There aren’t many situations in life where it’s acceptable to talk at length about yourself to random strangers without pause or interjection. And it’s usually even less socially acceptable to start disclosing your life story, what you’re looking for in a life partner, your ideal date, your music taste, and your favorite movies—in rapid succession—to people you don’t know and have never met.
But there is somewhere where this is all totally normal, where talking about yourself is not only appropriate, but encouraged.
Your online dating profile!
It may seem a bit daunting to dive into explaining so much about yourself and your dreams right away, so I’ve put some tips together to help you out.
Here are some important tips on how to write a dating profile that will help you attract the right people and land a date.
The key to writing a good online dating profile is to be specific about who you are. Nobody likes a profile that sounds as if the writer is tailoring his or her personality to what other people want to hear. Those sorts of generic, essentially meaningless profiles are exactly what don’t catch someone’s eye online.
Imagine a profile that says:
I’m a nice caring person with a good heart. I am looking for an honest person who likes to have fun.
Seriously, what does that even mean? Everyone thinks they have a good heart (even some really horrible people). Of course this dater is looking for an honest person. What else would someone be looking for, a compulsive liar? And what is fun precisely? Isn’t the concept of fun different for different people? In the end, this profile says essentially nothing. Sure, it might attract some initial responses, but that does nothing toward helping this dater find a real match or create a real connection with someone.
Here’s a better example from a real online dater:
I like literature, critical theory, local music and shows, the Criterion Collection, cooking with ingredients most people have never even heard of, creative writing, Virginia Woolf, 4 Barrel Coffee, Baudrillard, pretending that I don’t love the band Journey, attempting to local my zen state, and sleeping in past noon then having coffee on Sundays.
My Perfect Match
An interesting man who knows who Samuel Beckett is, subscribes to similar periodicals as me, and isn’t too cool to dance at a show. Props if you pretentiously bring up Derrida in social situations.
My Ideal Date
Alcohol and feigned indifference. We go for drinks and alternately act interested and completely aloof. It borders on rudeness. Whatever, it’s what I like.
In the profile above, the dater takes time to lay out her personality. You can see that she has fancy taste in films (Criterion Collection), likes to go to shows, and openly admits that she likes critical theory. Some people won’t relate to her at all, but I like this kind of honesty, because she is obviously not trying to please everyone. She is trying to find people who will like her for who she is.
Ain’t no shame in filtering out the rejects!
I believe that an online dating profile should be an honest portrayal of your personality and act as a filter, nixing out all the unwanteds early on. If you look at the profile above, the writer has no shame in saying exactly what it is she’s looking for; if the man doesn’t read the same level of literature that she does then she isn’t interested. It’s probably a little strange to some people, but at least she’s letting the dating pool know what she wants.
It’s always a smart idea to say exactly what it is you do not want right away on our online dating profile. Being forthright and upfront about your desires is not only a good basic practice, but it also saves you and others precious time and energy to get it out right away instead of later on. If you have deal breakers—like smoking, children, or cats—you should write those down in your profile right away. Otherwise you might be in for a sorry surprise later on. The more specific the better.
Here’s an example from another real online dating profile:
My perfect match is an attractive woman who can keep up with me intellectually and conversationally but who doesn’t do so by being pushy or a bully. I really don’t like mean or intolerant people. Matching political/religious views are a plus, but hardly necessary. I suppose my perfect girl is between 25 and 30 and nice to be around. These are just guidelines though so don’t be afraid to write me.
I think these sorts of specifics are really smart. Note that he wrote that he wants a girl “between 25 and 30.” In a few short steps, he’s created age filter and he also mentioned that he prefers people who have matching political and religious views (another filter).
Channel your inner wordsmith
You don’t have to get all Shakespearen on us, but a little oratorical flair never hurts when attracting people to your online dating profile.
I like this excerpt from another profile:
I love thunderstorms but I can’t live without sunshine. I find beauty in almost everything about this incredible world we live in… I like to swing at the park, play in the snow, and stomp in puddles. I love camping but hate freezing at night.
Take some time to write descriptively. You have no idea how far a tiny bit of eloquence can get you in the world of online dating. Do you like hiking? Don’t just say “I like to hike.” Aim just a bit higher and say something like, “I love the serenity of standing atop a huge mountain, watching the horizon expand before me.” Do you like walks on the beach? Say “There’s nothing more beautiful to me than a beach at sunset, where the stars appear bigger and brighter than everywhere else on earth.” Whatever it is that you have to say, use descriptive language to spice it up.
A little charm goes a long way
If I had to write a list of things that I, particularly, find un-charming, I’d put offensive language, vulgarity, bad spelling, and bad grammar on the top of the list. And somehow, these things occasionally find their way onto people’s’ online dating profiles—which makes me scratch my head and wonder how on earth this could possibly happen. Why would anyone want to date an offensive, vulgar person who has problems communicating effectively? Why would anyone want to present themselves that way?
Ask yourself, when you edit your online dating profile, “Would I date this person?”
There are some important red flags to avoid—angry rants about previous relationships, overboard negativity about your own life, too much disclosure about money or personal finances—when composing your online dating profile. A good rule in determining what kind of content to avoid is a simple reflection on the power of charm.
What kind of people are charming? Generally, they’re positive, friendly, and humble. Charming people have the undeniable ability to attract others to them. They are, simply put, fun to be around. We know each and every person has the ability to be charming. It isn’t particularly difficult. All it takes is a certain level of mindfulness and a little bit of effort. And charm will go a long way with your fellow daters.