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If the dating app Tinder created our swipe-left-or-swipe-right world, a new generation of competitors is piling on to perfect it: There’s Hinge, which offers a heightened level of curation—and less of the creepy randomness of Tinder—by linking you to your Facebook friends’ friends; Happn, which GPS-tracks your daily wanderings to see where you overlap with nearby girls; and Tastebuds, which raids your music collection to find women with similar musical tastes. (Those are just a few of the options out there.) And these apps aren’t just for hooking up: A whopping third of new marriages start out online or via apps, a number that’s expected to rise, according to a recent University of Chicago study. With so much dating firepower at your fingertips, why aren’t you sharing sheets all the time? Well, you’re probably doing it wrong, dating experts say. Remember: You have only a split second to catch a girl’s attention. So use these surefire, scientifically proven tricks and you’ll never sleep alone again.
1) Crack the photo code once and for all
“You don’t have to be really good-looking; you just have to seem interesting,” says L.A. dating coach Leonardo Bustos. You want four or five clear photos that mix head shots and body shots, with one active shot (outdoorsy pics get 19% more clicks) and one clean-shaven, because girls want to make sure you know how to clean up. No bar shots (drinking as an avocation is not attractive), no pets (not sexy), no cars (not a chick thing), no ski goggles or sunglasses (they block your face), no selfies (8% fewer clicks), no topless photos (nudity gets half the clicks), and no grins (women click more on prideful poses—think raised head, puffed-up chest).
2) Ninja trick: Have a pal shoot you in a few 30-second videos
Goof around—you’ll look more natural and less posed, and because you’re shooting so many images, it’ll be easy to find the perfect one. Also, girls feel less threatened when a guy isn’t looking directly at the camera, studies show.
3) Keep it short
No girl wants to read a long profile with a guy blabbering on about himself. Avoid lengthy narratives (and be sure to steer clear of TMI, a definite interest killer) and you’ll come off as more mysterious. “Write about your passion for sled dogs or boating in the Atlantic, which will give her easy things to ask about later,” says Mona Jain, a Richmond, VA, dating consultant.
4) Throw in a couple of imperfections
Flaws are endearing and make you stick out among dozens of dudes proclaiming flawlessness, says Trish McDermott, a former longtime match.com staffer. Try “I’m really bad at karaoke” or “I’m completely and utterly addicted to Game of Thrones.”
5) End with a way for ladies to respond
Example: “One time I survived a bear attack, but you’ll have to ask me about that.” Women will have an automatic way to reply, Bustos says, “so you’ll get three times as many responses that way.”
6) Message her with an unfinished sentence
When you’re reaching out via e-mail, try a subject line like, “Did you know…” then finish that sentence in the e-mail itself, mentioning something you have in common, such as, “…that we both know Ben? We’re doing a hike next week—how do you know him?” Says Bustos, “The brain is programmed to complete sentences, so she’s more likely to open the e-mail. Some women get 50–100 messages a day, so you need to stand out. ‘Hey, cutie’ isn’t going to work.”
7) Meet quickly
“If you wait too long, you risk idealization—she’ll have created a fantasy of who you are, and the real person will be a letdown,” says Erin Sumner, Ph.D., an assistant professor of human communications at Trinity College. Her research finds that 17 days from the first message is ideal, so get the girl to the restaurant before she chats up other dudes, and the rest should be smooth sailing.