Writing an original online dating profile can be quite a challenge. If you’re practical-minded like me, you might be tempted to use bullet points to describe yourself – that you borrowed from a used car website:
- Female driver, rarely used.
- Good condition, sheltered at night.
- Some evidence of bumper damage.
It’s impossible to convey who you are within the confines of a few words and a few photos. At most, you can aim towards capturing your reader’s attention long enough for them to send you a message, but to do that you must engage their interest. Here are a few tips how to do precisely that:
Choosing a Username and Tagline
Your username, unlike your tagline or photo, is something that usually is unchangeable – so pick carefully. It will represent who you are throughout the site so something clever will score you points, while something raunchy will only attract the wrong type of people. Most sites also offer a Heading/Catch Phrase/Tag Line that appears in the searches to draw people into your profile. Humor often works best. It engages people by creating a reaction in their mind of laughter, a pleasure-seeking bait of wanting to laugh more if they read what else you have to say. I myself used: “We can always say we met at the supermarket“, or something quirky like: “Seeking out all the toilet paper scrunchers!”
Choosing a Photo
A lot of us introverts are camera shy but having a photo is essential for any online dating profile. In most sites, you can choose to filter people out without a photo. Whenever someone performs a search for a match, the only details that appear in the search results are your username, age, location, tagline and your photo. So what will make a person take more interest in learning more about you than any of the other 50 profiles in the search result? How attractive they find you.
Selecting a photo with someone significantly less attractive than yourself would create the perfect perceptual contrast of increasing your appeal. But for the more ethical:
- Smiling is your greatest asset. I’ve always disliked smiling in photos, I feel fake when I do. But through experience I’ve learned it makes you appear less surly and more approachable. A smile makes the viewer feel good about themselves unconsciously, as they feel they are the ones bringing you such happiness.
- Current photos are ideal. Many people use old photos of their former and more attractive selves. It’s an ingenious idea at the beginning… until you have to meet the person you’re talking with, and have to reassure them that they didn’t sleep in and arrive 20 years late for your date…
- More than one photo allows for people to get a more three-dimensional idea of what you look like in different contexts. Preferably include at least one headshot and one full body shot.
- Be original and grab peoples attention to receive higher responses. This could be perfect if you’re a bit shy and don’t want to show a picture of yourself. For example, you could put one picture up of you wearing a costume, or one where you draw a smiley face on a piece of paper and cover your face with it. These kinds of pictures will add a touch of quirky playfulness while adding a sense of mystery so that people want more.
- Details in picking the image will make all the difference. If you’re aiming at attracting geeks or nerds then photos with your glasses on or playing your favorite video games will work wonders. If you’d like an adventurer like yourself, a photo of yourself rock climbing is perfect. Also keep in mind the small things like lighting in the photo, clothes you’re wearing and even the size of your pupils. A psychology study analyzing pupil sizes discovered that we find large pupils more inviting and attractive.
You could also try to implement some seduction body language techniques in your photos, if you’re really keen.
Writing Your ‘About Me’
Show people your personality, don’t describe it. How often have I seen the same repetitive: “I love to have fun and be spontaneous!!!“, as opposed to what? Not liking to have fun? And saying you’re spontaneous makes it sound planned. Listing sports, movies, music and travel as your interests is uninteresting, most people like a certain sport, movie, song or place to go to. Also, generalizing your tastes by saying for instance “I like all kinds of music” is just a falsified cover-up to make yourself appear that you’re cultured, when in fact you’re actually dispassionate and boring. Writing: “I like to visit India because it’s such an ancient culture rich with variety, spirituality, acceptance and color” would be much more revealing of who you are. Here are some helpful hints:
- Fill out as many of the basic details as you can, the more specific the information is, the more options people will have of narrowing you down using the search filters: Wants Kids, Aries and so on.
- The opening lines are pivotal to the success of your self-bio. Just like in many writing formats, how you open your paragraphs will either hook your reader in and entice them to read further or will dull them away. It will be difficult, but craft the first sentence very carefully.
- The length should preferably be around 300 words. The internet generation is one of impatience, nobody likes reading 3-mouse-scroll-downs lengths of text. Too little text however and you’ll come across as empty, lazy, lifeless and boring. Too much and you’re obsessive, psycho and neurotic.
- Spelling is one of the pet-peeves of many. Spelling words correctly make your writing flow a lot more smoothly, as does using punctuation and new paragraphs. If your reader unconsciously feels the tension of having to decipher your spelling mistakes, then that anxiety will also influence their perception of you. Furthermore, your choice of words can change the meaning of what you want to convey entirely. “I don’t want to die alone” is a common fear. “I want someone to die with” is a suicide pact.
- Show why it is that you possess the qualities that you value. If you consider yourself caring, instead of writing that, why not share that you enjoy cooking for your parents or coaching your nephew’s soccer team?
- Mention your aspirations and passions throughout your profile. For instance: what it is you aspire to do in life, what hobbies bring you the greatest joy, what qualities you value in others. The more important things you reveal about yourself, whether favorite movie or favorite ice cream flavor, the more chances someone will read your profile and think: “wow, this person sounds so much like me“.
- Avoid negative phrasing, it makes you appear close-minded, cold and superficial. Instead of stating: “No old creepy men”, “I’d like someone around my age to be able to grow old with” sounds much warmer and positive. Instead of “No non-Christians”, “My religion plays a huge role in my life” is much more welcoming.
Consider this: what is it that makes you so worthy of being contacted when there are thousands of other fish in the search results? Be unique.
Let your readers identify with you and feel they aren’t alone in their quirks and tastes. If you leave them smiling or questioning what else there is to discover about you, your profile will be memorable. Remember to make the experience fun!