So you are ready to take the plunge into online dating and aren’t sure how to start. Perhaps you’ve had a profile up for some time and have not had any luck with it. Either way, I will be going over the do’s and don’ts of your online dating profile. Although my advice will be geared towards guys, you ladies might want to take heed as well. As you design your online dating profile, remember to keep these guidelines fresh in your mind.
This one is a no brainer, but is still commonplace in the online dating world. Perhaps you are worried about being seen by someone you know or just feel that looks shouldn’t matter. Hogwash. This screams insecurity and unwillingness to commit. Your photo isn’t merely meant to help people judge how attractive you are. Your profile photo is a sneak peek into your personality. The way you smile, where your photos were taken, even the way you comb your hair gives potential matches a glimpse into your true personality. If someone visits your profile and finds no photo there, they will feel you have something to hide. In addition, there are literally millions of profiles WITH pictures, so even the best-written profile will be overlooked without a photo. With this in mind, how can you hope to hold someone’s attention when there are millions of other daters out there who will reveal their true selves, photos and all? You need to know that leaving your photo space blank drastically reduces your appeal in the online dating world. Posting a profile picture also helps you ensure that whomever you contact will be comfortable interacting with you. When a girl has posted a few photos of herself online, getting a message from a faceless person will give her the creeps. She’s put herself out there; it’s not fair to ask her to communicate with a masked entity.
Another common problem is using photos that are 20 years old. Total douche move. So what if you are ugly? Being honest about it in your photograph speaks volumes about your character, and when she meets you for the date, she won’t be surprised. Of course you will want to use your best picture, we all do, but make it an accurate representation of yourself, and put more than one up, to show you aren’t ashamed of who you are. Oh… guys? No pictures with dolphins. Unless you train them.
Don’t Trash Online Dating
You may not be entirely convinced that online dating is cool. You may doubt that anyone worthwhile would be cruising the Internet for love. You may find the whole situation humiliating. Fine. But for the love of all that is good, don’t say so. You are doing it too, so get over yourself.
Realize that upwards of 75% of the United States have dated people they’ve met online, so if your profile starts out with phrases like “I doubt I’ll find anyone cool on here” or “I can’t believe I’ve reduced myself to this,” delete it now, jackass. The problem with this line is that you’re not considering your audience. You’ve just insulted the women looking for love, even if you were trying to be cool about it. You don’t have to defend your online dating life to your friends and family. The only people who will see this are other online daters, other people who have chosen the system, people whom you’ve just called losers by insulting the online dating pool. No one is going to look at your profile and say, “Check out this loser who can’t find a date the right way.” Keep reminding yourself: they’re there as well.
Don’t Invite People to Leave
This formula should never show up in your profile:
I’m _____, so if you have a problem with that, you can just move along.
Women are far guiltier of this than men (I’m a strong woman, I’m a big girl, I’m a night owl), but guys do it as well. By telling someone they can hit the road if they can’t deal with your quirks, you’re telling them you’re not only a flawed human being (like the rest of us); you’re also combative, and probably an asshole.
There are many things that you may need to address in your profile, but don’t be standoffish about it. Here are some examples that may require a heads up to prospective mates:
“I’m out of town 3 weeks a month.”
“I have four kids.”
“I spend my summers in a nudist colony.”
These are all good things to mention in a profile, but none of these need the big, sassy treatment. It’s the smaller things that are billed as major points of conflict. “I’m loud in public, so if you can’t deal with that . . .” “Only talk to me if you know how to treat an emotional girl.” “I have a quick temper, so if that’s a problem for you . . .”
Don’t be that person. Just be honest about who you are with no invitations for them to move on. If people have a problem, they can move along themselves.
So your last relationship didn’t go so well. Perhaps your last six relationships didn’t go so well. Even so, your online profile is not the place to discuss it. You may have some words to say to all the lying, cheating, game-playing bitches out there, but save it for the rant forum on Craigslist. On your profile, you’re trying to be charming. No one feels charmed by someone who uses phrases like “Prove that you know how to be honest” and “I don’t even know why I want a relationship anymore.” People want to date and have fun, and if you are going to trash talk all of your ex-girlfriends, then you’ve proven you will trash talk her as well.
Have the Right Attitude.
That brings me to my last point: intentions. Be open to new experiences, because you’re going to have them. You’ll meet girls who are only interested in a quick fling or casual sex, girls who want a boyfriend, and sometimes girls who already have a boyfriend.
Without fail, the girls you meet will have some kind of prepared speech about how they only signed up for online dating because their friends made them, they were drunk, it was a dare, etc… as a means of conveying to you that they aren’t taking it too seriously, and as a way to protect their heart early on. And, really, that’s the key to success with online dating; don’t take it too seriously at first. You may get a lover or a wife out of it, but no matter what, at least you will have some fun stories to tell.
Still have trepidations? Some online companies like Ghostwriting Services will write an online dating profile for you, and it will be kept strictly confidential. If you need the help, give them a ring.
Ryan Barlow is an American author and college professor. He holds a masters degree in Psychology, a Ph.D. in English Literature and is currently finishing up a Ph.D. in anthropology; with an emphasis in tribal sexuality. He currently works as a marriage counselor and writer.
For the more open minded, his rated R comedy feed can be found here.