Online Dating Profile Tips
Online dating many of us absolutely loathe them, and for good reason. In order to join most online dating sites, you re required to fill out a profile about yourself. Paragraph upon never ending paragraph of detail about you. What s your favorite music? What types of television shows do you watch? What do you like to eat? How tall are you? Are you athletic? What are you doing with your life? Where do you see yourself in five years? Do you like kids? How many? (ugh!) It s all about YOU YOU YOU and, quite frankly it can feel a bit self-centered when you re filling it out! So how do you navigate the potholes of the online dating superhighway and come out the other end unscathed (and hopefully with a love interest)? Below is one theory.
But First, One Theory of Relativity
There are many things in this world that are relative. Perhaps more if you live in a state like Arkansas. All joking aside, the relativities of dating perplexes me, as I’m sure it does for many others. I constantly find myself struggling with categorizing who I am given standard dating labels. Am I fit, average, a few extra pounds? Well, relative to what – or whom? Relative to an Olympic sprinter I’m probably rather portly but relative to the largest man on earth (who, by the way, weighed upwards of 800+ pounds at one point and just got married) I’m probably rather thin.
Much distress is caused by this relativity in my personal experience. The person defining the attributes (tall/short, fat/thin, intelligent/not, etc) is never the one interpreting them. Many times my idea of what is tall or short, fat or thin, rich or poor is starkly different than what your idea of those descriptors may be. So what is the solution for this dilemma? I think people, quite simply, need to lighten up. If you don’t think I’m ‘tall’ or you think I should have put that I’m ‘stocky’ instead of average – live with it. Similarly, if I notice perceived discrepancies on your profile, I will examine the whole profile for what it is (and who you are). This is all within reason, of course. If you re overweight and you put on your profile that you re athletic then you re not likely going to get away with it. Please take note that I make the absolute distinction between these misunderstandings and outright lying. They’re clearly not the same (at all), which brings me to my next topic.
Dating Tip #1 – Never Misrepresent!
If it quacks like a duck it must be a duck!
Misrepresentation, otherwise known as LYING, is quite easy to do in the field of online dating. Well, let me say that it s easy to do up until a certain point usually the point where the online world meets the real world. Online dating, like the rest of the Interwebs, is rather anonymous. You can be or become almost anyone you want online. In online dating the stakes are a bit different than the rest of the anonymous world wide web because there usually is the intention of meeting in person at some point. If you misrepresent who you are in your online dating profile it WILL come out sooner or later. Sure, there are aspects of your life and persona that may be open to interpretation. Subjective words like successful , charming , athletic , a catch and the like can take on entirely different meanings depending on the perspective. What we re talking about here is the black and white details about you. How tall are you? If you re 5 4 then you re 5 4 everywhere New York, Florida, California, the USA, China, Russia If you re married or separated then there isn t much grey area there, either. Don t lie about these details not even just a little bit. Starting a (potential) relationship out on a lie will doom the relationship before it even has a chance to get started. Sure, you may be able to hide it for a while, but if and when you do meet in person you ll be setting the wrong tone. You may as well shoot yourself in the foot than try to date online with a fraudulent dating profile. They make about the same sense in my mind.
On the flip side of that coin, as a dater, don t be afraid to question the sincerity of people that you meet online. Trust is earned, not a given and it s ok to make people earn your trust. Also keep in mind that others may be skeptical of you at first as well. Try to see it from their perspective you re effectively a stranger to them. They don t know anything more about you than what you ve told them. It may take them some time to get to know you (in person) for them to trust that you are who you say you are. This is completely normal and I caution you not to take offense or react too negatively when you encounter cautious online daters.
Trust in online dating is a tightrope walk. As a successful, healthy and socially aware online dater, you have to juggle an open mind with a good dose of skepticism. Lean too far to one side or the other and you ll find yourself in some trouble potentially serious trouble. Be safe, trust your instincts and open up to your dates when the time is right and you re sure to find success in the end.
Dating Tip #2 - Profile Do’s and Don’ts
I ve read hundreds of online dating profiles in my time and consider myself to be a bit of an expert in them. There are other experts out there as well people that actually make a living from writing online dating profiles and assisting online daters with marketing themselves to potential matches. Your online dating profile is your first impression to the online dating world. It can make or break your entire dating effort. It makes sense that some effort should be made toward writing a meaningful, accurate and, most importantly, INTERESTING online dating profile, within the confines of your reality, of course. Online dating profiles are a marketing tool where the product is you. But what should you put in your online dating profile and what should you leave out? Good question! Let s talk about a few aspects of online dating profiles.
Narration Over Lists
I like to think positive, so rather than a laundry list of what not to do, let s start with what aspects of yourself you should include in your online dating profile. As I mentioned before, be honest in your profile. Your profile should represent the real you the good and the bad (to an extent). Include your interests, hobbies, some details about your work, etc. Successful profiles are more than mere lists of favorites. For example, rather than saying, I enjoy the following activities: camping, hiking and being outdoors a far more effective profile writing technique would be to provide a short narrative that illustrates your love for the outdoors. Something like, Last year s trip to Yosemite National Park was amazing! I d really like to find someone that is interested in sharing marshmallow roasting and early-morning sunrises with me. Subtlety can go a long way in an online dating profile, as can examples that illustrate your point. I am A , B and C is far less interesting to read than a story about them. Bulleted lists typically don t score points with potential dates. Despite the feeling at times that online dating is like a job interview it s really not.
