiming to give the EXACT quantitative relationships between things like message length and conversation rates.

    So naturally, to take any of this seriously, we need to know: Where are you getting your data from? And what method were used?

    -Dan

  24. asymptoticlimit says:

    haven’t you guys seen the movie ‘they live’? to see the woman behind those photos, we’re going to need to put on our glasses..

    women have become desensitized. it’s that plain and simple. the barrage of emails, the getting hit on at every turn, the sheer volume of it all. it’s too much for them; adversely affects their personality; pushes them over the edge. they have to deal with looking after themselves, getting an education, holding on to a job, and now finding a mate. it desensitizes them emotionally, while switching on the survival gene. can you save them from it all? chances are, most men are in the same boat, and we can barely take care of ourselves. either way, it boils down to whether you are in a position to deliver the goods. women are ruthlessly practical.

    Chris says:
    September 4, 2009 at 4:35 am – having ‘to write longer messages out of necessity because a short one wouldn’t give them a chance.’ brilliant. you should have become a statistician. very insightful.

    Ricardo says:
    September 4, 2009 at 7:11 am – ‘… against all odds’. yeah, exactly right. sometimes i feel like a sperm competing against all you guys just for a chance to procreate. it’s just brutal; survival of the fittest, right in line with the hunter-gatherer mentality. God save us, one and all.

  25. ryan says:

    re: v’s comment, i think that the same douche bags write EVERY girl with the same stuff, pissing off the entire community. it’s probably like 5% of the guys ruining it for the other 95%. i work for a dating website, and take a keen interest in okc, because they do a lot of things right.

    here’s a feature i propose: a douche bag button. you shouldn’t be able to use it all that often, like say, twice in a week. but when some jerk off writes you a stupid message that defies logic, spelling, grammar, or any combination thereof, you db them. then, if enough women db someone, they’re banned from sending messages for a week, and can’t re-activate their account until they prove that they can spell. or that they’re not on the precipice of the armpit of civilization.

    regarding the graphs, here’s what the authors of the blog are trying to tell you: if you write X people, Y will be interested, and you’ll meet Z. of those Z, M will be mutually interested, and you’ll date D of them. it’s a numbers game. there might be one and only one person out there for you, who fulfills everything you were looking for, and can walk across a lake to heal wounded swans.

    what’s MORE likely is that there are millions of people out there who you could have a perfectly wonderful relationship with, and end up cranking out a bevy of ankle biters that you’ll inevitably transport around in a SUV with a bag of soccer balls in the back. if that’s your goal.

    okc and other dating sites (like _____, the one i work for) aren’t here to find your *perfect* match; that’s your job. they’re here to facilitate the X->Y->Z part. it’s up to you to decide whether that person you’re talking to heals wounded swans, or is a raging psychopath. or, more likely, is a complete moron who writes the same grammatical nightmare to five hundred girls in a twenty minute period.

    however, when playing the numbers game, there’s coefficients in X->Y, Y->Z, etc. and there’s a lot more steps. it’s more like a(X->Y), b(Y->Z), etc. let’s say you want to improve a. put up good pics of yourself, write something interesting in your ‘about me’, and make sure you highlight your interests and hobbies. for Buddha’s sake, take your text and run it through a spell checker, and gather some summary grammar statistics while you’re at it. spell checkers are ubiquitous; i’m using google chrome right now, and it tells me instantly when i misspell a word. and microsoft word has a fantastic grammar feature that tells you when you write like a moron.

    is it disingenuous to correct your spelling and grammar using a tool to do so, when you’re utterly incapable of spelling yourself? no. it means you’re smart enough to utilize the tools available to you, which is close enough for government work.

    now, when it comes to firing off long, rambling emails, that’s fine. do what you’ve gotta do. but, if you’re trying to meet the “ONE” for you, remember the X->Y->Z rule. to get to Z, you wanna increase X->Y. do you really want to be wasting your time on something that someone’s probably not going to read anyway? the authors of this blog are telling you that you may not want to. of course, you may be the person that likes to waste time writing stuff that nobody will ever read. they have a job title for that: it’s called “script writer” in hollywood. l.a. restaurants employ them.

    anyways that’s my two cents’ worth.

