OKC's Kiss/Kill/Marry
March 31, 2013 3:14 PM   Subscribe

Have you (or someone you know) been successful with individuals who are a low match for you on OKC? I consider low to be below '80% Match'. This is assuming you've both answered at least a 100 questions. Success I consider to be at least a few months of going out. I'm trying to get a sense of whether it is reasonable to ignore contact from low-matching individuals or if those scores are just meaningless once you get to know someone in person. Should you give that person a shot or is it a waste of time? I'm not so much concerned with the friend or enemy score.
posted by who squared to Human Relations (32 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
For what it's worth, I made my OKC account four years ago (I've deactivated and reactivated it periodically since then). I only ever answered questions when I made the account. A lot of my answers would probably be different by now if I took the time to redo them (I don't feel like it). So I'm not saying whether the match system is intrinsically good or bad, but I bet a lot of people have outdated answers.
posted by telegraph at 3:28 PM on March 31, 2013 [1 favorite]

My husband and I were a 70-something percent match. I don't know what algorithm OkC uses, but I wouldn't put a lot of stock in it.
posted by wansac at 3:33 PM on March 31, 2013

OKC match scores are total bullshit - don't pay them any attention.

A) there are so many questions that are irrelevant to compatibility. And then there are the often totally ridiculous choices they force you into. B) Even on the important issues, a quick answer isn't going to give you good intel on what they're like or how they feel. You need to find these things out through conversation.

That said, I do have a few "litmus" questions where certain responses are instant deal-breakers, e.g. "Do you enjoy intellectual conversations?" "No."
posted by victory_laser at 3:40 PM on March 31, 2013 [2 favorites]

I know it's time consuming, but I think clicking through to read people's profiles is much more helpful and revealing- at least for first date purposes. Unless a person has made all of their answers public- and most people don't- the percentages aren't going to give you some key details on the way they answered specific questions. And the spectrum available for answers- "somewhat important," "very important" etc.- means that it's hard to deduce solid information from the percentages.

However, a high "enemies" rating might give you pause. See: OKCupidEnemies tumblr.
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 3:47 PM on March 31, 2013

And oh yes, litmus questions- if people have publicly posted their answers- are fine. If someone thinks homosexuality is immoral, I'm not wasting my time with them.
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 3:48 PM on March 31, 2013

I met my wife long before Internet dating sites were a thing, but there is no way we would be a match on any sort of objective multiple choice criteria.

We've been married for 21+ years.
posted by COD at 3:55 PM on March 31, 2013 [4 favorites]

Here's the thing I've found about match percentages on OKC: anybody below a 75% match who has ever emailed me has been a jackass.

That doesn't mean that everybody who is below a 75% match is a complete jackass, but the ones who aren't presumably pay attention to the match percentages. The emails I get from lower order matches are almost invariably one sentence, poorly spelled, generic come-ons, and they're obviously shotgunning them out to everyone.

I might pay attention to a thoughtful contact email from someone with a lower match percentage, but I have literally never received one.
posted by jacquilynne at 4:00 PM on March 31, 2013 [3 favorites]

I'm fairly new to the online dating world, but I have found that 80+% matches have all made really good friends. We always have a great time and tons to talk about. I haven't personally felt much of a spark with any of them, but I've remained friends with a couple of my highest matches. As foxy_hedgehog states, I think the Enemy rating can be more useful than the Match percentages. I've had the best luck on OKC with 70-85% matches who have a 0-5% enemy rating.
posted by JannaK at 4:05 PM on March 31, 2013

Check out the "Important to me" filter. There you will find the dealbreakers.

The percentage is generally meaningless on its own, but if someone is only like 50% and I check out "important to me" I tend to come across Republicanism, homophobia, Ayn Rand-liking, or something else I just can't stomach.
posted by drjimmy11 at 4:05 PM on March 31, 2013 [7 favorites]

Like jacquilynne, most of the emails I get from people with a lower match/high enemy rating are from people who clearly haven't read my profile. "Hey cutie whats up." or "u r cute lets chat."

I only answer questions about things that I care about, so if someone looks like a poor match they usually are. "Do you think a man should be head of the household?" "Yes." "Do you think feminists have ruined the modern world?" "Yes."


In short, a lot depends on what questions you answer and how you rate their importance to you.
posted by bunderful at 4:07 PM on March 31, 2013 [3 favorites]

I've found ok cupid's % match to be scarily accurate. I've also answered a lot of questions and I'm the type of person that has a lot of ethical/political issues that I consider deal breakers. So I think it depends on the person. I almost always click through to see the "unacceptable" answers and almost always anyone with a low score has major deal breakers (teach the controversy! Yeah no...). That being said if you really like somebody it is really worth it to look at their answers. I could never date someone that was pro life, but could I date somebody that loves scary movies, Irish food and fly fishing? Yeah sure even though those things aren't of much interest to me.
posted by whoaali at 4:44 PM on March 31, 2013 [3 favorites]

To kind of answer the inverse, I have met people with like 99% agreement and we absolutely detested each other. I have never considered "becoming friends" with them or seeing them again in any way, shape or form.

