How to write a winning dating profile
7 Ways to get more dates
When it comes to online dating, a good dating profile is crucial to your success in finding the partner you want. A badly-written profile may make your ideal match pass you by without a second glance. And it may well attract all the wrong people, leaving you frustrated and disappointed by the low quality of the people you attract. This is a very common experience in online dating, but the good news is the answer is in your hands. You can fix it with these simple tips for creating a compelling profile that attracts the right people.
It sounds obvious when you say it, but creating your online profile is a marketing job. Few people approach it that way though, probably because they are uncomfortable with the idea of selling themselves.
Get over it! If you want to find the partner of your dreams, which is possibly one of the most important things you can do in your life, you’re going to to have to put a little effort into it. And it’s really not that hard. Here’s how you do it…
1 – Get the basics right
Make sure you don’t have basic spelling or grammatical errors in your profile. Everybody has spellcheck these days, so there’s no excuse, and if you’re not sure if you mean ‘their’, ‘they’re’ or ‘there’, get a friend to check. Mistakes like this make you look careless at best…
Make sure you fill in all the sections of your profile, giving as much information as possible about yourself, and the partner you are looking for. Leaving these sections empty, or leaving them to do later, is a wasted opportunity. Hit the ground running with a full profile from the beginning.
Always have a photo. It almost always starts with liking the look of each other. No photo means nothing to go on. And people who don’t have photos, often don’t have a photo for a reason. Like they shouldn’t be on there in the first place… like they’re married. It’s a red flag that will put many people off straight away.
Show your eyes in your photo. It’s ok to have a couple with sunnies on as well, if they are good photos, but you must have at least one that shows your eyes, and ideally one that shows your full body as well.
Of course choose photos that show you favourably, but don’t use anything that is deceptive, or not how you really look. Airbrushed studio photos can look great in a profile, but inevitably lead to raised expectations, and possibly disappointment when you meet in the flesh.
2 – Only have yourself in your photos
Do not have your dog in your photos. Nobody cares what your dog looks like (unless they are looking for a pet). It may be the most important thing in your life, part of you, and you need the world to see this. In which case… you’re scaring me! Sure it’s great that you’ve got a nice dog, but it’s not important at this stage. Concentrate on you.
Guys, the same goes for your cars and motorbikes. So you’ve got a nice car, so what? If they want a car, they will go to a garage, not a dating site. And you’ve heard the expression ‘big car small…’?
It’s also not a good idea to have your kids in your photos. It’s great that you’ve got them, but this is about you, not them. Of course they are important to you, and any future partner must take them into account, but worry about that later. At this point, we’re selling you, not looking for people to adopt them.
Ladies, don’t photograph yourself standing next to your hot friend (or daughter) — it won’t help you. Nor will standing next to your unattractive friend. It might make you look gorgeous by comparison, but all your partners will be thinking is ‘that’s who we’ll be hanging out with…’.
And guys, for goodness sake keep your shirts on! Have you any idea how many women complain about photos of men with their shirts off, leaning on their car/boat/motorbike? It doesn’t look good, however proud you are of your 6-pack (or however good you are at sucking your belly in). Just don’t do it, it’s ridiculous.
3 – Avoid clichés
They are boring, and the same as everybody else. Have you any idea how many people say the same things? For example:
“I’m a glass half full kind of person”
“As happy in wellies and jeans as dressed up for a night out”
“Equally at home camping or in a 5 star hotel”
“Love snuggling in front of a roaring fire with a glass of wine and a DVD”
“My friends say I am…”
“I don’t look or act my age”
Nearly 50% of profiles have one or more of these tedious clichés in. Which are things that probably apply to most people anyway.
What you’re trying to do in your profile is to stand out and be noticed. Not blend into the background, as dull and unimaginative as everybody else.
4 – ALWAYS be truthful
Never lie on your profile. Ever. Not even a little bit.
