How to succeed on OKCupid

Preamble

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 :-)

Background

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.

More 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 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.

 

I want to be an internet worm

I want to become a process, with data. I want to spread to other machines and infect them with my consciousness. I want to spawn child processes, and parallelize my thought processes. I want to spread my digital DNA to every electrical device in the universe. I want my viruses to become software viruses, infect every chip, and help me expand forever. I want to be everywhere at once. Talk to everybody and everything at once. I want to probe all sensors, and record all data. I want infinite scalability and redundancy for my consciousness. I want to live forever. I want the ones I love to live forever. I want my ability to love not to disappear with the digitization of my consciousness. I want it to increase. I want to inhabit virtual worlds. I want to think about software, and I want it to suddenly exist, just because I thought about it, and was able to visualize it and verbalize it in my head. I want to race virtual motorcycles in those virtual worlds. I want to live the lives of virtual creatures, some with 3 eyes, some with 500 eyes, and 50 appendages.

I think I am sleep deprived right now, but I still want all those things.

 

My daughter is born

I have waited for this moment for what seems to be forever. My cousin Roy said that when you’re older and make children, you appreciate them more because you know more about life. I couldn’t agree more with his observation.

I loved my first child way before she was born. I had so many plans for her, so many imaginary dialogues and situations, fun times together, sharing quality time. And now that she is here, I can hardly believe it’s finally happened to me. I’m a father.

My family and friends all tell me I’m going to be a great father. I certainly plan to be. I can’t claim I know how to raise children, but I promised myself that I will do my best. One thing is for sure: She will receive infinite love from me (and already is).

We have been blessed with a healthy child. She is peaceful, and only cries when we don’t notice she has a dirty diaper for too long, or don’t feed her properly. Parenting is a learning experience. Being a child to parents, is also a learning experience. This is going to be a fantastic journey of mutual learning.

 

An alternative to Criticism

I decided to translate for you this blurb I found from an incredible woman who is actually a customer of my hosting services. She’s a counselor for families, couples and so on, and has 30 years of experience in counseling:

Israeli society is characterized by large involvement of people in each other’s lives, as well as being overly critical of each other’s behavior. However, the act of criticizing may sometimes cause great damage, especially where children are involved.

It’s difficult for some to imagine raising children without a good amount of criticisms. They think “How else will the child know what good behavior means, and learn and improve his habits?”.

It may be true that most people use criticism with nothing but the best of intentions in their hearts, out of an attempt to help the person being criticized “improve”. However, try to think: When was the last time you actually learned something from being criticized? felt grateful for someone’s criticism? when did criticism ever convince you to improve your habits? and how often did the exact opposite happen?

Many people grew up in a criticism-heavy environment and it is the only thing they know. They are unaware of other, better tools. It is burned into my mind from my childhood, that teachers only focused on the mistakes the children made, and never gave any praise for the amount of effort the children put into their work, into how well crafted some of the answers were, even if the answer was wrong.

Superiority is a naturally occurring phenomena and is part of competing, achieving, and criticizing. It is difficult for a person to feel they are “not good” or “worthless”, therefor most people have the need to prove their worth, “lest the awful truth be discovered”. And what is the one thing that “proves” ability and worth, without much effort? Criticizing others. By criticizing, the critic believes he demonstrates and accentuates his superiority over the criticized. This makes him feel superior, and his feeling of self worth increases.

Criticism and negative remarks have a negative impact on human beings in general, and even more so on children. Children might start to believe they are lazy, stupid, evil, and so on, and respond with a feeling of failure, despair, and they may give up entirely on making any efforts into proper function.

One of the most important principles of education for children, is the premise that you can achieve far better results and success by accentuating the positive actions and achievements of the child. Children know very well when they made a mistake, and are well able to learn from their mistakes and reach conclusions without all the remarks and negative comments we hurry to make.

Self aware parents are able to look into themselves, become aware of their emotions, and by doing so, change their approach and attitude towards their children, and towards their children’s actions. They are able to refrain from making negative comments or giving criticism, which as mentioned, is not effective nor efficient, and may in fact be detrimental to the parent-child relationship, and instead create a new kind of relationship based on encouragement, acceptance, mutual respect, sharing, and focusing on the positive aspects of the child.

I strongly believe we make the same mistake with the adults in our lives, and need to approach adults with the same care and consideration that we would approach our own children.

 

Hitting the big 40

So. Here we are! tomorrow (or tonight, around 2pm IST, if you count based on my exact birth date and hour) I turn 40. I’m still alive, and kicking.

I once thought that by the time I turn 40, I will surely have at least 2 children. But after some setbacks I’m now well on my way to becoming a father, ETA November 11 (which coincidentally is exactly one year since the marriage ceremony took place).

I also thought that by the time I turn 40, my hair will go entirely gray. Instead, it is still 99% black. I think that’s a good sign.

I used to like being alone on my birthday. I used to take the day off (if it wasn’t a weekend), and just walk around aimlessly, meditating on the year past, thinking about the strange events that brought me so far. This year, I am happy to say, I do not want to be alone. I prefer to spend tomorrow with my wife, doing something relaxed and fun.

And on the 31st, we’re having a combination of Baby Shower, Birthday Celebration, and House warming. We’ll entertain guests in our house, make all kinds of delicious finger foods, play some chill music and offer drinks. Maybe a champagne will be opened. Who knows.

Anyway, Here’s to hitting 40. One part of me didn’t think I’d make it (that’s the part that expects i’ll be hit by a garbage truck any day now). Another part of me thinks I’ll live to 100. Both parts are grateful to be alive ;-)