We’re Way Less Picky About Who We Date Than Our Online Dating Profiles Say

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Online dating makes it incredibly easy to write off potential dates based on the tiniest, most pointless flaws. Oh, you don’t like Radiohead? Next. You’re wearing cargo shorts in your profile photo? Pass. But a new study from the University of Massachusetts Lowell suggests we’re a lot less picky about who we date in real life — and that’s kind of reassuring.

Researchers looked at the behaviors of 200,000 people on a Chinese online dating site called Baihe and found both men and women sent a fairly large number of messages to users who didn’t fit within their stated preferences. In other words, they didn’t appear to care that much about making sure the people they messaged fit exactly with the tastes and preferences they outlined when they first signed up on Baihe.

The researchers said men in the study generally looked for younger females, while females preferred dates with higher incomes and education levels. Surprisingly, they found women were willing to deviate much further from their stated preferences for a date’s age, height, and location, though much less so when it came to marital status and number of children.

Of course, this almost certainly doesn’t apply to all people on all online dating sites the world over, but just because a girl’s profile says she’s interested in dating tall guys doesn’t necessarily mean your message is automatically going to get trashed just because you’re 5′ 6″. Send away!