All it's really testing for is, "do we agree on politics and maybe like the same music," which is the farthest thing imaginable from being compatible to date. If you live in a big city like I do, people who actually wouldn't hug a gay person or whatever awful thing are like anti-unicorns in their rarity anyway.

I would say I am probably a 90% match with anyone who lives in my part of L.A. and is around my age, just by self-selection.
posted by drjimmy11 at 4:58 PM on March 31, 2013 [3 favorites]

I've met a few women on OKC who had low match scores with me. In most cases, as I recall, we had some marvelous short-term fun, but we weren't a match for long term dating. One woman in particular became a really good friend. I love meeting up with people to shoot street photography with. The match percentage isn't very important for that.

I think part of the equation comes down to what you're looking for. If you want a long term relationship, and especially if you want a relationship that could lead to marriage, kids, etc, then YES, the percent that you match could be a big deal. This is especially true if you match on things that really matter to you, like religion, politics, smoking, drugs, etc. But if you're also looking for friends or activity partners, then the matching is far less important.
posted by 2oh1 at 5:10 PM on March 31, 2013

The people I know who seem happiest with OKC use profiles and messages to have coffee with everyone who meets their looks + success + (lack of) baggage + literacy + not-obviously-psycho criteria, and hopefully one or two are worth seeing again.

The people who rely heavily on matches, as a specific manifestation of their general desire to date only people who would always agree with them on what show to go to and who to vote for ... seem to stay single indefinitely.
posted by MattD at 5:36 PM on March 31, 2013 [3 favorites]

When I was on OkC, a lot of my people I knew were too, so I could compare who the website thought I would like to who I actually did. I found that even if we had a high match percentage, it didn't mean our chemistry (sexual or friendship-wise, even) would work together at all.
posted by itsamermaid at 6:10 PM on March 31, 2013

It does depend on how honest you and the other person were about answering the questions. If someone answered a number of questions in what they thought was the socially acceptable way, but are really a lot freakier than they would appear (or the opposite), this can skew the results. All you can do is be honest on your end and hope for the best.

I've found that I don't like people on either end of the spectrum. The 99% matches seem boring (look in the mirror, dude. I know.) and the lower matches seem crazy and/or judgmental. Since a lot of my answers were judgmental- things like "would you think less of someone if they admitted to being racist". I answered yes to questions like that, so a lot of my low matches are truly incompatible jerks. If I had to make a snap judgement, I'd say it looks like a bell curve centered around maybe 70% match.
posted by gjc at 6:48 PM on March 31, 2013 [1 favorite]

My boyfriend and I met on OKC almost 2 years ago, we were somewhere between 75-80%, neither of us remember exactly what. Friends was middling also, but enemy was in the low teens (maybe like 12%?). We've been living together for almost a year now.

Agreeing with others on spot-testing - I knew I wouldn't get along with people who, for example, gave really misogynistic/homophobic/otherwise-icky-to-me answers, or had the highlighted "not acceptable" answers for questions that I had answered that I thought were important. I seem to remember that my thinking the sun was bigger than the moon was deemed unacceptable at one point...

Also agreeing that people who were a really low (<50%) were never much fun to talk to, usually hadn't read anything about me, and I never bothered meeting any of them.
posted by jorlyfish at 7:04 PM on March 31, 2013

I rejected someone on OKC once with one of those quick match things (I think I gave him one star or something) then wound up becoming quite good friends with him without knowing for a long time that he was that dude. If there's something about someone's personality as expressed in their profile that really puts you off, I wouldn't pursue it, but I don't think the scores mean much in reality. I definitely feel more than 42% compatible or whatever it was with my friend.
posted by mlle valentine at 7:10 PM on March 31, 2013

Um, I think "match percentage" can eliminate some obvious sexual mismatches. Doesn't mean that you'll click with a "good" match, though.
posted by skbw at 7:10 PM on March 31, 2013 [2 favorites]

I dated someone with a 70%ish match for seven or eight months. I wouldn't really say we got on like a house on fire or anything though.

