in: Dating & Relationships

Accurately Portray Yourself with These Online Dating Tips

Suzanne Muller-Heinz

We tend to make a few common mistakes with online dating profiles. Avoid sending the wrong message about yourself into the Universe with these helpful tips.


The messages you communicate online—some you might not even be aware you’re communicating—are contributing to the kind of person you are attracting. Believe it or not, you may even be pushing great people away while calling in some people who are less than ideal.

How can you shift your energy to have the best chance of pulling a great relationship in your direction? I have two tips for posting great pictures and two more for creating a great profile. These suggestions will turn your online energy around instantly!

#1) Don’t write what you don’t want.

Writing about things you don’t want is counter-productive. Most of us have dated the wrong people or have been in some sort of unhealthy relationship before (in fact, it’s probably why you’re perfecting an online dating profile). But if I post “I do not want to meet someone who consumes too much alcohol and stays out drinking every night” on my profile, how does that sound? It sounds like I’m bitter and still a little jaded. Yes?

Another don’t statement I see often falls along the lines of “I don’t want someone who has a lot of drama in his or her life.” If I were reading that profile, I would assume that person causes drama and that the people around them may also be quite dramatic. I would consider this a red flag and stay far, far away.

Do say what you do want.

An example of a positive do-want statement might go something like this: I’m looking for a man who lives a healthy lifestyle and takes care of his well being. I love to sit by the fire on some evenings and have a nice glass of wine for a romantic night in.

Can you see how this communicates what I actually want versus the negative way of positioning it? The positive expression of our desires is always a more direct and productive way to invite the right people into our profiles (and ultimately, our lives).

Perhaps you have had a negative experience with a past partner and truly would like to avoid unnecessary drama, I don’t blame you. The way I’d position the opposite of “drama” is by stating something like: I’m looking for someone who has solid communication skills. My partner will be able to express their feelings in an effective manner when issues arise so we can talk through it together as a team.

Get the picture? If you look at what you need and want as a quality in someone, it’s easier to write and explain in your profile.

#2) Don’t compose a profile that is boring and/or short.

If you’re not able to write about yourself in your profile, you’re portraying a real possibility of low confidence. You’re also communicating that you may be a boring person in real life (even if you are not).

There’s a difference between arrogance and confidence. I cannot tell you how many profiles I’ve seen that read “I like skiing, hiking and biking.” That’s a snoozer. Or, “I do not know what to write about. I am not good at talking about myself.” This makes you seem like you don’t know who you are, what you offer, or who you are looking for. People only have the content of your profile to go by initially—don’t let someone pass you by because of a lack of trying.

Do expand out your profile and share the why.

Expanding your profile with your “why” not only makes your profile appear more full and thought-out, it also makes you seem more interesting.

Example for the skiers: In my free time, I love to hit the slopes a few times each winter. The views on the top of the mountains are incredible.

Maybe you’re into hiking: Hiking outdoors gets me connected to nature and the beauty in the world. I love breathing in the fresh air and taking care of my health.

Or perhaps you love biking: Biking is fun because I can go with a group, get some great exercise, and ride for miles on end.

Can you hear the difference in these examples? I call this “expanding out.” Ask yourself why you like the activity. If you’re still struggling with this, a trusted friend or a dating coach can help you. The goal is to compose a profile that sounds like the real you—full of details about what you love and what makes you “you.”

#3) Don’t take a photo of yourself in the bathroom mirror with your cell phone.

I know it’s tempting. The lighting’s decent and there’s a full mirror right there, ready to capture your best smile. Unfortunately, what you’re really communicating with this all-too-common shot is that you can’t be bothered with taking the time to get proper pictures of yourself. That, or you don’t have friends who could take a photo of you. This no-no photo says you don’t care much about how you present yourself and can seem a bit sloppy.

Is that making a good first impression and the curated image you want to show someone? Is that really the message you want to be sharing with potential dates and your future partner?

Do ask a friend, stranger, or family member to snap some photos of you.

Dress in something you feel confident in, a favorite outfit that represents the truest you. Be sure your face is visible, you’re looking toward the camera, and the photo is clear. If you wanted to ensure high-quality photos, you could even hire a professional photographer, it’s usually more affordable than you think.

The takeaway here is to take pride in your photos and appearance—it’s the first impression you give to a potential partner. Besides, we all know most people look at photos first! It sets the stage for the quality of person who will be attracted to you.

#4) Don’t post provocative photos of you in your underwear.

Pictures of you in underwear or lingerie communicate that your priority is a physical relationship only. There is a time and place for lingerie or your favorite boxer briefs, the first initial view of your profile is not that time.

We all want to feel sexy and empowered in our photos, there’s absolutely no harm in selecting a photo that communicates this to the viewer. That said, sometimes we assume if we’re “sexier” (i.e. more naked) than the other people online, we’re increasing our chances to get the guy or girl—but this method of competing is definitely not your sure fire bet. Use well-tailored clothes, confident postures, and eye contact to communicate your inner fire. Don’t undervalue yourself or overcompensate. Sexy is as sexy does.

Do consider carefully the kinds of photos you’re posting online.

Less can be more. In my opinion, trust and sex are earned. Posting a few headshots, a candid photo or two, and a full body shot that you feel good in with a big smile is plenty. The goal of your photos is to show the real you, and what you look like. You’re striving for authenticity so there are no surprises when you meet in person.

Sometimes I even posted photos that were good, but not necessarily over the top. When the men met me for the first time in real life, they almost always commented on how pleasantly surprised they were, versus disappointed. Can you see the reasoning in this?

These are just a few tips to keep you grounded and honest while building your online profile. Keep these in mind to dramatically improve the first impression you’re sending out into the world.

About the Author:

Suzanne Muller-Heinz Suzanne Muller-Heinz

Suzanne Muller-Heinz is a global Dating & Love Life Coach with a special talent for helping smart singles figure out the formula to having a tender, thoughtful and healthy relationship. She is the author of Loveable: 21 Practices For Being In A Loving & Fulfilling Relationship and one of the co-authors of the international bestselling book, Sexy Secrets to a Juicy Love Life. If you are a successful professional in every area of life except dating and love, and you hunger for a healthy love life, connect with her at Happy Living Forever.

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