When Stanford professor and economist Paul Oyer found himself back on the dating scene after more than 20 years, he headed to sites like Ok Cupid, Match.com, and JDate to try his luck at online dating.
People end up on online dating sites for a variety of reasons—some are looking for casual hookups with multiple people, while others are seeking monogamous, long-term love.
Knowing what you're looking for will help inform the way you describe yourself to others.
During a recent segment of the Freakonomics podcast, Oyer analyzed the Ok Cupid profile of radio producer PJ Vogt, whose jokes about drinking and whose "casual attire" profile photos made him potentially less appealing to women looking for something serious.
Oyer's advice to Vogt: "If you want to show that you're serious and you're ready to settle down, you should consider having one or two pictures that show that.""If someone's on a dating site for a long time, that's a problem," Oyer says.
He likens the fact to discovering a house for sale has been on the market for a very long time, even if the overall housing market is pretty active — in other words, the fact that this one house still for sale should raise a red flag in your mind.
"By the same token, if a person's been on a dating site for a long time, or has never had a serious relationship, there's some hidden information that you want to be wary of," Oyer says.
Finding the right partners, of course, is nothing like buying a house — the house you like doesn't have to like you back in order for things to work out.
Instead, Oyer says looking for a partner online is a lot like shopping around for a new job, in that you'll always be wondering if you could do a little better.
But whether it's a new job or a partner, you can't keep searching forever, otherwise you'd be unemployed or lonely forever.