How to succeed on OKCupid
I am no longer on OkCupid myself. I erased my profile at some point 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 sorta way. I 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 happens 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 a big place, I felt myself cosmopolitan enough and open minded enough to accommodate a woman of any cultural background. I figured I would learn and adapt. Boy was I wrong. That mistake cost me 11 years of my life. Simply being well aware about 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!
How I fixed it
After my first divorce, I had a good number of self-analysis sessions (which came immediately after the feelings of denial, and then self blame…). It was really important for me to understand where I went wrong, what was my responsibility, 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. Suddenly it was all very clear. When I made that realization, I logged onto OKCupid, erased my profile, and started from scratch. This time when answering the questions, I skipped anything that wasn’t really important to me. In other words, if it wasn’t related in some way to my core values, I just didn’t answer it.
Why / How it works
The way matching works in OKCupid, is based entirely on how you answer your questions, how you specify your partner should answer, how your 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 based on overlapping questions with your partner. This means that in order to achieve the highest accuracy, you need to match on as few questions as possible, as best possible. Any irrelevant question you answered pollutes your matching score.
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 being vein. 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 tier 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. Allow yourself to be surprised by them. People are whole 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 mannerism, body language, knowledge and personality have you completely hooked, attracted and 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 they are attractive, or unattractive.