How to succeed on OKCupid
I am no longer on OkCupid myself. I erased my profile sometime before I got engaged. However I talk to many friends who ask me how I managed to find my wife on OkCupid, and I found myself explaining it so many times that I decided to just post it here for everyone to see. Now I can just refer my friends to this post and save myself ~15 minutes for every friend who asks
I have been on OKCupid for many, many years. In fact it is where I found my first wife! Anyway when the two students who made this wonderful web site first released it, all of their formulas were publicly exposed on the site in the form of very detailed graphs. It really explained their matching algorithms, showed the Bayesian math used for matching, and the theory behind the matching algorithm. It all made perfect sense to me, in a very nerdy kinda way. I absolutely loved it.
What I did wrong
The short answer: I answered too many questions. Many that were not really relevant or related to my core values. Why? Because I wasn’t really aware of my core values, I took them for granted and it cost me dearly (as will sometimes happen when you take something for granted). I didn’t understand the importance of finding a life partner who had similar core values to mine, I thought the world is one big global village, and I felt myself cosmopolitan enough and open minded enough that I might accommodate a woman of any cultural background. I figured I would learn and adapt. But boy was I wrong… That mistake cost me 11 years of my life. Simply being well aware of the importance of matching core values would have helped me find a better partner, earlier in life. Who knows, by now I would have had 5 kids! (which is the number of children I would like to have, ideally).
How I fixed it
After my first divorce I had plenty of time for self-analysis (which followed a period of denial and self blame…). It was really important for me to understand where I went wrong, what was my responsibility and what wasn’t, what things I could have done better, and what things I could never change no matter how hard I try. That’s when I realized it was really a matter of core values, which I had very few in common with my first wife. I sat down and actually created a document listing my core values by order of importance. Putting it in a document really helped me figure things out for myself, and I recommend you do this regardless of your relationship status. I feel it’s an important exercise. Following the core values epiphany, and armed with my core values document, I logged onto OKCupid, nuked my profile and started from scratch. This time around I simply skipped questions that weren’t related directly to my core values.
Why / How it works
OKCupid matching scores are calculated based on how users answer their questions, how they specify their partner should answer, how their partner answers his/her questions, and how they specify you should answer yours. This is a 4 parameter match (two from each side). The algorithm can only match two questions if both you and your potential partner answered that same question. This means that in order to achieve a high level of accuracy, you need to match on as few questions as possible, as best possible. Any irrelevant question you answered pollutes your pool of matches with irrelevant candidates.
More pro tips
Your photos: Do NOT upload crappy photos. I repeat, do NOT upload your crappy cell-phone selfies. You have some high principles about beauty being skin deep? That’s really great, but keep that for when you educate your children about inner/outer beauty. Your goal is to hook that potential partner of yours, and like it or not, your photo is the first hook that grabs people’s attention. I am not exaggerating when I say that you should probably have a professional photographer take photos of you wearing something nice. And specifically with OkCupid: did you know that when you are rated as “attractive” (using OkCupid’s “Hot Or Not” feature), your profile will be exposed to an entirely different group of people who are in the “highly attractive” tier, people you would never even see on the site unless you were also in the “Attractive” club? Now you do! So have someone take really great photos of you, and do not upload anything else. Besides, we know people always look better in person, so it’s not like you’d be lying about your appearance.
Your dating strategy & first date chemistry: Most people are extremely nervous on their first date. They will fumble, mumble, and make mistakes. They will be sloppy, drop things on the floor, or be very quiet and shy. It doesn’t mean they are boring or have nothing to talk about. In most cases, do yourself a favor and give your date a second chance. If you drink, start the date by drinking a glass of wine. Allow yourself to be surprised by your date. People are entire universes, you can’t really judge them based on a single half hour date.
On the matter of attraction: I love giving this example to my friends – Imagine you meet the most beautiful woman in a bar. She sits alone, and it just so happens the seat next to her is the only seat that’s free. You sit next to her, order some exotic drink which sparks her curiosity. She asks if she can taste it, and you start talking and you can’t believe how lucky you are. Now imagine she says something so horribly wrong, that you completely lose respect for that woman. In other words, she gets instantly transformed from an extremely attractive lady, to a really horrible, repulsive human being, so much so that you can’t even imagine yourself touching her (and you feel the need to just pay your bill and leave the place). This is not completely far fetched, it can (and does) happen. And just as THIS can happen, please entertain the possibility that the opposite can happen: You meet a person that is not very attractive at first, but once you start talking, their manners, body language, knowledge and personality have you completely hooked, attracted and even aroused. In fact, many women out there do not conform to the “Playboy” stereotypical body image, but are extremely sexy and attractive. So let this be a lesson to you: Get to really know a person before you decide if they are attractive or not.