  26. Lorenzo says:

    I must admit I try to be sincere in my replies which can amount to a lengthy message (400-600 characters). And of the 30-40 messages I’ve sent (to ladies that I was sincerely interested in at least getting to know), I’ve received NO replies. A close friend of my mine told me that women seem to only treat a man with respect if he treats them like dirt. I’d hate to think that is true, but increasing evidence appears to prove otherwise. (Hence the expression “Nice guys finish last”.)

  27. sentienttomato says:

    Interesting blog post! Thanks! I forwarded it to a male friend who is sad about his low response rate.

    Personally I don’t go on this site very often, just because I’m really busy. But I still get a lot of messages from men (even though my profile does say that I’m rarely on the site).

    I find they are:

    75% “hi how you are you” or “your hot want to meet up”, usually from guys I have a really high enemy rating with (or my favorite, the older professor looking for student/prof sexual role play! um, no thanks)
    20% people who seem nice but are just not my type in some way (too far away, too old, or I’m just not attracted to them)
    5% guys who seem nice and there’s no reason I wouldn’t date them

    I would like to know what I should say to that middle group! I usually don’t respond b/c I think it’s pretty harsh to tell them I’m not attracted to them… and personally if someone doesn’t want to go out with me, I’d really rather they just not respond. But that’s my personal preference.

    I don’t like spelling mistakes and internet abbreviations (a few are okay though) because it seems like the person put in no effort, or can’t write! The odds are just pretty high that I wouldn’t get along well with that person.

    I find the Israel message completely unsurprising as I’ve gotten some equally ridiculous messages and ims! No men, I’m not quite gullible enough for “omg you’re incredibly beautiful! i can’t believe you’re on this site!!” ;-)

    PS – Mikeyk, hot buzzword first message. :)

  28. DiveGuyMSN says:

    I find this really interesting, as I would draw the exact opposite conclusion from your data. On average, a 3500 character initial message is replied to nearly 50% more often than a 50 word one, and 35% more often than a 200 word one, with comparable differences in how often they lead to a conversation.

    For me, there are very few women on this site who appealing enough to me than I want to get to know them better (I’m not putting this site down – it still happens more often here than in “real life”). There were perhaps a dozen or so when I joined two years ago, and a new one shows up maybe every few months. I try to only get in touch with one person at a time – I’m not in any hurry, so why risk “wasting” someone interesting by meeting her when I’m already getting to know someone else.

    For the rare women who is interesting enough that I’ll initiate contact, I think it’s worth the effort to put time and thought into the initial message, as I figure I really only get “one chance” to gain her interest. I know I go overboard sometimes, as one contactee commented that the excessive length of my messages can be a little intimidating, but I tend to think that’s better than risking being unnoticed. I think my experience supports this (anecdotal as it is), as nearly everyone I’ve contacted in the last couple years has responded (at least just to say they weren’t interested).

    Anyway, to me the data says that effectiveness grows with message length from a base level of 23%, which is probably the percentage of profiles the women on average find appealing enough to reply to *any* non-obnoxious message. A good initial message (assuming we go with the longer==better mindset) significantly increases the odds of a reply, with a wide plateau that starts around 1500 characters (300 words), and an interesting spike above 3500 characters (I’m curious to see what the odds are for messages right near the limit).

    So for a particular woman you (as a guy) would really like to get to know better, it’s worth your effort to spend more time writing a good initial message. If you’d just like to meet lots of women (which has its merits too – it’s surprisingly hard to determine compatibility from electronic communication), then it would be more effective to send more messages, spending less time on each one.

    I’d like to see more statistics on the keywords – there’s lots of room for interesting analysis there (especially correlating words used in messages with words found in the recipients profile).

  29. johnny says:

    these analyses are pretty sweet. ya’ll keep them coming!

  30. Janna says:

    I too would like to see stats on women contacting women. After too many messages that said things like “ur cute” and “nice profile” I gave up on men.

  31. NotRight says:

    An interesting start to a conversation on the topic, here’s my two cents to add to it.