Positivity Over Negativity
No one likes a downer and this absolutely includes online dating. If your profile is full of negatives (don t likes, hates, don t care for s or sucks) then you re going to come off as a very negative person. That may be a very accurate reflection of your personality and, in the interest of being honest, you should let some of that shine (ahem) through. It s important to try to be positive but still remain absolutely accurate. Try not to be mister or miss Mary Sunshine in your profile if you re actually mister or miss Glum in real life. It will set the tone for the first date and I can almost guarantee there won t be a second date when your date discovers the real you.
Mystery Over Excruciating Detail
One of the most common mistakes I see in online dating profiles is the classic over-share. People put too much information in their profile thereby ruining their chances of getting even that first initial date. Over-sharing of information doesn t even have to be bad information to be an over-share. Composing your online dating profile should not make you feel as though you re rambling on about yourself.. The moment you feel that you re rambling is the moment you should stop writing. Be short(er), clear(er) and more concise in your description of yourself. It s perfectly ok, and in fact encouraged, to leave some mystery to your readers! Give them some tidbits about yourself but don t give them a full meal. It will leave them wanting more and besides, there has to be something to talk about on the first date!
Collaboration Over Flying Solo
Everything is better with a friend, and that includes dating (and writing profiles). All good authors know that outside eyes on their work is an absolutely essential step in producing a quality work. Writing online dating profiles is no different. Ask a friend (single or otherwise) that you trust to review your profile. Are you sharing the most appropriate tidbits about yourself? Are you underplaying or overplaying any aspects of yourself? An outside review can even assist with profile basics like spelling, grammar and sentence structure. All of these aspects matter when writing a profile. You re not perfect and your profile doesn t have to be perfect either. Your profile should reflect who you are and if you re a young(ish), single, educated professional then your profile should read like you re one or you won t attract the type of match you re ultimately looking for.
Genuine Over Robotic
As you settle into your online dating experience you ll begin to pick up on the nuances involved in online dating communication. I d like to think that most daters are genuine and seek a true connection with someone. They read profiles, they search diligently for matches they think will truly be compatible and they approach the whole process with an open mind and heart. On the other hand are the robotic daters. A robotic male dater will assume quantity over quality. He may look at your pictures and skip over the rest of your profile and just blindly Email with a clever quip like “Hey ma, u r hot” or a pre-written Email he s sent to a thousand other daters. My apologies in advance; it’s just the way the world works. Just do your best to make sure you re not that guy (or girl). Take the time to read the profile(s) of people you re genuinely interested in. If and when you decide to initiate contact with them, say something that lets them know you actually took the time to read their profile. A little bit of initial investment like this can score a lot of points and may get you a reply you might not otherwise have gotten!
Dating Tip #3 - Profile Pictures Over Everything Else
A picture is worth a thousand words. No truer words can be spoken of an online dating profile. Online dating is unequivocally three things: 1) relatively anonymous and therefore 2) based on trust and 3) rather visual. Online dating sites themselves advertise the difference in success and contact rates when a person posts a profile picture versus when no picture is posted and the difference is typically multiplication factors better when pictures are posted.
Men, especially, are very visual creatures. In general, we prefer pretty pictures rather than being bogged down with a bunch of words. Likewise, speaking honestly and frankly from the male perspective – men are far less likely to read online dating profiles if we don t find the pictures at least somewhat appealing. The pictures you post on your profile likely carry as much or more weight in determining the interest level of your potential matches in you than does the sum of all of the other dating site parts combined. That s a tough pill to swallow but a necessary one. Think about it this way: if a profile you re reading speaks to their fitness prowess, their budding career, their growing success and their love of life, activity and positive energy but the photos paint a much different picture, which would you be more inclined to believe?
I know I said I m a positive person but I feel a what not to list is more appropriate when it comes to pictures.
Disclaimer: The below list assumes you re seeking a match on a normal online dating site and not one of the fringe sites that seek something other than a monogamous relationship.
Online Dating Picture Don’ts
There are no hard and fast ‘rules’ when it comes to profile pictures but below are some basic rules of thumb that have served me well. Please feel free to adapt them to your situation and needs as appropriate.
Don’t Post Nudes, Semi-Nudes or Lingerie Pictures
If you re on a legitimate dating site, don’t post these pictures. Your profile may say one thing but these pictures will say trashy and easy.
Don’t Cut Out the Ex
Ok, so you were having a fantastic hair day or the light hits your skin in just a way that makes you glow. But your ex is in the picture. Don’t attempt to remove your ex from the picture. Find another picture without the ex (or have one taken).
Don’t Post Pictures of Inanimate Objects
Seriously, no one cares about your (dog, cat, car, house, boat, houseboat, boat house, etc.). Pictures of your stuff are quite unnecessary.
Don’t Post Pictures of Your Child(ren)
If you are in the photo with your child that s one thing, but don t post pictures of your children solo. It s creepy and makes us feel like pedophiles.
Don’t Post Pictures of Your Pets
Just like children, we don t care to see solo pictures of your critters.
Don’t Post Your Wedding Pictures
You look fantastic in white but don t post wedding photos. Yes, I thought this was obvious too, but apparently it s not.
Don’t Post Pictures of You With a Drink
One picture of you out on the town may be ok but not more than one. You ll simply look like an alcoholic.
Don’t Post Pictures You Took Yourself
Self-shot love can grab a good angle but if more than one of your photos is of the self-shot variety you ll appear to not have any friends. If you don t have any friends, buy a tripod. ALWAYS avoid the shirtless bathroom mirror self-shot.