One New Year’s Day, some friends and I were driving back home from a trip when we decided to help create a dating profile for the friend who was driving. She’d been single for most of her life and had had it up to here (I type as I put my hand above my head). She said it was time for her to try online dating, so she talked while we typed up her profile and uploaded some photos.
We made some edits, made some more edits, and then made even more edits — you can never edit too much. Soon we had a profile she was super happy with. Filling out your profile is probably the hardest part of online dating, but it quite literally has to be done when you join a dating site. You don’t have to be a trained writer to have an appealing profile — you just need to follow a few tips. We’ve got seven that should make the profile writing process less stressful and, hopefully, even enjoyable.
1. Use the “Right” Words in Your Username & Bio
By “right” words, we mean words that have been backed by studies that show they attract people. For example, research conducted by eHarmony found some of the best words men can use in their online profiles include physically fit, intelligent, and funny. For women, some of the best words they can use are outgoing, passionate, and happy.
You could try incorporating some of the study’s words in your username, dating profile headline, and bio. Of course, if these words don’t apply to you, don’t use them. We’re not trying to promote lying — it’s always better to be honest.
This isn’t a rule, but think about incorporating some words into your profile that studies have proven attract singles online.
eHarmony also says that there are some words that might be worth avoiding — like sweet, energetic, and modest for men and good listener, rational, and dependable for women. This isn’t a hard-and-fast rule — take it with a grain of salt. We’re just trying to get you to think carefully about your word choice and how you describe yourself.
2. Keep It Relatively Short, But Be Specific About Yourself
It only takes about one-tenth of a second for someone to form an opinion about another person, according to Psychological Science. When you’re online dating, you want to grab a potential match’s attention immediately, but you also want to maintain it. It’s important to share information about yourself in a way that’s easily digestible — your dating profile shouldn’t feel like a Tolkien novel.
3. Portraits, Action Shots, Pet Photos — Post a Variety
Repeat after me: Bathroom selfies have no place in a dating profile. We also suggest not using photos that are blurry, dark, blocking your face, heavily photoshopped, or that are of you with a group (how will people know which one you are?). Online daters will look at your photos before anything else, so they’ve got to be good and varied.
Adding a couple of pictures of you in the same place and/or outfit won’t do you any good.
Think about who you really are and what you like to do, and try to get that across with your photos. If you’ve been skydiving, post a photo of that. If you have a dog, post a photo of you with him or her. If you have a nice-looking portrait-style photo, post that. You also want to post at least one full-body photo because people may think you have something to hide if you don’t.
Basically, the key is to add as many different kinds of pictures to your profile as you can, so people can get an idea of what you like to do. In this article, we provide numerous examples of the best dating profile photos.
4. 70% Should Be About Who You Are & 30% About What You Like
A dating profile is for accomplishing two things: telling people about yourself as well as what you’re looking for in a date or partner. For a majority of it, you want to talk about your career, hobbies, personality, appearance, and lifestyle habits. For the rest, you want to talk about your dating preferences. We’d say a 70/30 balance is about right.
Just keep an eye on your tone — you don’t want to come off as cocky when you’re talking about yourself, and you don’t want to come off as picky when you’re talking about what you’re attracted to. There’s a difference between saying you’re the hardest worker at your company vs. saying you value putting in your all and appreciate when you’re recognized at the office. And there’s a difference between saying you want to be with someone who’s in shape vs. saying you want to be with someone who values leading an active, healthy lifestyle.
5. Leave Negative Nancy/Nathan at the Door
I hate saying someone’s a Negative Nancy because it leaves out the men, so I like to give equal attention to both genders by saying someone is a Negative Nancy/Nathan. Anyway, my point is positivity is one of the most irresistible qualities a person can possess, and being positive in your dating profile will make people want to get to know more about you.
There’s no room for a Negative Nancy/Nathan, Debbie/Derek Downer, or Sour Sally/Sam in online dating, so keep your profile upbeat.
I’ll admit that I’m a pretty pessimistic person, and, if you are, too, I don’t want you to be someone you’re not. However, there’s a time and a place for negativity, and this isn’t one of them. When you’re writing your profile — and even when you’re messaging with matches, refrain from complaining about dating, your particular dating life, breakups you’ve gone through, and the like.
A go-to tip our experts like to share is to look at other people’s profiles, and make a mental note of what you like and don’t like about them. Ask yourself how someone conveyed their positivity and how you can do something similar. Was it a statement about their excitement for online dating, a kind word about their friends and family, a sentence about their individual passion, or something like that? It’s OK to borrow inspiration from other profiles!
6. Whatever Kind of Humor You Have, Let It Shine Through
We mentioned earlier that funny is one of the best words you could use in your dating profile, and it doesn’t have to be the typical kind of funny. Figure out what your kind of humor is — whether it be sarcasm, dry wit, observational, or what have you — and integrate it into your profile. You could use a quote from one of your favorite comedy movies or shows, post a photo or a GIF that reflects your personality, or share a quick story about something funny and/or embarrassing that happened to you.
7. For the Love of Hemingway, Check Your Grammar & Spelling
Spelling mistakes and using improper grammar is the number one worst thing you can do in your dating profile, especially if you’re a guy. In fact, Grammarly, a writing-enhancement platform, says men with just two typos in their profiles are 14% less likely to receive a positive response from women than are men who don’t have any typos in their profiles.
Don’t let Ernest Hemingway, your future dates, and yourself down — double-check your dating profile for grammar errors and typos. Never post the first draft!
It’s worth taking some time to double-, triple-, and quadruple-check your profile before posting it. If you’re not the best at writing or editing, have a family member, friend, or coworker who is look it over. You can also use a grammar and spell-check tool — there are a lot of free ones out there, including Grammarly, Scribens, Ginger software, and the aptly named Hemingway app.
If You’re in Need of Dating Profile Help, We’re Coming to the Rescue!
Ever since my friend took the leap into online dating and we helped her fill out her profile, she’s been on tons of dates and is finally satisfied with her dating life. Most importantly, she’s learned some lessons that she can use throughout her online dating experience — lessons our experts hope to pass on to you, too. The final tip is to just start writing!
As the editor-in-chief of DatingAdvice.com, I oversee content strategy, social media engagement, and media opportunities. When I’m not writing about cheese or my 19-year love affair with Leonardo DiCaprio, I’m listening to The Beatles, watching Harry Potter reruns (I’m a proud Slytherin!), or drinking IPAs.