    I joined OKC before it was OKC in 2004. I’ve been meeting people on here since 2005 in Canada, California, Idaho, Oregon and Washington State. In that time I’ve learned a couple things.

    - Putting the time in to get to know someone can be a great thing, but also look to see how much they are putting in too. I’ve definitely started off with a few very long e-mails, but I made sure I enjoyed writing them too. Try not to be too result oriented and you’re less likely to get frustrated by the process.

    - If you’re too invested too early on, it can get rough: give people a chance to show who they are and what they want before you get invested.

    - In the context of a relationship/long-term dating, being rejected for who you are is better than being accepted for who you aren’t. The earlier situational advice about spending time finding the right people vs. crafting the right e-mail can be more globally applied.

    - Each person that turns you down makes you available for someone else that understands you better. It really does pay off in the long run. :)

    I’ve met some of my best friends and started some of my relationships on this site and it really encourages communication. There may be a limited number of people in your area that you’d consider dating, but that doesn’t mean you should take it personally if any given one rejects you. There can be a lot of reasons that have nothing to do with you at all why they might not be ready/right for you at any given moment.

    Plus, there’s no predicting when the “right” person will show up, so don’t discouraged if it’s taken a while. :)

  32. rockandrollepic says:

    i usually just say i love you right off the bat. works like a charm.

  33. Soul says:

    It doesn’t just matter what is written…some people (guys and girls) have pictures that are too abstract, creepy, or just a plain bad picture…and as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words

  34. slam says:

    What I see in this graph is that the longer the first message, the greater is the chance of starting a conversation. Your analysis, though, contradicts this. You seem to say that a 200 character message is the optimal length because it’s fast and allows a male to have more conversations per hour with different females, and you assume that more conversations leads to more dates.

    I find this flawed. I suspect for some people, a well researched single email to a top match may yield the best reward.

    The word success rate looks cool though. Post more of those!

  35. pryzm70 says:

    I wonder if there is a correlation between the length of a person’s profile and the length of messages they receive that they are likely to respond to…

    So if you read a long, detailed profile, would a more detailed message be more likely to get a response than a “Nice profile” message? And vice versa. Hmmm….

  36. master_pua says:

    Haha sorry for this awkward random message, but I was flipping through some awesome old literature about traditional tattoos and piercings and suddenly realized that white zombie is pretty much my favorite band ever.

  37. Donny Viszneki says:

    logarithmic scale plz thx

  38. professorroboto says:

    I actually talk to a lot of girls about zombies before reading this. Didn’t realize it was such a popular thing. Thanks for making me feel like another average Joe….

  39. ulfilias0 says:

    Nice to see the stats and the interpretation and i must admit I’d already started going with the advice as when i was a newbie i’d write a lot more, invest a load of time and thought into what i wrote and its pretty soul crushing when someone doesn’t respond….These days its more a couple of comments on the profile (demonstrates you’ve read it) and maybe a quip or pertinant joke. A few minutes max…If they like you they’ll respond anyway, if not, no biggie. The *long* message won’t persuade them.

    I agree about being yourself though. People either love me for who i am or it simply isn’t worth it.

  40. Hmm says:

    I assume this is intended as musing over statistics and not actually intended to provide a conclusion, scientific or otherwise, about a correlation between message length and response rates… right?

    Why would you look at the raw data, see that short messages tend to translate to higher response rates, and assume there is a correlation? I’m no scientist or statistician, and I can plainly see that it may well be that ridiculously attractive people may get lots of responses regardless of message length or content, whereas the less attractive (especially when approaching people “out of their league”*) may not get anywhere no matter what they say. Maybe hot people just send shorter messages. Your cursory survey of the data doesn’t even attempt to determine WHY people responded, which is both difficult to determine, and the only thing that’s actually meaningful.