I did find the match to be a pretty good predictor of how interested I would be in someone, and the handful of dates I went on were mostly with people in the 90s and while I wasn't interested in them all I found it surprisingly easy to hang out with them for several hours each.
posted by geegollygosh at 7:25 PM on March 31, 2013

My boyfriend and I met over other means. Our OKC profile match was 68% or so. But that's because I refused to answer questions about sexuality, and said that it was important to me that the person was not religious. He is religious, but in a rare way where I don't mind.
posted by ethidda at 7:30 PM on March 31, 2013 [3 favorites]

My now fiancee (4 years together and counting) was a ~65% match with me when we met. A lot of the questions that are asked on OKC are barely relevant, let alone deal breakers. Our morals were and are very similar.
posted by zug at 7:44 PM on March 31, 2013 [2 favorites]

I can freely decide to alter the match percentage I have with someone, in a positive or negative direction. So I don't think it's reliable. I just checked my match percentage with an ex-girlfriend I met on OKCupid: 81%. There were reasons we broke up, of course, but I really don't think OKCupid was in any position to know about them.
posted by John Cohen at 8:33 PM on March 31, 2013 [1 favorite]

I don't think it's any more helpful than any other data point in a person's profile. Five years ago I sent a note to a man who was...somewhere in the neighborhood of 70%? Maybe less? Anyway, we're getting married in August. The plural of anecdote is not data, but at least it's not IMPOSSIBLE.

Certainly there are dealbreaker questions in there, and only you can know how much you care about a specific thing, but I don't think it's a good reason to dismiss anyone out of hand. I went on lots and lots of dates via OKC (seriously, fiance was first date #17 that year), and I can't say that I definitely connected better with the very high percentage matches than the low ones.

Enemy percentage made more of a difference - then we tended to actively disagree on things that were important to me. I found that people with a higher enemy percentage tended to either piss me off enough that we never had an in-person date, or the date that did happen was dead boring and not repeated.
posted by bowtiesarecool at 8:49 PM on March 31, 2013 [1 favorite]

My husband and I were a ~75% match on OKC when we met in 2006. I think our enemy % was pretty low, but I can't remember what it was. I would look at their actual responses, especially to the questions you marked as most important to you.
posted by kiripin at 8:55 PM on March 31, 2013

I met my boyfriend 7 years ago on OKC. Our match percentage was truly horrible. Here's the thing-those percentages are based on what other people think is important. What is important to you could be entirely different.
posted by MexicanYenta at 1:16 AM on April 1, 2013

Nthing that while the percentages themselves aren't entirely useful, the "Important to me" filter is VERY useful. When I still used OKC, I always clicked on that first thing.

You just need to be sure to select questions that really are dealbreakers, and mark them as of highest importance (it's been a while; I've forgotten their wording). If by chance the person you're looking at hasn't answered those questions, then check out ones they've marked as important ("Important to them" filter, I believe).
posted by fraula at 2:18 AM on April 1, 2013

My parents also would never have "matched" on OKCupid, and they've been together for over 30 years.

My most recent OKC ex was a 70-75-ish% match and we dated for 2.5 months.
posted by chainsofreedom at 5:32 PM on April 1, 2013

Data in the other direction -- I've gone out with a couple of 99% matches. If their matching system were perfect, I'd only have needed to date the first one, right?

Just because you share social mores with someone doesn't mean you will have 'chemistry' with them.
posted by modernserf at 7:25 PM on April 2, 2013

My partner and I were a low 70s match on OKC, and we've been together four years.

Sometimes what we THINK we want ("must agree with me on X political issue and always take the trash out") goes out the window when we meet someone we really like.

Also, we're three-dimensional, time-bound mammals, and can only be described imperfectly by online survey questions; OKC can't tell you what a person's voice will sound like when they read out loud, what their eyes will look like when they want to kiss you, or whether the smell of their neck will send you to the moon.
posted by feets at 3:22 AM on April 3, 2013

if those scores are just meaningless

It all depends on how you've answered your questions. If you answer meaningless fluffy questions, then the score is meaningless. If you "curate" your questions (ignore the silly ones) so that they reflect what you want in a match and your dealbreakers, then I think the match percentage is pretty helpful. It's an imperfect tool and only one part of the selection process, but very useful.

Part of the problem is that we often aren't so good at self-assessing what we want in a partner, but this gets better as we get older. At this point in my life I don't think it's important to like all the same movies. I do know that I have a limited tolerance for picky eaters and folks who are shouty about politics.

I have one friend who has a physical characteristic that some guys find very appealing and some do not. Let's say she's blonde. So she has set up her questions so that she can see right away if someone has checked off that he's not into blonde chicks. If so, she doesn't waste her time writing them.
posted by bunderful at 6:01 AM on April 3, 2013

When I was on OKC, I only marked questions I really cared about as important—so I only considered dating people with high match scores/low enemy scores (for me, the enemy score was a bigger deal than the match percentage). I thought of a high match score as necessary for the possibility of a relationship, though it's obviously not sufficient proof that you'll actually want to continue dating somebody.

All that said, I once dated someone I'd met in real life and later discovered we were poorly matched on OKC. In the long run, yes, we weren't quite a match, but we did have a wonderful time while it lasted. And if I'd only been looking on OKC, we never would have gone out.
posted by three_red_balloons at 5:42 PM on April 7, 2013

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