On a FetLife group about dating on OKC, the question was asked:
Who messages first?
According to a new study done by the OKCupid team, they stated that more messages happen when she sends the first message. What are your thoughts on this study? What do you feel would be the best course of actions to pursue a mate? What is your thought from the perspective of the opposite sex?
So I responded:
So, I did an informal dating study last year about exactly this (I was doing research for a kinky dating book I’m writing with a co-author). Here is what I did:
Set up an account almost exactly the same as my personal account, different pictures, but still my face, etc.
Wrote about the same thing, but different words.
On my personal dating account, I wait for men to message me, and always respond (even if I say, “No, thank you.”).
On the clone account, I reached out only and did not interact with men who messaged me.
Over 3 months, here is what I discovered:
- I received 272 messages on my personal account (which had been up for a while, to be fair). I sent exactly 350 messages on my clone account, all to men within 2 hours’ drive of me.
- I was exactly me. I did not change anything, except my initial approach. In my approach, I said something personal about their profile, and each first message was 3-5 sentences long.
- I got 17 in-person meets through my personal profile. I got 0 from my clone.
- 29 men interacted with me on both profiles. Of those 29, 24 of them had almost the exact same first initial messages, except for responding to what I said. 2 of them met me in person after approaching me.
- Men who were approached initially expressed happiness and intense interest about being approached, but faded away more quickly. The average # of messages from a guy in the clone account was 7.2, while in my personal account, it was 13.3.
I found the results fascinating. I closed the clone account, and still have my other account open.
There were some followup questions about my dating experiment:
Maybe your original profile had more questions answered or there were subliminal differences in the text or pictures?
Same number of questions. The profiles of course had subtle differences. I was working in my local area, so they couldn’t be exactly the same. Although, for the 8 people I took entirely out of the numbers, it was evident I was the exact same person.
Or perhaps it’s really that men still want to feel like they are the pursuer and feel like they didn’t succeed in conquering you when you initiate.
This is my take-away. I did the experiment because I’d been thinking that for a while, but I’ve always liked approaching, and didn’t want to stop.
Or maybe you enjoy being pursued and would put out a more positive vibe to secure a date when approached?
Oh, I do. I don’t pursue. I do love to approach and flirt, though. Always have.
I responded to possible date cues in the same way with each set, as much as possible, being me, and human.
Or maybe you’re not good at first messages at all!
That’s possible. Again, though EVERY first message I sent was responded to positively and most said they were happy I approached.
Who knows maybe we’re trying to make it too scientific and in reality it’s just luck of the draw, a right place right time phenomenon.
Definitely a possibility.
But interesting, nonetheless.
My dating takeaway.
For me, it’s clear I’ll probably have more success letting them approach. At least on that site, it’s not an exhaustive study.
However, there are times I do want to approach, and I will, because that’s who I am.