Online Dating

Why Dating Pics That Look Trustworthy = More Dates

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Sometimes Photofeeler users ask us why we chose our dating photo traits. (Smart, trustworthy, and attractive.)

Well, attractiveness is obvious enough. But why is looking trustworthy in a dating picture important?

Today we’re going to lay it out, as well as give tips for how to look more trustworthy in your pics. (Hint: this could mean scoring more dates.)

Fact #1: Women who date online worry about their safety

“Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.” – Margaret Atwood

Fact is, most women worry about their personal safety when meeting up with a stranger for the first time.

If you ask a woman you know — a friend, sister, or neighbor — for her thoughts about online dating safety, you’ll quickly learn how much energy women spend plotting and planning around this. You might be surprised to know most women even have a weapon in mind (keys being one of the more popular options).

Now, look. This is how a girl thinks when she makes plans with someone who looks super nice online.

If a man’s profile signals things like unfriendliness and aggression — setting off actual “danger” flags — he’s going to have a hard time getting a girl booked for a date, no matter how good-looking he is.

Fact #2: Trustworthiness means “relationship material”

People who are interested in a relationship are looking for indicators that a person is principled and reliable. Will she cheat on me? Will he be caring and kind to me for the long haul?

If you’re looking for a serious relationship and want to be contacted by others who feel the same, it’s important to project trustworthiness on your profile.

Fact #3: Accidentally looking like a cheater (or axe murderer) is easier than you think

Now for the bad news. It’s actually way easier to look untrustworthy than you think. In fact, tons of online daters are sending this signal accidentally. For instance, most men who look threatening in their dating pics aren’t aware that they do.

There’s a scientific explanation for that.

We use different parts of our brain when we’re looking at pictures of ourselves vs. pictures of other people. That means, when we look at a photo of ourselves, we’re literally not seeing the same thing that other people are seeing.

The truth is, we have too much information about ourselves to see ourselves objectively. We know we’re not scary or mean. So when we see a picture of ourselves, those possibilities don’t even cross our minds.

On the other hand, someone on OkCupid — with absolutely no prior information to go off of — may be immediately put off by an expression that looks “judgmental” or even “sinister” to them.

Neutral (i.e. not smiling) expressions work this way. They are risky in pictures because they can be interpreted so many ways depending on everything from what else your body language is doing, to the lighting, to the mood of the viewer when they see your picture.

Neutral (i.e. not smiling) facial expressions are easily misinterpreted as negative

I’m not saying you can’t pull off a non-smiling picture, but you’ll definitely need to test it on Photofeeler to be sure it’s not sending antisocial messages you don’t intend.

And of course, the safest bet of all is to smile.

More Trustworthiness-Boosting Photo Tips

Finally, here are some bonus tips for anyone looking to dial up their trustworthiness in pictures.

For Men:

  • Avoid pictures where you’re shirtless in your bedroom, as these typically make women feel uncomfortable by coming across as predatory.
  • Avoid pictures that are dimly lit.

For Women:

  • Avoid kissy or duckface expressions, which some men associate with women who stray.

For Men and Women:

  • Avoid pictures where you’re looking at another person.
  • Avoid overtly sexual gags or imagery (e.g. raunchy t-shirt slogans, props).
  • When smiling in pictures, be sure that that both sides of your mouth are turning upward to avoid accidentally signally “contempt,” which comes across like a smirk.
  • Showcase your dog or cat in a situation where it looks like both of you are having fun. (No matter how good you look in the picture, if your animal appears to be struggling to get away, it won’t give the right impression.)
  • Actually, showing yourself caring for anything — be it an animal, a child, or a boat — can up your trustworthiness factor.

Well that concludes our best tips for appearing more trustworthy in your dating profile photos.

Use them responsibly and we’ll see you on Photofeeler with your next batch of pictures!