    This isn’t real life, it’s the Internet — a man with confidence and a clue can be quite successful approaching women in the real world, and yet get nowhere on a dating site, simply because of the dynamics of dating sites. Women get deluged with stupid messages from lazy men (not unlike many women’s real-world experience of receiving unwanted attention from men), but unlike in the real world, they may miss a more thoughtful and interesting message buried in the pile of trash. It also seems like women who get tired of such games delete their accounts without much hesitation, while I suspect more men leave their accounts open but dormant (how about taking a look at the data on account lifespan, correlated with number of messages sent/received/replied to, for men and women?). I don’t know a single woman in real life who has tried online dating (and I know a fair number) who hasn’t subsequently deleted her account in disgust. For a community like OKC, that effectively takes her off the market — equivalent to, say, no longer hitting the bar scene in real life, except that she’s still going to meet people every day in lots of other situations. All reasons why, unless you’re lucky or unusual, online dating is best seen as a supplement to, not a substitute for, meeting people in real life.

    * The whole idea of someone being “out of your league” is silly to begin with — that having been said, you really need to align with someone on multiple levels to be compatible.

  41. themooncalf says:

    All the Nigerian scammers have brevity down to an art. However, the first message I get from scammers (at least 3 per week) usually has at least 4 typos or net-speaks.

  42. Lolitta says:

    I like your article. My experience corelates with your findings clearly. If we can’t figure this out on our own then we won’t be able to hold a conversation. Life experience is the greatest teacher.

  43. Jack says:

    I find this survey very heteronormative. It’s really a shame that you don’t even mention a word about GLBT people in your analysis.

  44. Morgon says:

    This also brings up something else..

    Honestly, I really think the response rate should be MUCH higher – but not because people should take what comes to them, but rather the Common Courtesy factor.

    If someone took the time to approach you in real life, you wouldn’t act like they don’t exist – so why should it be any different here?

    I’d love to see OkCupid provide some incentive to respond to messages, even if it’s just to say “Thanks for taking the time to write, but I’m not interested.” Optional but appreciated, “Here’s why: _______.”

    (Obviously I’m assuming the person writing isn’t being a total asshat and making (unwanted?) sexual advances, or other assorted asshattery – ignoring them is understandable)

  45. Shawn says:

    Even though the fact that you guys collect this much data is somewhat creepy, I’m a huge nerd and love graphs like crazy. Anything put in a graph instantly becomes much more entertaining. Keep up the good work!

  46. J says:

    Regarding “your people need to get out of Israel”.

    ‘What do you mean by “*your* people”?!’ (paraphrasing “Tropic Thunder”)

    I don’t think that that person was truly caring for the plight of the Jews of Israel being threatened by surrounding enemy countries and their terrorist infiltrators, nor for those of Israeli Arabs who are discriminated against in the Jewish State (but who probably enjoy more rights and economic benefits than typical Arabs do in most Arab countries). [I'm kind of regretful this will launch the Middle Eastern debates and hates.]

    In any case, I think such nuances are lost on the Israel-concerned-Lothario. More likely, when he’s sending out such a message, he’s not here to date but to be offensive. And he’s not even good at that, since he’s such a coward to not actually be blatantly anti-Jewish, so that his account is suspended. I think this person’s real message is that he doesn’t like Jews, and he knows enough about Jews to know that there is a Jewish state named Israel, and he knows enough about keeping his account to not say blatantly anti-Jewish things and/or combine them with profanities.

    The reason I think this person is a careful/cowardly idiot who doesn’t like Jews is that if this person were really concerned about the plight of the Israeli Arabs and the Palestinian Arabs, then he would say, ‘Your people should leave Palestine,’ or ‘Jews out of Palestine,’ which follows the rhetoric of anti-Israeli Arabs, and would be the most accepted way to demonstrate his support of them one Jew at a time. He just needs to send that message out ten million more times.

    Now I’m going to further add to the ‘tragedy of the commons;’ I’m sorry to say, since I wish people could all be tolerant and open, which makes this site better, but I don’t think that Jews are smart to openly identify themselves as such, especially online on a public site. An Israeli youth was targeted online and killed for his religion when he met up for his date just across the checkpoint. [This was pre-OKCupid.] If a Jew really wants to meet up with Jews, then s/he could/should use keywords or phrases that most anti-Jews wouldn’t understand but that other Jews could. This is how discriminated people survive and thrive.

