What to say in speed dating

19-Aug-2015 02:32

After the date, the grad students reported how well they "clicked" with their partners for roughly 1,000 four-minute conversations.

The researchers found that physical and character traits, like men's height and shared hobbies, actually had a larger influence on whether couples said they clicked than what they said to each other.

But with each additional minute the couple spent together, things like height and shared hobbies became less important and the flow of their conversation became more important.

The data showed that women felt more connected when men were actively engaged in the conversation and focused on them.

"Nobody has ever quoted me back to me before," Sally's date says to Harry's date in admiration. They are also the focus of a 55-page study from researchers at Stanford University and the University of California at Santa Barbara that looks at what people say on successful dates and not-so-successful dates.

To carry out their study, the researchers ran free speed-dating events for heterosexual grad students in which they recorded what everyone said.

Women were more likely to feel connected when men: Men reported feeling less connected when women did what the researchers called "hedging" -- saying things like "kind of," "sort of" and "maybe." In contrast, the men said they felt a spark when women talked about themselves, using words like “I,” “me,” “myself.” (In fact, the researchers suggest that it may be a bad sign for a man's date if the woman is asking a lot of questions about the man.

Harry and his terrible date are politely uninterested in each other.

Then comes the moment where both of their terrible dates click -- with each other.

They found that men and women in the study actually altered the pitch of their voice when on a good first date -- basically, taking on a more "masculine" or "feminine" voice when speaking to someone they were interested in.

Rosie Cima of the blog Priceonomics, who recently wrote about this 2013 study, graphed the statistically significant correlations between these behaviors and daters saying they "clicked": The chart below gives a little more detail on what women did and didn't do when they felt like they were "clicking." Women who felt connected to their dates talked more about themselves.

What distinguishes a good first date from a bad one?

It's pretty much all on display in the famous double-date scene from "When Harry Met Sally." Sally and her terrible date firmly disagree about important topics.

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