Recently, a client sent over a spreadsheet of his results with online dating. It was incredibly detailed — broken down by platform and multiple data points, such as the number of women who replied to his first messages, then second messages, and so on.
He’s not my first — I’ve seen other spreadsheets.
It seems simple to run the dating data when it’s quantified on an app or site, so naturally, many online daters get the urge to crunch numbers. But there’s a major problem with taking the fun of dating and turning it into a numbers game.
Numbers can represent quantity, but what they can never completely convey is quality. In your dating life, who you are meeting and the way you are connecting on your dates is much more important than how many matches are in your inbox. Quality cannot be quantified in a spreadsheet.
If you’re a number cruncher, you might logically understand this but still feel resistant, like my client. When I told him that not only should he not concern himself with numbers, but that OkCupid data which suggests excellent messages receive a 40 percent response rate is outdated, he asked me, “Well, what should the average response rate be for me?”
The truth: There is no magic formula that says if you get a certain percentage of replies on a dating site, you’ll find love. After working with thousands of online daters for nearly a decade, I’ve found that there is no average. There are too many variables, like which platform you’re on, and who you’re choosing to message. Some online daters receive a 5 percent response rate while others reach 40 percent. But in either case, love doesn’t fit neatly into an empty cell on a spreadsheet.
One of our clients received a 90 percent response rate … yet she is still single. Another married the first man who responded. So next time you get the urge to count the messages in your inbox, ask yourself: Am I truly connecting with the matches I meet? When you meet the right person, none of the numbers matter.
Laurie Davis Edwards is the founder of eFlirt, an online dating concierge service, and the best-selling author of "Love @ First Click: The Ultimate Guide to Online Dating."