In general, writing an internet dating profile is a lot like a job interview. You want to create a favorable impression of yourself without giving away unnecessary, negative information. All this, while not actually lying. For example, at a job interview you don’t want to say “I’m a compulsive neat freak who can’t stand change, all of which drives my co-workers crazy,” (even if, in my case, that’s mostly true). Instead, you would say, “I’m a type A personality who is highly organized and works well in a structured environment.” See, doesn’t that sound better? It’s a tricky business, and I continually see people who do it badly.
A pitfall here that is difficult to avoid if, like me, you seek to please is to avoid becoming a social chameleon. It took me a couple of years to realize that, in the interest of putting my negatives in a positive light and not offending potential dates, I was often changing the essence of who I was to mirror the person I was with. This will never lead to the necessary “spark” required by all successful relationships because it’s based on a false pretense. So be yourself, just maybe don’t give all of yourself away right up front. They don’t need to know that you collect Christmas Barbies in your profile narrative—save that for later, much, much later. And in my defense, I’ve heard they can be a really good investment.
To begin with, you need a headline that goes next to your picture. This is the first thing prospective dates see, and I have seen some hideous ones. Even if your first and only reason for dating is finding a rich husband, don’t make your headline, “I want a sugar daddy.” I use that as an example because I saw it—no kidding. Make the headline something that is catchy but is the essence of who you are and what you want. You also need a screen name or identifier that is your “name” for internet dating on love.com. Use common sense here too.
I have to stop for a minute here and emphasize what is perhaps the most important thing of all. In all of these long years, talking to both men and women who are out there in the internet dating scene, the one thing I hear more than anything else as a criticism of people’s profiles is that they contain spelling and/or grammar errors. There is no excuse for this. Run spell/grammar check. Have someone proofread. It makes you look unintelligent. So unless that’s the type of person you want to attract, avoid this at all costs.
Your narrative section is where you have an opportunity to let your personality show through. It is a little bit hard to write. I have written and re-written mine lots of times, and I encourage this. For one thing, every time you re-write or edit your profile, it gets moved to some cosmic “higher order” in the love.com scheme of things so that people see it first. That’s good, right? Also, you change and evolve even in a relatively short period of time. And once you see the fruitcakes who are out there, you’ll definitely want to refine your search. Don’t worry, though, it’s worth it!
Now, I have noticed that sometimes people’s narrative profiles tend to sound pretty negative, and I think that is off-putting to most. Another thing that tends to be difficult to read is when a person puts themselves down. One profile I read said (and I am sorry to say that I went on a date with this guy) “I am sure I have some good qualities but I just haven’t found very many of them yet.” Keep it light, and remember to put your negatives in a positive way.
Upcoming Topics: It’s OK to be Picky in Internet Dating; Answering Questions for your Online Dating Profile
copyright © 2009 Tiia Jones