    Unfortunately, this messes up the search feature for the Jews who want to meet Jews, forcing Jewish-concerned-Jews to spend more time reading through irrelevant profiles, but it will screen out most of the anti-Jews, since if they really wanted to kill Jews or insult them, there are easier ways to find some than screening through subtly worded profiles. Of course, Jews aren’t politely lining up to be killed, so such anti-Jews might find the reaction to be painful or lethal.

    All this to say, this is a dating site. Crypto-anti-Jews or any offensive anti-any’s should lose their memberships.

    There’s a big difference between “your people should get out of Israel” and this catchy 455 character approach:

    ‘Hi. I think your profile is awesome. You are into some great bands and literature. I also have piercings and tattoos. Zombies are awesome. Haha. All that said, I feel awkward about your support of Israel, since we have so much in common. I think the Palestinian Arabs should be able to live where ever they want, and that the Jewish Palestinians and the European Jews kicked them out of their homes. I’m sorry if you can’t get beyond this with me.’

    This is nothing like ‘your people should get out of Israel.’ This person should be invited to leave OKCupid.

    Well, a lot of good that did. Congratulations if you are the 1% who made it this far.

  47. J says:

    Tony Bennett once said that when a man enters a room, he should act like the captain of the ship. I like to combine that with saying something stupid or obvious. It saves time and is very efficient.

    Women like confidence in a man for a relationship. They like looks and confidence for someone to have sex with. Women chose, so it is up to the men to do and get chosen, or move on and get chosen by someone else.

    This is why I force myself to say the stupidest most obvious things, said confidently. If the woman is interested by my confidence and looks, then she’ll signal interest. If not, then move on.

    Nonetheless, spelling, diction and grammar do count to signal basic intelligence, manners and maturity.

    Here’s a good approach:

    ‘You are into some great bands and literature. I also have piercings and tattoos. Zombies are awesome!!!’

    This implies that the fella read her profile, responded to her interests, and looked at her pictures. If she’s interested in him, she might ask which bands or books he likes, and hope he asks her to see a Zombie movie.

    We are all going to hell on earth fast!

  48. quaestiovir says:

    Hah! Just for the stats, this is the exception that proves the rule. I just got a message saying: “i wanna smell your panties,” to which I ACTUALLY SENT A RESPONSE. I told him: “Lotta things we want that we can’t have,” & blocked the sender.

    A number of folks here complaining about: “The stats make sense if just getting lots of responses is your objective, never mind if the responder is a good match for you or not.” My question being, why TF would you be sending mail to (& hoping for a response from) someone you don’t think is a match, anyway?!?

    My biggest motivation for NOT REPLYING to a message would be when it’s apparent that the sender has not read my profile, & thus isn’t interested in knowing what I’m looking for and whether or not we would be a match.

  49. Chris says:

    On the last chart, I wonder why “beautiful” has a negative keyword response while its synonym “pretty” has a positive one??

  50. faith_205 says:

    I find that a short message doesn;t leave a lot to reply to, and if someones profile also doesn’t give a lot away, it can be off putting.

    I know everyone isn’t that open, but its hard to tell who people are when they don’t put much. As for well thought out profiles, mine probably isn’t, i did the same thing i normally do and just typed away, i hate the thought of people thinking out their profiles it brings to mind such a picture of manipulation.

    When someone has sent a detailed message, i really appreaciate the time spent, and it makes you feel special that someone would put that time aside to talk to you out of all the other profiles out there, rather than ‘playing a numbers game’.

    Thats probably me romantising the situation a bit but its what i hope people think and feel when they send a message. Not ‘am i gonna get some’? but wow this is a person i could enjoy getting to know.

    Everybody has a story to tell and ignoring somebody makes me feel awful but some messages are just so obviously a booty call there is no point replying and then having to be rude later. These also tend to be the shorter ones!

    Whenever i have written a message first i always read their profile first and try to pick up the points of common interest in it. Similarly with a response to a first message. I’d expect someone to look at my profile, not looking at theirs before my response would just be rude.

    Reading all this has really made me think, which i guess is the point of the exercise, and i guess if it helps people start talking it was well worth it.

    Hope anybody reading this takes care! x