I have a confession to make. I have a hobby that I typically keep to myself, but today I’m sharing it with you in order to offer you some advice. Don’t worry- it’s not taxidermy or Republicanism.
I obsessively read other peoples’ dating profiles.
I’m not interested in finding a date this way; it just entertains me. And the vast majority of dating profiles written by men and women alike are unbelievably bad. I’ve finally decided that people just don’t know how to talk about themselves in a way that would attract other people.
In this post, I’m going to talk about the biggest mistakes that people make when writing dating profiles and provide some tips for correcting those mistakes and writing a great profile.
“Wait a second,” you say. “I think that my dating profile is pretty good!”
It’s not. No really, it’s terrible. It’s the worst I’ve ever seen, actually.
Okay, so maybe I don’t know that for certain, but odds are, some of these tips will help you portray yourself more accurately and favorably to the potential mate you are trying to attract.
Below I’ve listed the ten most common dating profile mistakes. Make sure to avoid the following errors to create a great profile.
1. Resort to platitudes or cliches such as “I want to live every day like it’s my last,” or “I like to walk the path less traveled,” or “I believe that everything happens for a reason.” It’s boring and it doesn’t really say anything about you.
2. Say “Your” when you mean “you’re” (and vice versa), or say “alot” when you mean “a lot,” or just generally fail to proofread your ad. It’s sloppy and it makes you look like you don’t care about presenting yourself well to potential partners.
3. List “watching movies, listening to music, hanging with friends, chilling, relaxing, etc.” as your interests. Obviously you like these things. Have you ever heard someone say that they don’t like hanging out with their friends? Tell me something I don’t know.
4. List “playing video games, watching ESPN, hunting, playing football, etc.” as your interests. Really? A guy who loves playing video games? Be still my heart.
5. Say “if you want to know something about me, just ask!” The purpose of a dating profile is to allow a potential partner to learn more about you before they’re forced to waste their time by actually talking to you, only to discover that you really are a jerk. Instructing potential dates to ask for more information is a good way to get them to move on to the next profile.
6. Say “I hate reading.” If you’re not into, just don’t mention it. Saying that you hate to read makes you sound ignorant.
7. Post a picture of yourself where you are: holding the camera yourself, flexing your biceps, sitting on a motorcycle, not wearing a shirt, or holding up a giant fish that you’ve just caught.
8. WRITE AN AD IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS. IT MAKES IT SEEM LIKE YOU’RE SHOUTING AND YOU HAVE NO AWARENESS OF PROPER ONLINE ETIQUETTE.
9. Say that you like “every kind of music, except rap and country.” There’s nothing inherently wrong with hating rap and country- it’s just that everyone else hates it too. Come up with one musical artist who really defines your tastes, and list them instead.
10. Continually use the word “just,” as in “I just want a nice girl” or “I just want someone who likes me for me.” It makes you sound whiny.
Now that you’ve eliminated all the errors in your profile, let’s start from scratch. The following is a list of ten tips for writing a really good dating profile.
1. Don’t bury the lead. The first words in your profile need to be relevant and engaging. This is your chance to draw readers in and make them interested enough to read more, so make sure it’s polished.
2. Be concrete, not abstract. If you find yourself using a lot of adjectives when writing your dating profile, stop. For example, don’t say “I’m a creative guy who loves to have fun”. That doesn’t give potential dates any real insight into who you are, plus, it often sounds like you’re bragging. Instead, tell us why you’re creative. Try: “I love sketching the human figure in charcoal, and I really enjoy playing Republican debate bingo with my buddies.”
3. Be specific, not vague. In following my second piece of advice you’ve stopped saying that you’re “an adventurous and fun loving guy,” but have you started saying “I like to travel and party with my friends,” instead? That’s almost just as bad, because it still doesn’t provide enough information. Do you like to travel by going on exotic cruises and staying in resorts, or do you want to explore Delhi’s seedy underbelly on a shoestring budget? There’s a big difference- so make it clear which one you mean. A good alternative to “I like to travel and party with my friends” might be something like “I dream of hiking the Camino del Santiago some day, and my Settlers of Catan parties are the stuff of legend.”
4. Make it clear that you don’t take yourself too seriously. This doesn’t mean you should act as though you have no life plans or ambition- it just means that you should communicate that you don’t think you’re the center of the universe or God’s gift to the opposite sex. (Or the same sex.)
5. On the other hand, don’t act as though you have nothing to offer. Avoid writing a dissertation about all of your personal imperfections and neuroses. Extreme insecurity is almost as much of a turnoff as a lack of humility.
6. Correctly spell and punctuate your entire profile. If you can’t do it yourself, have a friend look over it for you. There’s nothing worse than reading a profile in which the writer has confused “their” and “there” or “you’re” and “your”.
7. Talk about what you’re looking for in a partner- but be realistic, for goodness sake. If you’re 45 and carrying around a sizable spare tire as a result of drinking too much Michelob Ultra, don’t say that you’re only looking for women from 18 to 25 who weigh less than 120 pounds. Or hey, mention it if you want- just don’t expect to find any dates that way.
8. Upload a recent photo of yourself- either a face or full body shot. Use natural light instead of a flash, and don’t take it with a camera phone. In this photo, you should be:
-Preferably positioned against a neutral colored background.
9. Provide basic biographical information including whether or not you have children, what you do for a living, and your first name for goodness sake.
10. Don’t be a jerk. This is kind of a big one.
A final note: I hear a lot of advertisements for eHarmony and Match.com, but it seems like all the cool people are actually using OKCupid these days. It’s free, so that’s cool.
Good luck writing your profile! Let me know if you’re having trouble, and I’ll help you out.