Look for these three profile components while you browse to make your online search both meaningful and productive. Surprise: Photos don’t make the list.
One of my guilty pleasures is looking at beach houses for sale on realtor.com. Sometimes I get so captivated with this I can check the time after “a few minutes” and discover two hours have gone by and it’s now the middle of the night.
Why? It’s the “shiny thing” syndrome. Look at that cute beach house—oh and there’s another, and another, and another—and before you know it, I’m falling asleep, still wanting to move on to my next beach town inquiry because the photos are so ah-ma-zing.
So, yes, I want to live at the beach in the future. Do I know what kind of situation that looks like? No. Do I know what my goals are around it? Not yet. Do I have any idea how that will support my life’s values? Sort of.
Clearly I have some work to do in order to turn my “shiny thing” habit into a useful, productive exercise.
What does this have to do with online dating? Everything!
How many times have you—and I—wasted away hours looking at photos supporting our desire to follow “shiny things”? Too many times to count, I’m sure! It wasn’t until I posted a profile with intention that I began to look at other profiles with intention. And although I met my husband online, I have to admit, it was a near miss. Why? Because his profile was weak and had I stumbled across him (rather than him reaching out to me), I would have kept on going.
So what are key points to look for in order to make your online search meaningful and productive? These are my top three important components to look for in a dating profile that are worthy of the deep dive:
1. What kind of relationship—if any at all—is the person seeking?
There are so many kinds of relationships, it’s important to know that the kind they’re seeking aligns with what you’re after too.
If a profile lists how a person likes to spend time, hobbies, career, and other “About Me” information, but neglects to include the kind of relationship they’re hoping to cultivate, it doesn’t matter if you’re both ski lovers living along the Colorado front range with compatible work schedules and pets.
By now, you’ve done the work of identifying your desired relationship and whatever that looks like is fine. In fact, it’s more than fine—it’s fantastic. Now the work lies in finding the person who wants what you want and is compatible with you.
If the person’s profile doesn’t indicate the desired relationship, chances are it has yet to be identified. Why waste time on someone who isn’t clear? Instead, put your energies into someone who clearly states what they want—as long as it’s what you want too.
2. What goal-oriented statements jump out at you?
If someone is clear about their future goals, pay attention!
If you want to live in a small seaside community and that person wants to move to a big city, you might not be compatible. Look for any clues regarding moving, working, playing, having kids, or other life goals—even the smaller ones. Maybe the person wants to spend their free time training for a marathon and you want to spend yours at museums. Is this a compatible situation that’s worth the deep dig? Probably not.
3. What valuable added insights have been revealed?
Sometimes we get lazy with our profiles and assume people know what we mean.
For example, if someone is an animal person, does that mean they have a dog? Or does it translate to being a strict vegan, spending time advocating for animal rights issues? If a person likes to travel, does it indicate a desire for packaged tours and cruises? Or are they interested in independent experiences focused on ecotourism? The examples could go on and on. A lawyer could represent corporations or advocate for families trying to adopt children or both. You don’t know unless it’s stated.
Look for the explanations behind the likes and interests and never assume anything if it’s open to interpretation.
If you’re drawn to that “shiny thing” and these key areas of interest haven’t been fully revealed, it’s OK to ask. My husband didn’t reveal details about these key points, so I had to find out on my own. The important thing is that you do find out, so you know whether the “shiny thing” has the potential to turn into your kind of relationship—whatever that may be.