Why Online Dating Might Help You Score “Out of Your League”


Let’s be honest with each other; everyone wants to score “out of your league” when they’re trying online dating. Heck, everyone wants to date someone “out of your league” when they’re trying in-person dating too. It can just be easier to find success when you’re dating online.

If you’ve been on an app or online for more than five minutes, you will know that almost everyone tries to present themselves as best they can. This means that most people on dating apps try to falsify some information or focus on some aspects of themselves that are true, but maybe not as accurate as they’re presenting. People often use this opportunity for falsification to score “out of your league” and match with people with whom they would never have had a chance in ‘the real world.’

But lying on your profile (or expanding the truth) isn’t the only way to get matches with people out of your league. It’s also probably not the best way, considering many people get caught, and it’s easier to tell the truth rather than try to keep up a charade of who you’re presenting as versus who you actually are, but that’s just our opinion.

There are many ways that people can match with others who might be “out of your league” on dating apps. You just have to know the methods! A lot of people use dating apps, and the perks they can get from these apps to match with people out of their leagues. So, if you’re not scoring high in the ‘real world’ dating scene, consider utilizing dating apps and making them work for you.

If you’re curious about how you can use dating apps to score out of your league, keep reading!

What Does It Mean to Date “Out of Your League”?

Before we go any further with this discussion, it’s necessary to talk about the notion of dating out of your league and what that really entails. I’m sure that everyone has heard someone say something like, “I’m dating her, but she’s so out of my league,” or “He’d never go for you; he’s way out of your league.”

While many people go on dating apps hoping to find someone who is, in general, more attractive, intelligent, successful, or whatever their pick is than they are, the notion of dating out of your league is a bit dated and somewhat incorrect in and of itself. But what are leagues, and how does one quantify whether or not someone is in their league or not?

The Science behind Dating, Marketability, and Swiping “Out of Your League”

Dr. Elizabeth Bruch, an associate professor in sociology and complex systems at the University of Michigan and co-author of a study focused on dating, had that exact question, so she debated it with science and research. The professor did a deep dive into people’s perceived value of themselves and their value of others and how those two factors played out on dating apps.

‘There is so much folk wisdom about dating, but very little hard evidence. And that comes across in all of the sayings we have around dating, one of which is the idea that someone can be ‘out of your league.'”

Dr. Elizabeth Bruch

Because dating, online dating, and the general perception through which we see others are all subjective, very little quantitative data and research has been done about the subject.

Dr. Elizabeth Bruch continues to discuss her research on the topic. She says that one of the main reasons why she even began the study was because she found the notion of dating out of someone’s league both intriguing and impossible.

The research that Bruch and her co-author, Mark Newman, began was based out of the University of Michigan but covered most major cities throughout America. In their study, they tried to decipher all the nuances and habits of heterosexual couples and dating. They observed and studied data from over 200,000 users in January 2014 on an undisclosed dating website.

The pair asked each user participating in the study to rank what they believed to be their own personal desirability based on how many people messaged them when they were online. This method was based on the belief that the more messages someone got, the more desirable they were.

Another idea that was called forth in the study was that the researchers asked their participants to consider the popularity and desirability of the people who were sending them messages. Meaning that if people who seemed undesirable or not in the individual’s league messaged the individual, then their popularity rate would decrease. Meanwhile, if someone out of the individual’s ‘league’ messaged them first, their popularity would increase.

Bruch said the study was different because “a lot of the previous studies have studied desirability based on people’s rated attractiveness.” This study was more quantitative. The researchers based people’s popularity and attractiveness on the number of people who messaged them. And the people who messaged them had a popularity level based on their number of messages.

Bruch told The Guardian that the difference between her study and all of the previous studies was that this was based more on actual behavior, which is easier to study and quantify. The pair wanted to look at the overall marketability of users for the study and compare it to the people messaging them.

When the results came in, Bruch and her partner found that, while some people contacted matches with similar attractiveness and desirability, most dating app users attempted to message people who were higher in their ‘marketability’ (i.e., “out of your league”).

The women in the study messages to men who were, on average, 23% more attractive and desirable than they were. Meanwhile, the men in the study sent messages to women who were 26% more desirable than them.

Bruch said she was surprised by the results: “Women have much higher reply rates to their first messages than men: men’s average reply rate is around 17%, whereas for women, often more than half of their messages can get a response. So women can afford to be more aspirational than they are.”

Even though men were aiming higher and trying to court people out of their perceived leagues (or marketability), the two genders still didn’t aim too high out of their leagues when choosing matches online.

Another finding from the study showed that men were more likely to initiate contact than women, which is valid for most heterosexual dating apps other than Bumble. The study also found that the people who messaged others out of their leagues sent fewer messages, possibly because they weren’t confident in themselves.

The Truth about Online Dating

Countless studies have shown that both men and women will swipe or like people on dating apps who are more attractive than they are as individuals. This is a known fact about dating apps.

