It will be interesting to see what subsequent research reveals about long-term predictors of online dating success. At least, when going online for serious relationships, consider: 1) Looking for people who share genuine similarities with you; 2) Communicating a lot before the first date.And make sure it is high quality communication; 3) Asking a lot of questions.It's easy to play up similarity and downplay differences—and it's understandable that some people looking for companionship tend to quickly develop a crush when someone seems to "get them" right away.Indeed, Sharabi and Caughlin found that, contrary to their expectations, the greater the similarity, the better.Real-life online dating experience tells us that it isn't surprising that the first date is typically disappointing.It may be because expectations are inflated and idealized in the absence of more actual information about the other person: in fact, the effect is lower when there is greater communication and disclosure.Online dating has, for many, become a mainstay of meeting new potential romantic partners, whether looking for casual dating, serious dating or even a marital partner.Until relatively recently, people met potential partners through friends, family, school and other shared activities.
At that time, 22% of heterosexual couples reported meeting online.There was no point at which there was too much similarity, at least right after the first date.Further research is required to see if and when this more-is-better finding carries out over the long run.For this study, the researchers measured 1) "anticipated future interaction", 2) "change in attraction" (from online dating to after the first date), 3) "perceived similarity" (a well-known predictor of attraction), and 4) "uncertainty" (about the other person, e.g. Furthermore, first date success was predicted by perceived similarity, expressed similarity, lower uncertainty, and greater information seeking.Importantly, all other factors being equal, greater communication overall, and greater disclosure, predicted first date success.Meeting online was the third most common way of meeting, after introduction by friends, and close behind meeting randomly in public settings (bars, restaurants, parties, etc.).According to the Pew Research Center, 15% of Americans recently reported using online dating sites to meet people, and online dating is gaining wider acceptance across most age ranges, notably tripling among people age 18-24 from 10% to 27% between 20.It appears that, in general, people who ask more before the first date have a better experience than those who wait until they meet to find out important information, possibly because they are less likely to be disillusioned.And after hundreds of first dates, who wants to waste their time finding out they didn't need to meet in person anyway?The ability to find out more ahead of time, versus the proverbial "blind date" or even meeting a stranger at a party, is an advantage that online dating has over conventional dating—if you ask questions, and if the other person genuinely shares.Similarly, greater communication predicted a more successful first date, especially when people really were similar to each other.