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The case for making the first move in a relationship


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Stocksnap/Ian Schneider

Bootcamp, board meetings, brunch—no matter the setting, you approach them all with confidence.

And according to new data, that faith in yourself (yes, you are that awesome) is a huge plus when it comes to online dating.

A report from the dating site OkCupid reveals that women who message men first are 2.5 times more likely to get responses than men who do the same, and that the men the women contacted were determined to be more attractive based on user ratings. In other words, making the first move totally pays off.

Only a small amount of women are actually making that crucial first move, though. According to the data, most women (regardless of sexual orientation) don’t send the first message when seeking potential online dating suitors, and straight women are 3.5 times less likely to initiate a conversation than straight men. “There are women on the site that are reaching out, and they’re getting all of the benefits,” Jimena Almendares, the chief product officer at OkCupid, told The New York Times.

Apps like Bumble aim to address this, and are designed so women actually have to make the first move after being paired with a possible match. (Smart, confident ladies rejoice!) “It makes for a healthier and more enjoyable all-around experience,” Whitney Wolfe, the founder of Bumble, told the Times. “It puts the woman in the driver’s seat, and typically women aren’t in the driver’s seat.”

So while the OkCupid study has its flaws—aside from being heteronormative, we have to wonder what exactly their definition of a “desirable” man is (studies have found racial stereotypes impact how we swipe right)—there are some solid takeaways to be gleaned from the research. Namely that confidence is key, and that no woman needs to sit around and wait for a possible partner to show interest.

Break out of those gender norms, ladies, and let’s get in formation! (Er, back to our apps.)

Does this OkCupid study seem legit? What happens when you make the first (digital) move? Tell us in the Comments!