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Five Quick Ways to Enhance Your Online Dating Profile

Research based tips to make you more attractive in online dating

Have you tried online dating and been unsuccessful, or less successful than you’d hoped? The following short article offers five quick and easy tips that might just make you a little more successful in your online dating endeavours.

1. Hang around with someone slightly more attractive

Being seen in the company of people slightly more attractive than ourselves tends to have the effect of making us appear more attractive, which is referred to as social profit. This effect applies for same sex people appearing together, however when people of the opposite sex appear together, the effect applies only to males. So a male in the company of a more attractive female, will appear more attractive, but the same effect will not apply for a female appearing with a more attractive male. Furthermore, a male pictured in the company of other females is sometimes considered to be ‘pre-approved’ and therefore desirable and attractive. In an online dating context therefore, a male’s profile picture where he is pictured accompanied by a slightly more attractive female should enhance his chances, by making him appear more attractive.

2. Adopt a certain posture

The way in which we move has an affect on how attractive people find us, and while it may be difficult to illustrate movement in static profile pictures on dating sites, we can however display certain postures and gestures which may enhance our levels of attractiveness.

Africa Studio/Shutterstock
Source: Africa Studio/Shutterstock

Grammer, Renninger, & Fischer (2004) identified several male postures which illustrate dominance and social status, and therefore can increase attractiveness. Some of these postures are open body movements (arms open and not folded, legs apart and not together), space maximisation movements (dominating social space and taking up space close by), and engaging in non reciprocated touches with other males (touching, but not being touched back). Males who adopt such postures and demonstrate dominance in online dating pictures should therefore be perceived as more attractive by females.

3. Emphasise your creative side

Gueguen, Meineri & Fischer-Lokou (2014) carried out a study where males simply walked around a town talking to females and asking for their phone numbers. The males in this study attempted this on three separate occasions. On the first occasion they appeared carrying a guitar, on the second occasion they carried a sports bag, and on the third occasion they carried nothing. The men were more successful at obtaining the phone numbers of females in the condition where they carried the guitar, suggesting that they appeared more attractive when they appeared to be more musical and therefore creative. For males this would be relatively easy to recreate in an online dating picture as all you have to do is have a picture of yourself holding a guitar. The problem might come if you were ever asked to play it. For those who are not musical however, be reassured that creativity generally is perceived as being attractive, so if not a guitar then anything else which emphasises creativity.

4. Wear a certain colour

In female primates, ovulation is associated with increased blood flow, causing their skin to become red. Male primates are attracted to these cues to ovulation, and this is one possible explanation as to why human males find red to be an attractive colour. Furthermore, red is a colour which has long since been associated with love and passion and it may well be the case that we have over time become conditioned to associate the colour red with these things.

Source: Javi-indy/Shutterstock

Elliot & Niesta (2008) looked at the effects of the colour red on the sexual attractiveness of females, and showed males pictures of females with either a red, white, blue green or grey background. They found that the red background led the men to perceive the females as more attractive. In another study in which females wore a red t-shirt, males sat closer to them than when they wore a blue t-shirt (Niesta-Kayser, Elliot & Feltman, (2010). Therefore for females, the colour of clothing is important, and therefore wearing something red in an online dating profile picture may enhance their chances, by making males see them as more attractive.

5. Have a sense of humour

Last but certainly not least it is known that sense of humour is important in attraction, with most of use reporting that we like and are attracted to other people who have a good sense of humour. Good sense of humour can of course mean many things, but one way in which it can be defined is in terms of the distinction between humour production (making jokes) and humour appreciation (laughing at jokes made by others). The general rule according to Bressler, Martin & Balshine (2006), is that males prefer humour appreciation (others to laugh at them) and females prefer humour production (others who make jokes). Furthermore, Grammer & Eibl-Eibesfeldt (1990) observed that when females and males are engaged in conversation, it is generally the amount of laughter produced by the female as opposed to the amount of laughter produced by the male that is more predictive of sexual interest. Applied to online dating, males will be seen as more attractive by providing humorous and witty material and females more attractive by illustrating that they appreciate this. And finally, when we say humour we mean witty spontaneous humour, and not bad, old and corny jokes.


As a very brief summary, the take home message is that if you are male, you need to be seen in the company of other females, adopt certain body postures, be creative and make jokes. For females, you just need to wear red and appreciate jokes. Happy dating.


  • Bressler, E. R., Martin, R. A., & Balshine, S. (2006) ‘Production and appreciation of humour as sexually selected traits’ Evolution and Human Behavior, 27, 121–130.
  • Elliot, A. J. & Niesta, D. (2008) ‘Romantic red: Red embraces men’s attraction to women’ Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 5, 1150-1164.
  • Grammer, K., & Eibl-Eibesfeldt, I. (1990). The ritualisation of laughter. In W. Koch (Ed.), Naturalichkeit der sprache un der kulture: Acta colloquii, (pp. 192–214). Bochum7 Brockmeyer.
  • Grammer, K., Renninger, L. & Fischer, B. (2004) ‘Disco clothing, female sexual motivation and relationship status: Is she dressed to impress?’ Journal of Sex Research, 41, 66-74.
  • Gueguen, N., Meineri, S., & Fischer-Lokou, J. (2014) ‘Men's music ability and attractiveness to women in a real-life courtship context’ Psychology of Music, 42, 545–549.
  • Niesta-Kayser, D., Elliot, A. J., & Feltman, R. (2010) ‘Red and romantic behaviour in men viewing women’ European Journal of Social Psychology, 40, 901-908.

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