Health & Wellbeing

Research shows first impressions create make-or-break impact for Australians seeking love

Research shows first impressions create make-or-break impact for Australians seeking love

  • The majority of Aussies (85%) feel women should be encouraged to take the initiative and send the first message if they have a crush on a new match
  • But beware the four-hour rule: eharmony profile data suggests female singles who respond to first messages within that timeframe see a 17% decline in interest (but men do not)
  • Almost a third (30%) of singles consider a joke a great introduction, which tallies with new data establishing humour as the top personality trait
  • Over one in two Aussies (55%) believe first impressions are everything with the content of the first initial message crucial in determining whether they progress things

If your resolution for 2022 is to find love – particularly if you’ve been out of the dating scene for a long time – new insights from the experts at eharmony might help.

They studied communication rates across over 16,000 anonymised Australian dating profiles and found that the busiest time for online dating is on Saturdays between 10pm and 11pm. Whereas Friday nights are decidedly quieter (probably because people are more likely to be outdoors).

 However, when it comes to responding to first messages, women would be advised to play a cool hand. Previous analysis of eharmony profiles* suggests that females who reply within four hours diminish their chances of getting a reply by 17%. But the same isn’t true for men.

 This clashes with more modern thinking, with a third of Aussies suggesting the first response should be instant, regardless of gender.

What to say

Over half (55%) of Aussies believe that the content of the first message is the deciding factor in whether to progress things with a new match.

This can heap pressure on nervous singles, eager to get it right. However, as humour is the number one desired trait on eharmony (along with athleticism, altruism and agreeableness), it pays to try a joke or humorous introduction. Indeed, a third (30%) of women favour simple messages that are flirty, yet innocent. By contrast, surveyed men enjoy messages that contain puns, such as dad jokes and daggy one-liners.

Another relatively safe bet is to talk about dating profiles, with a third (36%) of singles saying that commenting on an aspect of their profile is a great way to kick off a conversation.

How to say it

The data shows that women can increase the likelihood of a response if they are bold enough to make the first move. Indeed, a staggering 85% of Aussies believe men shouldn’t be the ones to message first.

Regardless of who messages first, over half (62%) of Aussies prefer potential partners to avoid re-writing War and Peace, saying that a simple message is the best type of greeting.

Finally, singles would be advised to upload lots of pictures and avoid heavy filters which lead to a decline in desirability. Historic evaluations of eharmony dating profiles also show that for each additional photo uploaded to their profiles, men increase their chances of a response by 10%. Women increase their chances of getting a response by 8%.

eharmony psychologist Sharon Draper says the first message you send a new match is deeply significant.

“Lots of singles struggle with what to write or whether to simply send a ‘like’ or perhaps a question supplied by the apps. Our research suggests that a simple ‘hello, how are you’ message is fine. Keep it simple rather than get carried away with your life story!” Sharon said.

“It’s also great to see that humour is such a desirable trait, and what better way to break the ice than to say something slightly flirty or fun. But avoid being too risqué or making sexual references of any kind during those early communication stages. You don’t want to offend anyone, and what one person deems harmless banter another might find offensive.

“What’s interesting is this pattern that means women who respond to a first message in less than four hours see a 17% dip in responses. It shows that in terms of gender roles we’re still a bit old fashioned, with men liking a bit of a chase. The positive takeaway for both genders on this front is that online dating is all about pace. Don’t binge on dating apps and send multiple messages to the same matches. You’ll get burnout! Relax and enjoy the journey.”