Your Online Dating Profile: What You Should and Should Not Include
Have you been drawn in or warned off by what you’ve encountered?
Are you wondering what others think about your profile?
What kind of impression do you want to make?
Your online dating profile sends a message, lots of messages really. About who you are. How serious you are about making a connection. And how vulnerable you might be. First impressions stick with you in the real world, but in cyberspace they can last a lot longer.
It’s important to upload a profile that you don’t mind being read, re-read, shared, and screenshot again and again. If you’re really going to give “iMatchmaking” a try, put your best profile forward.
What you should definitely include in your Online Dating Profile
All the heavy hitters in the online dating world, eHarmony, Match.com, Tinder, and Plenty of Fish, have similar thoughts on what makes your online profile effective, engaging, and a safe way to seek someone special. Let’s take a look at some of the most helpful items you should include in your profile now:
1. Positive energy. Upbeat language, a warm, smiling photo, and a thread of humor throughout your profile. Use a clever username and headline that will make a reader smile or chuckle and remember you.
2. A focus on giving not receiving. In other words, share what you have to offer emotionally and relationally, rather than posting a list of expectations and qualities you feel you deserve in a relationship. Demands don’t play well and hint of future conflict before you even know each other’s real names.
3. Attention to detail. It shows you care about how you present yourself and that you take the online dating process seriously. Choose a clear, flattering, tasteful photograph. Use spell and grammar check. Research shows that a poor command of language (after all, much of this initial process is written) is frustrating and a turn off.
4. A bit of mystery. Try to strike a balance of information. Your profile should share without oversharing. Keep your profile concise but engaging. Think about the kinds of information you like knowing about someone right off the bat and divulge just enough about your interests and likes to pique interest. You needn’t tell your whole life story until you genuinely connect with someone.
What you should definitely not include in your Online Dating Profile
As you’re writing your online dating profile, remember too, that the profile serves as a buffer between you and strangers until the time is right for phone calls and first dates. Respect the purpose of the profile by not including certain information:
1. Your off-screen private life. Guard against purposely or accidentally sharing too much too soon. Your workplace, family members, neighborhood address, and daily routine are not profile information. Take a close look at your photos. What do they give away? The car you drive? The identities of your loved ones?
2. A judgmental or sheepish tone. If you feel uncomfortable or embarrassed about online dating, you may not want to post a profile just yet. Your feelings are likely to come across to the reader. You don’t want to inadvertently insult or turn off potential dates.
3. Lies, exaggerations, and pictures from five years ago. It’s not worth it. You’ll be found out pretty quickly. Besides, any interested prospects will likely look you up on other social media sites and find out what you’re really about. If you’re really looking for love, you don’t want to start with lies. At the very least, you’ll come off looking insecure or generally deceptive.
4. Whining, complaining, and venting. Keep your profile positive and forward moving. Stay focused on what you have to offer someone new, not the bitter end of a past relationship. Avoid soapbox statements about what’s wrong with men or women. Profile readers tend to skip tension and pessimism.
5. Overt Sexuality. Your profile is not the right place to go into sexual history, extend sexual invitations, or post sexual photos. Leave more to the imagination. Overt sexuality will attract attention, but your inbox could be filled with people who aren’t really interested in getting to know you for the right reasons.
Deciding what you should and shouldn’t post is a delicate balance of friendliness, positivity, curiosity, and personal safety. Your photo matters. Your word choice matters. Your profile should not give away too much information but still allow your ability to have some fun with this process shine through. You can do it. Good people are waiting to get to know you. Enjoy!
Robert Menuet, LCSW, is a therapist who practices in the Greater New Orleans, Louisiana, metropolitan area. He specializes in Marriage Counseling, Couples Therapy, Relationship Therapy for Singles, Couples Therapy For One, and he consults and treats couples who work together in family business. He has 34 years of experience and has been trained in couples therapy and mediation at the Washington School of Psychiatry and Loyola University College of Law.