What makes someone easy to match?

When it comes to matchmaking, there are a lot of misconceptions. So we address a few, and answer some common questions. What is it that makes someone easy to match? And how can you make yourself more eligible?

Forget about your looks

To start with the obvious, being more attractive doesn't necessarily mean you're easier to match. Quite apart from anything else, what constitutes "attractive" is so personal that it's almost impossible to establish any kind of objective measure. Where one date isn't swayed by someone's looks, the next might be intimidated by how attractive they are. This isn't conjecture: it's something we've seen happen. There are as many preferences as there are humans, and it's virtually impossible to know what people like without asking explicitly.

Even 'conventionally attractive' people are unappealing to many others – and anyway, they might turn out to have poor hygiene, bad manners, or another behaviour that makes them physically unappealing to dates. And if there were some objective way to measure looks, finding a partner for someone super-hot wouldn't necessarily be easier than finding one for someone normal-looking, because we'd expect the aesthetic elite to want partners at least as beautiful as themselves.

That doesn't mean there's no eligibility bonus for taking care of yourself. Keeping reasonably fit, eating healthily, and dressing intentionally are all good ways to show that you value yourself, which (as we'll see) is a great signal to matches that you're worthy of their time and respect. But you don't have to be a supermodel to get great matches, and it might not even make it easier.

Learn to like yourself

Self-deprecating humour can be funny and engaging. But when it clearly betrays a sense of discomfort with oneself, we might struggle to find you a good partner – because that discomfort probably makes other people uncomfortable too. A healthy level of self-esteem is perhaps the single most appealing feature in a prospective match, because it's so closely related to being relaxed and open in any given environment. This in turn puts others at ease.

When we say healthy self-esteem, it's important to note that we're not talking about arrogance or narcissism. Both of those traits are correlated with negative relationship outcomes (and, more conventionally, with being a difficult person to get on with). We're talking about a deeper and more fundamental self-acceptance.

You are the person who knows yourself best, and if it's clear that you don't really like or value yourself, others will assume that your assessment is correct. This is a cruelly vicious circle, but there's lots of good news. Self-esteem is largely determined by nurture, not nature, which means that it can be improved. Gently correcting your own negative self-beliefs and adjusting bits of your environment are two major ways in which you can begin to cultivate a healthy sense of self-worth.

At heart, we want everyone to feel comfortable and happy on dates. That's hard to do when one half of the couple is neither of those things. If you're going through a lot right now, or have unaddressed mental health problems, it's worth taking a step back and considering whether or not you're in the right place to date. And it's ok if the answer to that is no. Being happy and comfortable with yourself is not only more important than finding romance, it's essential for establishing a stable relationship anyway.

Get a hobby

This one's pretty straightforward. As per the old adage, people who are interested in things are typically interesting themselves. And being interesting is a great way to make yourself easy to match! It's good to talk about your tastes and preferences in your bio, but it's better if you can supplement those things with info about what you actually enjoy doing.

Sporty hobbies or activities can make you instantly more appealing, and the arts are just as good: more than a third of our members say they're passionate about music, which is a similar proportion to those who say the same about literature or philosophy. You can also use hobbies a way to convey extra information to your matchmakers and future matches: having an unusual interest is a great way to signal that you're open-minded, whereas liking books and TV might tell us that you prefer the comfort of the stable and familiar.

Even just knowing why you like the things you do is an excellent first step. So don't be afraid to share that info in your bio, because you never know what kind of conversation it might begin!

Aim to be open-minded

Without question, the hardest people to match are those who have a large number of what we call "non-negotiables" – that is, traits that they refuse to accept in any potential partner.

A non-negotiable can range from the very reasonable (e.g. not wanting to date anyone who doesn't have a sympathetic approach to victims of sexual assault) to the pretty unique (e.g. nobody who's ever coloured their hair). The more limits you have on potential partners, the fewer matches we can make for you.

Some common examples: if you're unwilling to be matched with anyone who's more/less left/right-wing than you, that makes our job pretty tricky, because most people will be one of those things. If you're in your late 30s or older and won't consider anyone who's previously been married, or who has children, that has the same effect.

Some people drink, some don't; some are vegan, some love meat. Being unwilling or unable to tolerate those who are different to you on any given axis narrows your match pool by default. That's fine if you're 100% sure you could never be paired up with anyone who, say, likes Marvel films – but if you're only 90% sure, then it's worth reconsidering what you tell us. This is especially true if the traits you rule out are ones we're unlikely to know about, such as whether or not someone is on speaking terms with previous partners.

We'll always do our best to match you according to the information you give us, and that often means excluding people who are potentially wonderful matches for you in every way except for something that may, in the grand scheme of things, turn out to be relatively minor.

Get good at dating

When you're set up on a date by us, it's a bit like an audition for future matches. Sometimes you won't want future matches, of course, because your date goes so well that you decide to keep seeing each other for several months or even years. But most of the time, it takes a few tries to get it right. And that means that the way your partner reviews the date afterwards is a really rich source of information for us.

Part of what we learn from that information is more about your match's own preferences, but another big element is things like: how easy you were to get on with, how much conversational legwork you did, how much interest in your date's life you showed, and so on. Being friendly, warm, and seeming comfortable in your environment (even if you're a bit nervous underneath) is a great way to ensure we can match you up again without worrying that your date won't have a great time.

Try to care less about what you think of them, or what they think of you, and more about how to make sure you both have loads of fun.

Just enjoy it

Lots of people think of dating as a necessary evil in the pursuit of an ideal partner. This is a great way to ensure your dates will be disappointing, because you're approaching the person you meet as if they were a checklist to be ticked off. Are they hot enough? Are their social skills up to par? Is their career sufficiently interesting/prestigious/lucrative? If yes, proceed. If no, disregard.

This approach is very efficient by some measures, and it's a natural offshoot of spending time on dating apps. But it gets in the way of treating each person as a whole, and each date as a way to meet someone really interesting. Try to approach dating as something fun and recreational, with your goal being to make sure you and the other person have a really good time (even if you're not head over heels), and we'll bet you have more successes than failures.