Online dating lessons summarized

Aaron Renn’s blog had several posts where users shared their experiences after his article on online dating. I’m going to group them with the commonalities of the ones that had success and the ones that didn’t.

As people know, I didn’t have success either with about 200+ messages, 5 replies, 3 multi-replies, and 1 date. Facially I’m probably about a 5 I would guess. Slightly below average height. Definitely not in the top looks or anything. However, I probably had deficiencies with my profile as well compared to some of the other men we’ll look at.

Online dating success story

Successfully married:

  • Mid 30s, not overweight or out of shape
  • Pictures were of activities that he liked to do
  • Cast a wide net — messaged all available women he found attractive
  • Any received messages try to get to dates with small amounts of messaging
  • Owns a house, business, and farm
  • Had expectations of other personal details.

Failure but lessons:

  • Late 20s at the time. Below average height and a little overweight, but high income for age and owned own house.
  • Faith based sites generally better because of more women
  • Premium sites slightly better because more people are serious (lifetime fee premium possibly best?).
  • Non-religious sites messages are fired off into the ether never to return. Most of his responses coming from women that he found barely attractive to message (e.g. his profile was of probably only slightly above average attractiveness).
  • Catholic Match and Ave Maria singles were good as a Catholic. Phoned a few and met two in person.
  • “A little more mature at the time, may have married someone he met online”

How to make the most of online dating

Successfully married:

  • Early 40s, 5’6″, 185 stocky muscular (not flabby – big difference).
  • Own business, has all hair, never married, no children, large southeast metro area
  • Little success on, OKcupid, plenty of fish, coffee meets bagel
  • Bumble (where women message first) was very good. Swipe right on all 40 profiles per day and wait for them to write. 25 matches/wk and half write. Those half are interested. Could convert to 4-6 dates per week, but 3-5 first dates to improve quality was norm. 1-2 get a second date.
  • Biggest change from little to lots of interest: quality pictures. When traveling Europe paid to get stylish and casual photos for a business website, which he used for dating profile. Photos implied financially successful without boat and sport car cliches.
  • Profile written slightly obnoxiously to refer to him as the prize. Selective/worthy to join my club type. Made fun of women who like to shop at Target. Only described as Christian looking for a relationship without any other religious references.
  • Almost all women who wrote were 28-42. Most were cute, but somehow the algorithm was ‘convinced’ he ‘deserved’ cute women.
  • Half say what’s up or mention the obnoxious profile. Those who reference profile tend to have more personality in person. Establish some points of interest and then after 12-15 messages go on a date if more interest.
  • Not relevant to go into detail about what you really want or what your interests are. Few paragraphs about why if you want to read the link.
  • Knows how to talk to people and make them feel comfortable which is what men need to learn how to do to be successful on dates and helpful for all aspects of life even in marriage.
  • Action points: get good photos, writing should show humor and self confidence, teasing is a plus, take the written parts seriously. Don’t go into hyper detail about your relationship with God or views on theology generally as you can do that later. Start with Bumble.

My experience with online dating


  • Did fairly well with attracting women growing up in high school and college. “Funny enough, smart enough, tall enough and physically attractive enough that was reasonably happy with the prospects able to attract but usually screwed it up once there was interest (e.g. male feminist).”
  • First 50% of the post is analyzing about how the algorithms work.
  • 28 months went on 6 dates after 70,000 profile views, 60,000 unattractive ones, 800 likes, 75 matches from 800 likes (~10%), 33-34 conversations, 6 dates.
  • Saw a great looking girl on the app and liked her. Didn’t hear back. Saw her at a party, and she liked him in person since he was comfortable, laughing, and in many ways the life of the party. Didn’t work out cause he did some research and she seemed like a cultural Christian.
  • “in a global marketplace you need to be the top of the very, very top. In a local marketplace you just need to be the top of WHOEVER ELSE IS AROUND.”


  • Met on e-harmony 2007-2008. Hardest part was figuring out who was “above my station” and “below my station” (in attractiveness I guess?) and marketing self toward that.
  • Another knows several who met online but not through dating platforms. Mainly specific interest groups.

Overall, it appears that if you want to go the online dating route that you:

  • Get professional photos
  • At least be in the “top 20%” in a couple categories (e.g. own house, business) if you have some relative negatives like being shorter on average.
  • Cater profile to be Christian but also funny and confident and successful (e.g. tick off traits that appeal to hypergamy).
  • Cast a wide net, and try to convert any message/interest into dates rapidly.
  • Be a bit more selective on the 2nd dates.

I’m not sure my profile would have done any better with some of these things, but maybe it would have. If you’re still interested in online dating, give some of these things a shot.

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3 Responses to Online dating lessons summarized

  1. Anonymous Reader says:

    Thanks for this post.
    I know a few people who have matched up via online, probably they didn’t get above themselves. Almost as though humility is a good thing.

    This reminds me, Josh Harris who once kissed dating goodbye has a new service online. It’s not clear how many customers he’s likely to have.

  2. Pingback: What I’m Reading, Listening to, And Concerned About | Mogadishu Matt

  3. Anonymous Reader says:

    I wonder how many women mention their tattoos on various profiles. In some subcultures there is a lot of visible ink on the girls over 25.

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