If you’re wondering why that is, we are too.

According to a study conducted by the University of Michigan and the Santa Fe Institute,

“The majority of heterosexual users of a popular dating site sent messages to would-be matches who were on average 25 percent more attractive than they were.”

And this isn’t just one incident; most people who are swiping on dating profiles online will often swipe on people they would not have a chance on ‘in real life,’ but because they’re on an app or a website, they think they do.

It is true that a mixture of dopamine and adrenaline is released when you’re swiping on dating apps. That’s why it makes sense that people can sometimes get caught up in the numbers game that is involved with dating apps, and often they will try to swipe on everyone and anyone under the sun, sometimes making them swipe on people who are more attractive or “out of your league”.

Conversely, people often come to dating apps with expectations, lists even, of what they want in a partner and who they’re hoping to find. While we suggest making a list of your non-negotiables when you’re swiping on dating apps and looking for your potential next lover, some people might get a bit of tunnel vision with their lists and only swipe right on the best of the best kinds of people.

While we want you to have high expectations and never settle, you might find less success on the apps if you’re being too strict with your swiping. Instead, keep your options open and try dating above and below your league!

I’ve described dating apps as the window-shopping of the dating world before, and that’s one of the main reasons people are so quick to swipe right on profiles they might not have a chance with walking down the street.

person holding an Ipad looking for someone on a dating app

When you’re on a dating app, you get a kind of tunnel vision and begin swiping and imagining a future with every single person you see.

One of the biggest reasons is that many people falsify parts of their profiles when setting up their online dating accounts. One study found that an average of 80% of people falsify or lie about something in their dating profiles to appear more attractive. And who could blame them? In general, online dating and creating dating profiles are stuck in a vicious cycle of falsification and attempts to bump up or boost yourself. There isn’t much backlash or consequences to your behavior.

You’ll likely go out with a few people you meet online. You can fess up to lying on your profile (because, if research tells us anything, you can probably bet that they lied as well) or play up the part of yourself that might have been a lie. You may be using your dating app profile to manifest the life and image you want for yourself.

At the end of the day, we’re not here to judge because we’ve all been there and done it too! In fact, we’re here to help you out on your journey with dating apps. We want you to score big on the people you’re swiping on, even if they’re a bit out of your league. Instead of lying or keeping up with your somewhat fake appearances, we’ll help you score big on dating apps while still being true to yourself and letting your true colors shine.

How to Score “Out of Your League” on Dating Apps

If you’re reading this and wondering how to get the best results on dating apps and even a date with someone ‘out of your league,’ we’ve got excellent advice for you. Here are our favorite tips and tricks for scoring big on dating apps and getting the best matches you’ll ever have.

Create an Intentional and Clean Bio

Making your dating app profile is one of the most crucial and rewarding parts of your dating app experience. Your dating app profile can genuinely make or break it for you and will dictate the number and quality of the matches you get.

The truth of the matter is that your profile is the only thing a lot of people will ever see about you. And this is the case even if you link your social media to your profile. People often glance at everything you’ve included, and maybe swipe through your photos if they’re interested. But it’s usually just your name, profile picture, and the little blurb in your bio that comes up first.

While that’s a lot of pressure to put on yourself, we promise that making a clean and well-thought-out profile will be worth it for the sake of your matches and time on the dating app. Most people will make a split decision on whether or not they even want to take a chance on you in less than 10 seconds once they’ve viewed your profile.

You’ll want your profile to represent you as best it can and as quickly as possible. This means that you should avoid making your bio too long or adding unnecessary pictures or anything that doesn’t bring attention back to you and what a great match you are.

If your profile has a ton of grammatical mistakes, one blurry picture, and a quote from The Office, you don’t have a change of scoring someone who is “out of your league.” A lot of people judge how invested you are in the dating app based on how much effort it looks like you put into your profile. You don’t want to get lazy on the first step.

If you’re not feeling up to making a profile, shelve it and come back to it later. There’s no use in getting upset or stressed out about the first step of the dating app process; it will just put a bad taste in your mouth for the whole experience. Instead, be excited about sharing who you are with the world and finding your potential new partner in life!

This should be fun and make you feel good about the potential that might come out of this experience. As a general rule of thumb, if you’re not having fun on dating apps and find yourself dreading getting on them, you should take a step back and reassess your feelings.

Highlight Your Best Features

Remember at the beginning of this article when we talked about how easy it was to lie or stretch the truth online? While that may be tempting, you should avoid telling a fib and instead consider your best qualities, especially if you’re thinking about what people might want for their future partner, and showcase them.

If you’re funny, add a great personality picture showcasing your humor. If you know that your looks will get you a lot of matches, add some images that showcase that as well. You’re allowed to brag (humble or not) on dating apps, and your bio is the place to do that! Now, don’t be too obnoxious or full of yourself because people will be able to see that, and they might not be your biggest fans if they think your head is a little too big for the dating app world.

