How to Turn an Online Love Match Into a Real Date

Macro Love Key
Photograph by Brent Disney — Getty Images

If you’re currently single and somehow convinced you should have a date for Valentine’s Day this Sunday, the power of data analysis might be able to help.

As long as dating apps and sites aren’t a deterrent for you, here are a few tips from the data scientists over at Hinge, a New York City-based dating app that relies on your social network to find you potential matches. The company says it analyzed, presumably anonymized, data from the interactions of 5,000 of its users who exchanged phone numbers within 24 hours of being matched after they expressed interest in each other.

So, what words or phrases should you avoid on your quest to score those magic digits?

For one, you should avoid apologizing in your opener, however much you want to express remorse for taking too long to start a conversation or responding. According to Hinge, using the word “sorry” lowers your chances of swapping phone numbers by 56%, and same goes for being vague when it comes to the timing for a first date. Suggesting to get together “this weekend” or at another equally unspecific time lowers your chances by 40%.

However, laughter has the opposite effect, the company found. Words that indicate it, like “haha” or “lol” (“laugh out loud”), had a 17% higher chance of exchanging numbers. And of course, compliments are great well. Hinge found that complimenting the other person’s name increased the chances of getting their phone number within the first 24 hours by 12.5%.

Of course, these tips alone won’t guarantee a date or even a phone number. Basic social skills, a connection of some sort, or even a winter blizzard might be needed in most cases. But at least science can now help you avoid some basic mistakes.

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