RIP to the outdated stereotype of the timid female waiting anxiously by the phone …

Even though dating has gone digital, the antiquated Victorian rules of the courtship are still heavily at play. That’s why it’s not surprising that a recent report by OkCupid found that men are still way more likely to send the first message on dating sites than women.

However, the report also revealed something really interesting: Women who reverse these gender norms by making the first move themselves have a much higher chance of attracting hotter men who may even be out of their league.

… That’s a vital fucking lifehack.

On average, women send 3-4 first messages on dating sites, whereas males send an average of 9-15. However there appears to be a significant advantage for progressive, outspoken females looking to counter social/dating norms. With nearly a third (30 percent) of these more forward ladies, the first contact turned into an actual conversation. Per the results, females are more than twice as likely to get a response than males who made the first move.

The research also concludes that women who message males first have more success across the board when it comes to catching the attention of hotter men. Even when women making the move are categorically considered “less attractive” than the man they were messaging, the trick still worked. OkCupid analyzed the attractiveness of all the men who women had a conversation with after they sent the first message, and the median attractiveness of those men was 6.6 percentile points above the attractiveness of the women sending the message. The site measured attractiveness as having nice looks, engaging photos and an intriguing profile.

On the other hand, babes who abide by more traditional norms and wait to be contacted first end up getting more attention from men they’re not necessarily attracted to, because the ones they do find attractive may not message them.

“The one norm that has yet to change is who makes the first move,” notes OkCupid’s Chief Product Officer, Jimena However.  “This is why women who shift this dynamic have such a big advantage.”

But while that’s great news, the larger question still remains: Why?

Regardless of the manner in which male bravado is perpetuated by the media, the reality is that the prospect of messaging a woman first, no matter the attraction or confidence level, is still exceptionally daunting for many males. The stress of rejection is a unisex issue. While a male may find a profile and face that interests him, he very easily could put off that first message a day or two while he attempts to draft the perfect introduction before talking himself out of it altogether. In the meantime, if a confident woman chooses to take the lead and approach him first, his interests are surely piqued.

It may come as a surprise to many, but not every guy out there is the dominant, aggro As Seen On TV type, just as not every woman on these dating sites is simply playing the role of the passive participant. There are plenty of males out there who prefer outspoken, more dominant females and vice versa for either sex, and research elucidates the effectiveness of finding out what type of man you're dealing with for yourself.

Plus, people aren't mind readers. They can’t always tell when a person is into them. Sometimes, a forward message on a dating site is the only way to paint a picture of interest.

If you want someone, tell them. Where it goes from there is anyone's guess. But you never know until you try.