Online Dating: Stay Humble, Be Trustworthy

divorced over 50, gray divorce, online dating

Are you doing online dating? Or might you in the future?

Whether now or later, you’ll obviously want to present the best “you” you possibly can.

But can building yourself up too much, even it’s all true and verifiable, actually make you less attractive, resulting in fewer contacts from potential dates?

According to this article from the Washington Post, that’s exactly the case.

Researchers set out to determine what types of content affected online dating results. They studied two profile areas: “selective self-presentation”, or the degree to which one highlighted his or her best traits and minimized the worst; and “warranting”, which means how much proof was presented to back up any claims.

The researchers had over 300 online daters review sample profiles that contained high or low selective self presentation, and high or low warranting.

The study showed that high selective self presentation was seen as bragging, rendering those folks less appealing. Adding high warranting actually made things worse, as they came off as arrogant.

The best combination was low selective self presentation and high warranting. In other words, people who didn’t brag, but who did provide some proof for what they were saying, came off the best. Which may mean that in the online world, the best results come not to those who are the most physically attractive or accomplished, but rather the ones seen as most trustworthy.

This is purely a supposition on my part, but I have to believe this would be even more true in our older, more life-experienced demographic. Have been through a DO50, we’re much more likely to see trustworthiness as a tremendously desirable trait.

If you are online, but not getting the results you want, perhaps you need to reduce the emphasis on all your good qualities, and try to find third-party verification of your strengths (for example, a link to charity on whose board you serve).

And if you’re not online now, but may be someday, it’s certainly worth keeping this study in mind.