But you can make your profile a little showcase of your best moments and qualities. If you got it, flaunt it, and post about it on your dating app profile!

However, you should talk about yourself and highlight your best features while implementing the 70/30 rule. This rule states that you should talk about yourself for about 70% of your dating app profile and then talk about what you’re hoping to find for the remaining 30%. This way, your profile, even though it is all about you, also has some variety interwoven in it, and people will get a good sense of who you are while also not getting too tired of hearing you talk about yourself.

Let Your True Self Shine

While you might want to add some polished pictures upfront and always want to put your best foot forward when entering the dating app world, you must stay true to who you are and what you like.

Even though some of your habits might not be as ‘marketable’ as others, talking about them in your profile might attract the kind of people you will get along with the best in life and have the most fun with. It’s good to be yourself in these situations because dating apps are an excellent way to meet new people you would have never thought you had so much in common with.

That being said, it might be good for you and your dating life to take some time and reflect on your best qualities and how you can showcase them in a brief but legitimate way so that people will know who they’re swiping on.

It’s also beneficial to tell people who you are and what to expect. Don’t lie about anything because this is when you’ll have the most access to the most people at once. You will likely find someone who would love to get to know someone exactly like you, no matter how different or off-beat your interests might be.

You should never feel you have to hide who you are, what you like, or what matters to you on dating apps. Even if your goal is to score someone ‘out of your league,’ you can still do that as your authentic self. Hot people like nerdy and weird stuff too. In fact, you might attract more people because it’s clear that you’re being the real you, which is refreshing to see on dating apps.

Get Input

While we’re still on the subject of profiles, ask people to help you with yours. I have made two dating app profiles in my entire life, and I have had my best friends sitting right next to me as I created them to give me feedback and help me know what pictures to put and what to say.

I know it doesn’t seem like it should be that difficult or that deep, but it does help to have someone who knows you and (hopefully) likes you as a person to give you suggestions as to what to put in your profile and what those fantastic features are that you should highlight.

Getting a third party’s input on your profile is also helpful because you’re very close to the subject of the profile (you) and biased in your opinion of yourself. Whether that means that you love yourself and think you deserve the best of the best (which you do!) or you’re a little more down on yourself and not as confident as you could be.

When you bring in a friend to help make the profile, they usually provide insightful input that enables you to get the best matches and represent yourself in the best light possible.

If your friend isn’t cutting it for you, there are professionals that you could hire to write or critique your profile. I know that that might sound a little crazy or like way too much of an investment to make in your dating app profile, but it is something that you might want to consider, especially if you really want to match with people and catch the eye of those who might be a bit out of your league.

Invest in Your Dating App

If you’re going to try online dating, try it, but don’t do it halfway or make a profile and not put much effort into it. The people who don’t really care about their profiles and those who don’t really invest their time or energy into the apps and finding matches often don’t get any matches, or at least too many quality matches.

The truth about dating apps is that they are a numbers game. You have to invest time and energy into them, you have to be active in them, and you have to be as present as possible. Many people are on dating apps for a short time and want to get in and out of the dating app stage. While that’s great, and some of the best apps have made that possible, it’s only going to happen if you’re investing good quality time on the app and you’re not short-sheeting anyone.

I’m not saying that to succeed with online dating, you have to be online 24/7, talk to everyone, and swipe on anyone, but you might want to invest more time and energy into your dating app and even trust the process more than you might think you should.

Another thing you can invest in dating apps is your money. Not many people are too fond of paying for dating apps, but most paid subscriptions work wonders for their users. We highly recommend trying a premium membership for some dating apps if you’re not finding success or if you’re finding success but think you could be seeing more success and matches.

Most dating apps have a free version of their service where you can get basic rewards and packages. While that might be enough for you, there is always an option of paying a little bit every month, getting better matches, and being more visible to people online. I met my fiancé on Bumble, and the only reason I saw his profile was that he paid for a premium subscription that allowed his profile to be one of the first ones that showed up on my feed when I downloaded the app.

Paying for a premium membership isn’t necessarily your golden ticket to finding the love of your life. You might not find the success you’ve been waiting for from the apps, but it makes your profile more visible, and most premium memberships boost their users’ ability and chances to find love and suitable matches.

Enjoy Your Time

I know it sounds cheesy, but enjoying your time on the app is imperative. I know that everyone wants to find someone “out of your league” on the dating apps they choose, and they are a great place to look for matches, but if you’re not enjoying your time looking for them and you’re beginning to dread going on the dating apps, you might want to rethink your approach.

Also, if you’re grumpy and worn down by dating apps, you are unlikely to find the desired results because you’re not in the right mindset. Instead, approach looking at this time in your life as an adventure, and I’m sure you’ll find great success and have a great time doing it.

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