Every service offers you a way to present information about yourself to the public. Most often this is referred to as your profile. Most literature I’ve read regarding online dating has put massive amounts of emphasis on the importance of the profile. I do think the profile is an important tool in online dating but I believe even someone with a mediocre profile can still be very successful.
For example, look at newspaper personal ads. Here is a real recent personal ad I found:
LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL
DWM, 49, 5’10″, 165lbs, brown/brown, construction worker, fit, N/S, N/D, young heart, mind, body, has kids, lives alone. Seeking fit WF to enjoy life’s ups and downs
So in a few sentences you have read this gentleman’s profile. Chances are, he’s getting dates. Someone using these ads must be having success because they’ve been around for so long and people continue to use them. It’s the knowledge that this type of profile can work that causes me to question the amount of information that we are instructed to put into our online profiles. The profile is important. It is your sales pitch and it is necessary but when you go shopping for a car, the salesman doesn’t explain every type of bolt used to hold the engine together: it is just not necessary. I think sometimes we are convinced we must share every “bolt” about ourselves without realizing this can do more damage than good. If there is a way to write a perfect profile, I don’t know it. However, I’ll give my opinions on what I think a good profile should strive for.
People look for two things when reading a profile: things that make the profile writer desirable (either similar traits or desirable traits) and things that make the profile writer worthy of elimination. Everyone should have a mental list of what they are looking for if they are serious about dating. Some people, however, take this to the extreme and will eliminate anyone who “does X” or “likes Y” regardless of how petty X or Y are. It is my opinion that writing a very lengthy profile will improve your odds of unwarranted elimination. This elimination-leaning quality of online dating is partially created by online dating itself: there are 10,000 profiles to look at. If someone has a quality you don’t like, just drop the idea of talking to them and move on to the other 9,999. This is a poor way to approach dating and I would encourage you to rarely eliminate anyone quickly for small differences. Do keep in mind that others could be eliminating you without offering the same courtesy. If you contact someone and your profile has neither desirable traits nor undesirable traits, I find it reasonable to believe that this person would still be interested in having a cup of coffee with you. If this idea is correct, it means you are just as well off with a bland profile as you’re with one that has desirable traits peppered through-out!
If you read enough profiles, you will notice it is hard for an individual profile to stand out. Sure, you might remember a profile with a pretty face attached to it but it isn’t the profile itself that has captured your attention. For the most part, profiles aren’t nearly as interesting as the people writing them, no matter how good the writing skills involved may be. It makes sense to want to have a great profile but the truth is profiles are very forgettable. All this is said not to discourage attempts at the “perfect” profile but to encourage avoiding an overly large profile. The last thing you want your profile to do is cause people to skim it quickly. Chances are your profile won’t be the first or last profile person X will read on any given day. If you can express who you are and be as brief as able at the same time, you are improving your chances of having someone get a better understanding of you. Better to express a few important details about yourself than lose people by explaining everything.
Many people list every single thing they love in the hopes that someone else may like it too. This makes sense as we all want to find someone we can share our lives with and sometimes we’re afraid we might be missing that special someone because we didn’t mention our love of “The Matrix” or the color yellow or whatever. It is a good thing to list specifics about yourself that you hope would attract others but keep in mind you can’t be everything to everyone. There should be a limited number of interests you cover to avoid boring away potential dates.
A final note on brevity: remember that a lot of your “competition” may be absolutely, positively insane. The guy that calls three times a day for a week after the first date or the girl who, on the first date, talks about colors she’d like to use in “your” wedding. There are crazies out there and they affect you by causing potential dates to be suspicious of you. Get too wordy with your profile creation and you may be labeled as “not worth the risk” because of the nuts who came before you.
Unless you are that guy that everyone describes as their “funny friend”, it is best to avoid joking around in your profile. It’s not that joking around is bad, it’s that interpretation of meaning on the internet is often a tricky thing. As an example, most of us have written emails that we later had to explain because our meaning was misinterpreted. If you feel you must make jokes because that’s who you are, get someone to read your profile to make sure your meaning is easily understood. And for the love of all things pure and holy, please avoid sarcasm. You may be the most adept wielder of sarcasm the world has ever known but if there is anything that is easier to misunderstand on the internet than sarcasm, I haven’t seen it. The problem with sarcasm is you are saying something that, when misunderstood, leads people to believe you feel exactly the opposite as you truly do. If you want potential dates to know that you enjoy sarcasm just say so.
This is much different than joking as it pertains to the tone of your profile. Try to have positive spins on your personal facts. Do you enjoy your job? If so, when you mention your job mention something you like about it. Are you close to your family? Say so and express how great you think they are. Be honest about what makes you happy in your life. If positive isn’t your thing, and for some of us it just isn’t, that’s fine. In that case, just avoid being negative. Avoid comments such as “I can’t believe I’m doing this” or “I know this makes me look desperate” or “I’ve failed at every other dating method, may as well try this” and so on. You will see this in other profiles occasionally but make sure all comments in your profile are either neutral or positive. I am not sure who is passing around the rumor that a good way to find a date is by generating pity but it is a lie. Also, some seem to believe that being hard on themselves shows some very lovable quality. It doesn’t. It does not come off as humble, it comes off as insecure. Don’t do it. As the saying goes, better to say nothing at all than something bad.
What You Aren’t Looking For
Do not, under any circumstances, list everything you are not looking for in someone. Don’t list anything at all you dislike unless it is an absolute deal break. It will annoy people who read your profile even if they don’t fall into any of your “don’t even bother talking to me if you have X quality” categories. The only people who can do this and get away with it are girls who are getting a dozen emails a day regardless what their profile says. This is because while they display a horrible attitude, they are attractive enough that guys don’t care (actually, most of these guys don’t care about the profile at all). If you don’t fall into this category, I think covering everything you hate is a very bad idea.
Yes, it’s important. Better that people date you based on who you are, not how active your imagination is. I am shy regardless of how many times I can type outgoing. Ladies, three-hundred pounds isn’t “curvy” so don’t try to sell it as such. If a night out for you is checking the mailbox to see if the NetFlix came in, so be it. Better to leave facts out then to lie about them. Did I title my profile “I’M SHY”? No. I didn’t mention how out-going I was at all. Totally honest? Maybe not but assertiveness isn’t what I’m selling so I’ll say it was as honest as I needed to be. Always keep in mind that people use online dating services because they want to meet someone. Chances are someone out there is looking for you so present who you are, not who you think others want.
I have talked to many people who have used online dating and never has anyone ever said that they were drawn to someone based on how “great” they created their profile. Specific data in a profile obviously excites interest, but it is not the profile in and of itself that is going to attract people. It all comes down to this: no emotionally healthy person decides that a relationship is going to work based off of reading a profile, no matter how well the profile is written. So don’t stress on getting your profile perfect. List what you consider important regarding who you are and error on the side of providing too little information rather than too much. Leaving a little mystery makes you more interesting, not less.