In a previous post, I talked about how to choose an online dating site from the myriad that exist today. Now, I’d like to talk about how to write a profile that will attract a person perfect for the special person that is YOU!
According to a paper presented at the 2010 American Sociological Association meeting approximately 25% of new marriages originate from online meetings. But just putting a profile up on an online dating service doesn’t guarantee relationship success. In fact, many people who write dating profiles make big mistakes that actually keep potential partners away.
I did online dating for about 6 years before I met my husband online. I’ve been in the trenches and I’ve spent hours pouring over online dating profiles with my amazing girlfriends who also date online – many of whom have also met their significant others online too. Writing a profile is like writing an ad to show off your best attributes – and by that I don’t mean provocative photos of your body parts (please….just, no). There is an art to writing a profile and what you put out there absolutely does matter. So what are some things to avoid or to make sure that you include in your profile? Here are my recommendations:
- Please don’t write that you “love to laugh,” that you like to “take long walks on the beach” or that you are an “interesting” person. Snore city! Everyone says those things, but how many people actually ARE DOING those things? Saying generic things like this make you blend into the pack instead of helping you to shine. Instead, be specific and demonstrate the traits you most want to convey by sharing things you actually DO. Show how unique you are through the things you do, things that interest you and that make you tick. For example, don’t say that you love to travel…talk about where you have traveled and where you’re going next.
- Keep your profile to 2-3 paragraphs tops. And do break your profile into paragraphs. These days people don’t want to wade through a long soliliquy about your favorite color and a list of the books you’ve most recently read. Think upbeat, charming and punchy. The goal is to intrigue someone…not pour out your whole life story. Less is more. Maintain some mystery, but showcase what makes you compelling.
- Don’t just drone on about yourself. Help a potential partner start a conversation with you by asking a fun questions in your profile headline or in the body of your profile – that will also help you weed out folks who don’t bother to read your profile. I used to ask guys to identify a movie quote or lyrics from a favorite song. It provided an icebreaker and gave a common point of interest to start things out. Plus, it was fun!
- Please, please, please spell check and grammar check your profile and any emails you send. LOADS of people will flat out ignore your profile if you appear to be ignorant or illiterate. Oh, and please don’t write your profile or emails to prospective partners in ALL CAPS. Just don’t do it.
- Your profile photo is incredibly important. Always have at least one headshot and one full length photo. And please make sure that they are taken within the last year and within 10 feet from the camera. Believe me, you really don’t want to go on a date with someone only to find out that they are disappointed in how you look. Be upfront and accurate from the beginning. Oh, and it’s not necessary to include a whole portfolio of photos, put your best foot forward and that’s it. A menagerie of photos looks really self-centered.
- Be positive! No negative Nellies! No talking about ex’s. No listing out attributes that you DON’T want to attract. No complaining about past dating experiences. No one wants to meet a complainer or someone who leads with a string of negatives. If you can’t be postive and optimistic about the experience of dating, it’s time to take a hiatus until you can.
- Come up with a catchy user name. Don’t use your actual first name. Pick something interesting about you – a hobby, something from a song you like, a place you love, etc. Again, this is a chance for you to show how unique you are. Even more important…don’t use the word sexy or other sexual terms in your profile or in your username - show some class.
- Don’t sound desperate! (see talking about sex above) Focus on the happy life you are living – not that you are looking for someone to “complete” you or enrich your life. Don’t demonstrate in your profile that you’re waiting until you meet someone to live life and do the things you most want to do. It’s a lot of pressure to put on someone who hasn’t even met you yet. Plus, who wants to date someone who sounds sad and like a project. Don’t be a project…projects are just exhausting.
Ok – so those are just a few key things off the top of my head. I LOVE writing online profiles, so if you need help with writing yours, write to me with your questions. I’d be happy to help. Ulitmately, it’s really important for your profile to convey honesty, intelligence, a sense of humor and a little bit of mystery. Spend some time making lists of things you love or love to do….personal passions or goals for your life and weave those into a positive, pithy vignette that describes what makes you tick. All of those things are sure to intrigue the right guy or girl and compell them to want to meet you in-person.
So, what other things are must-do or never-do for writing an online dating profile? I’d l0ve to hear things that you’d add to the list above…
Photo credit: Muddy Funkster’s Flickr photostream