If you are seriously looking for a partner for life, ‘the one’, the last thing you want to do is to start the relationship off with a lie. Just imagine, if you find them, everything is going swimmingly, and then a few weeks down the line you have to say “I’m sorry, I wasn’t quite telling you the truth about…”. Game over, bye. And rightly so.
Many (particularly women), are tempted to knock a couple of years off their age. Their justification is that they don’t look/feel/act as old as they are, and they don’t want to be pigeonholed into an older age group when they feel younger. Well that’s true for all of us. We’re all in the same boat, so play by the rules, and be honest.
Men apparently often add a couple of inches on (their height). This is spectacularly short-sighted, as it’s obvious as soon as you stand up, and have to look up to gaze into your date’s eyes. If you do this, you lose marks for stupidity, as well as for lying.
5 – Be authentic
The only thing you can do on your profile is to be yourself. Everybody else is taken.
Let your personality shine through on your profile. And don’t try to be something you’re not.
It is a little daunting to write about yourself at first, but you don’t have to be an award-winning copywriter. Just be natural.
Talk a little bit about yourself — what you do, what you enjoy, things you are excited or passionate about, how you like to spend your time, what you’re looking for, what makes you happy, places you have been, hobbies, interests, sports, your ideal partner, etc. etc.
It’s not that hard, just write a few sentences (following those suggestions as a prompt, if you like). You don’t need to write a book about yourself, just to give a flavour of who you are. The most important thing is to be yourself, and to use your own words. They don’t have to be perfect, or clever, they just have to be you. And nobody is better than you at doing that.
When you’ve written your piece (and it really only needs to be a few sentences if that’s all you have to say), show it to your friends. Male and female. See what they have to say. They might give you some new ideas, or give you some feedback on how it comes across. There might be things that you’ve missed out, that you’d like to add. Or not, as the case may be. It’s YOUR profile, it’s up to you.
The most important question to ask your friends is “is this me?”. That’s your goal: simply to get across the unique, wonderful person that is you.
6 – Say what you DO want, not what you DON’T
It’s always better to focus on positives rather than negatives. It can be very off-putting if your profile has a long list of things you don’t want.
“I don’t want anybody who is short, overweight, too old, lazy, unfit, or illiterate”
Doesn’t sound as good as:
“I’m looking for somebody who is tall, keeps themselves in shape, and is well read and under 40”
The message is the same, but negatives are off-putting, whereas positives are welcoming.
A laundry-list of things you don’t want looks like a bit of a rant, and makes you look demanding and fussy. Which you may well be, and there’s nothing wrong with that, if that’s how you want to be, but at this stage we’re only concerned with making you look attractive. So we’ll gloss over that for now.
7 – Don’t air your baggage in your profile
We all have past experiences that shape our views. Whether or not you let them become ‘baggage’ is up to you.
If you aren’t ready for a new relationship (for example, if you’re not over your ex), then don’t start dating. Wait until you’re ready. This is crucial. If you ignore this, you are opening up yourself and others to a world of hurt, frustration, and wasted time. Don’t do it, just wait.
If you really are ready for a new relationship, then be careful your profile doesn’t give a coded message about your past or present.
“I want somebody honest” (decode: I’ve been lied to in the past, I have trust issues.)
“Looking for somebody faithful” (decode: I’ve been cheated on before, I’m not letting you out of my sight.)
“Need somebody hard working with a good job” (decode: I am skint, I’ll spend all your money.)
“I don’t want anybody argumentative” (decode: I’ve argued a lot in the past. I’m quite good at it now.)
Just watch for hidden messages in your profile. If in doubt, say less. And don’t forget to get your friends to look at your profile before you post it.
So that’s it. Follow these simple tips and you are well on the way to creating a compelling profile that will hopefully attract the right people to contact you. After that, it’s up to you! Good luck, keep an open mind, and stay positive. They are out there somewhere.
About the author
Tim Felmingham is an Emsworth based writer and blogger, writing about Internet Marketing for Small Businesses. In his spare time he sails boats, plays drums, attempts yoga, and cooks occasionally edible Chinese food.
Follow him on Twitter: @timfel