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“The most common behavior for both men and women is to contact members of the opposite sex who on average have roughly the same ranking as themselves,” Bruch and her colleagues write.
desirable than themselves on average—and hardly any users contact partners who are significantly less desirable.”- Your online-dating experience is not as bad as this poor woman’s in New York.“The most popular individual in our four cities, a 30-year-old woman living in New York, received 1504 messages during the period of observation,” the study says.
“The greater choice set pays dividends to people who are willing to be persistent in trying to find a mate.”Of the study as a whole, he said: “I think its conclusions are robust and its methodologies are sound.”Yet what also emerges from the data is a far more depressing idea of “leagues” than many joking friends would suppose.
Across the four cities and the thousands of users, consistent patterns around age, race, and education level emerge.
“A defining feature of heterosexual online dating is that, in the vast majority of cases, it is men who establish the first contact—more than 80 percent of first messages are from men in our data set,” the study says.
Michael Rosenfeld, a professor of sociology at Stanford University who was not connected to this study, agreed that persistence was a good strategy.
“The idea that persistence pays off makes sense to me, as the online-dating world has a wider choice set of potential mates to choose from,” he told me in an email.
You feel the room shrink, your heart rate quicken, your face go red: You’re crushing on this stranger, Wait a second, you counter: Do dating “leagues” even exist? But you’re not alone in trying to escape yours: “Three-quarters, or more, of people are dating aspirationally,” she says.
At this point, Elizabeth Bruch, a professor of sociology at the University of Michigan, crashes in to your thought process (and this news article). And according to a new study, users of online-dating sites spend most of their time trying to contact people “out of their league.”In fact, most online-dating users tend to message people more desirable than they are. She’s spent the past few years studying how people make decisions and pursue partners on online-dating sites, using exclusive data from the dating sites themselves.It found that—insofar as dating “leagues” are not different tiers of hotness, but a single ascending hierarchy of desirability—then they do seem to exist in the data.