How to write an online dating profile
An online dating profile isn't a college English essay, but what you say (and how you say it), matters a great deal. A lot can be communicated in how you write your description, and can spell the difference between appearing confident and (yawn) boooooring. Bridge the gap between who you are and what your profile represents, and write it correctly using our eight dating profile tips.
Tip #1: Distinguish yourself from the others.
Uninspired, overly general personal descriptions such as "I like to have fun" (honestly, who doesn't?) and "I am open to new people" (duh, you're internet dating) don't catch a reader's interest. They provide no useful information about who you are - and little to inspire someone to engage with you. If you're going to use statements like these, back them up; if you're funny, make a joke; if you're smart, show it.
Tip #2: Include the basics
Your personal description should achieve at least one, and preferably both, of the following things:
- Give the reader a sense of your personality. This can be demonstrated in a variety of ways, like explaining how you like to spend your time, or how you see yourself in the future. You can also achieve this effect by telling a story that you embellish with humor, wit or irony.
- Indicate the type of person that you're interested in meeting. One of the worst things after reading someone's profile is having no clue if you're compatible. Even though a date is the ultimate indicator of suitability and chemistry, you won't ever get the opportunity if you leave out this key bit of information. If you're inclined toward a ‘less is more’ approach, then let your pictures do more of the talking (see Tip #4).
Tip #3: Make it easy for people to message you
It's much easier for someone to strike up communication when you include inviting ‘hooks’ in your description. As much as, "I'm willing to try anything…" suggests openness and spontaneity - narrowing it down to, "Lately, I've really become interested in acoustic music, and have just recently taken up guitar", will give readers something more specific to work with, and will garner YOU better results.
Tell a story or mention a unique fact that tempts people to ask you more about it. Talk about a few of your interests or hobbies, going one step further by suggesting something you've never done, but would like to try ... someone out there might just jump at the chance to show you how! If you're looking to meet new people in a city you just moved to, mention what/where you'd really like to explore, or ask the audience for suggestions about what the area has to offer.
Tip #4: Let your pictures do the talking
Pictures can work for you – or against you. If you choose them wisely, they can communicate your best traits without you having to brag. Along with posting a recent head-shot, include a few others that give insight about your past, present and future.
Here are a few key photos of you to include (all of which are easy hooks):
- with friends -proves you've got social skills,
- on a trip out of country - proves you're open-minded and adventurous,
- participating in a leisure activity - shows you're active,
- with a pet or family member - demonstrates your softer side, and
- doing something daring/wearing a crazy getup (you're spontaneous and like have fun).
If all you're able to provide is a shot from your webcam, it's better to leave it at one, rather than taking multiples pictures of yourself from different angles. That just makes you look a bit creepy, and like you never leave home to do anything fun. (Note: we will be publishing more articles in the near future with detailed tips on profile photos “do’s” and “don’ts”.)
Tip #5: Elaborate
It's not just what you do; it's why you do it that counts. It is entirely appropriate to provide some background about your career, lifestyle or hobbies - as long as you don't skip over the reasons why you value those things. Instead of saying, "I love to workout at the gym", consider something along the lines of, "Living an active lifestyle is really important to me, because *insert motivation* and I'd like to meet someone who shares a similar passion for fitness." The second write up can appeal to so many more people; you'll get hits from the people who love the gym, along with everybody else who enjoys being in shape.
Tip #6: Less don'ts, more do's
"I'd like to meet someone who doesn't play mind games and isn't looking for just a fling." Not only is this last statement totally negative, it reeks of resentment about a past relationship gone wrong. Focus on what you do want from a potential date, and be mindful of using language free of pessimism, ambivalence, and cynicism. If it's vital that you mention any "don't do's", make sure you reserve them for deal-breakers and fundamental incompatibilities only. The online dating world isn't the forum to voice your personal issues; doing so will be reflected in your results.
Tip #7: Spelling and grammar!
It's a good idea to begin writing your personal description using a regular word processing program. Do a spell-check and remove redundant or superfluous words. Ask a friend or two to read what you wrote and provide honest and constructive feedback – assure them that is what you want! Lastly, avoid the trap of writing too much – sometimes ‘less-is-more’. You want to arouse interest, not win a Pulitzer. But no one personality can be summed up in a few paragraphs, so just stick to a realistic length, mentioning only the most relevant aspects of your personality.
Tip #8: Read other profiles
If you're still not sure how to write a profile, read the profiles of others. You don't necessarily want to copy, but pay attention to the things that catch your attention. Do they include interesting anecdotes or use a lot of action words? You can check out what the competition has done as long as you don't put much stock into it, since there's no telling how successful they actually are. Ultimately, focus on writing a description that will attract the type of people you will click with.
If you don't have the time or the energy to come up with a profile that's remarkable, at least be impactful - especially in the first couple of sentences, and don't forget to balance it out with great pictures.
Don't get discouraged if you don't get fantastic results right away. It could take a few revisions before your profile captures your essence. The key is to get your profile up and running, instead of stalling on account of expecting perfection. You can always review your personal description at a later date adding to, or trimming, it as you see fit.
In addition to our already mentioned upcoming articles on Photo “Do’s” and “Don’ts”, also keep an eye out for how to Get Your Online Dating Profile Noticed and 'Dating Profile Faux Pas' for more great information and ideas.