Hold up! If you’re in the midst of creating your online profile (or need to update your existing one), you need to read this FIRST. You’ll be happy you did.
Online dating has gone from an embarrassing prospect to a completely normal way to meet people in this technological age. While the “hook-up culture” seems to be on the rise, there are plenty of people out there using the online medium to search for someone to share their lives with.
I’ve spent a great deal of time on five major dating sites going through men’s profiles to see what works and what doesn’t. I’ve also talked with a number of single women about what they’re looking for in a potential date. If you’re one of the millions of men genuinely looking for a long-term relationship and/or love, I have a few suggestions for putting together a rockin’ profile that will merit you more high-compatibility connections.
**Note: I’ve included some real-world examples from actual dating profiles I’ve come across, with permission from the men who wrote them.
Put some time and thought into your ‘About Me’ section.
Listen, it’s always difficult to write about yourself. You don’t know what to say, you don’t want it to come off wrong, you don’t want to give TOO much away. I get it. However, filling out your profile with “Just ask” is always a bad idea.
I want to know about you, who you are, what you’re into. I want to see that you’re putting the same time and effort into finding a good fit as I am. Every single profile I come across that says something along the lines of, “I’d rather talk about this in person,” is a profile I click right through. You can’t get to the talking-in-person stage if you aren’t willing to engage at the outset.
Great-Profile Example: “I have a goofy and quirky sense of humor, but I’m also fascinated by science, nature, the interactions and relationships between people and enjoy having a good time. I love sports, art, science, technology, movies, and music (most types).”
Talk about why you’re unique.
Everyone likes to go out, but also stay in. Everyone wants to find someone with a sense of humor. If I see the words “partner in crime” one more time I may literally sob. Think about it. If you’re actually just like every other man on the site, what is my motivation to send you a message—especially if the last guy I dated was a giant jerk?
Be specific. Talk about your passion—whether that’s Star Wars or skydiving. Don’t say you’re funny, show it by telling a joke or infusing your profile with a little light sarcasm (not mean sarcasm… never mean sarcasm.) Talk about what your perfect Sunday looks like, someplace cool that you’ve traveled, how you like to fix up vintage motorcycles because they remind you of your grandfather…something. Show off your personality.
And don’t forget to spell-check!
Great-Profile Example: “I’m into baseball, but I watch football too. You don’t have to be into sports, but it might help understand me a little better. I believe there should be laws against fake turf and the DH in MLB ball. If you don’t know what that means, it’s not a deal-breaker. We’ll just have to find other things to discuss.”
Never, ever go negative.
I want this to be very clear, your dating profile is not the place to air grievances. Please don’t talk about why you hate your ex, how no one ever messages you back, your sad-sack story about why you’re still living in your mom’s basement. Just don’t.
Along the same lines, please do not mention how you’re “Not into drama/lies/games.” Stop and think about this: do you think there are women out there saying, “Well sh*t. I’m a total drama queen liar who loves stringing men along, I guess I’d better not message this guy!” No one is this self-aware, especially not drama queen liars who like game-playing. You’re accomplishing nothing by adding this to your profile, except introducing negativity and insecurity.
Keep your profile upbeat and positive (extra points if you can make the woman looking at your profile feel special).
Great-Profile Example: “I am looking for a beautiful, smart, mature, funny and in all other ways extraordinary woman.”
Include a couple well-lit good photos of yourself.
If you don’t have any, take some. Have a buddy take a picture of you in front of a concert venue/sports game. Learn the art of a decent selfie. Look at the camera. Smile. For god’s sake, if you have a picture of you in a suit (that isn’t from your prom or your wedding—don’t laugh, I’ve seen both), include it!
Please, I’m begging you, do not fill your picture slots with your seven dogs, your truck, or selfies taken half-naked in the locker room mirror. Please take down the pictures of you with ten gorgeous women in bikinis. To you, those pictures are saying, “Look how hot I am, all these gorgeous women want me.” Women, however, are thinking, “I have to compete with that? No thanks.” or, alternately, “Gross, he’s a total player.”
Send engaging messages.
It’s super-difficult to figure out what to say in an initial message to a potential match. You’re concerned about first impressions, you don’t want to sound stupid, etc. The best way to approach the message is to go over her profile and talk about something in it. She likes skiing—wow!—so do you! Tell her about that cool ski trip you took a year ago. She’s into country music? Talk about your favorite band and ask her who she likes.
If you think she’s beautiful, it’s okay to say that, but also add some substance. Get her talking. And, if you’re hitting it off after 5-10 messages back and forth, ask her out. Don’t get caught in a never-ending message loop.
Great-Profile Example: “You and I should get together for dinner and conversation. I need your kind of intelligence in my life.”
With a few small tweaks your profile can shine, and you’ll be on your way to finding the love of your life.
This article was originally published with the Good Men Project; republished with the kindest permission.
About the Author
Kasey Ferris is a freelance writer currently querying her first novel and “writing” (read: eating Oreos, downing coffee, and re-evaluating her life’s choices) her second. She’s a mother of five and can frequently be found writing about parenting, relationships, divorce, and women’s issues. You can find her on Facebook and the Huffington Post.