Writing an Online Dating Profile

Crystal Schwanke
Online dating romance

You're ready to take the plunge and begin online dating, but writing your profile is intimidating. After all, your profile introduces you to a perfect stranger, taking the place of an in-person first impression. Luckily, you don't have to be Shakespeare to write a profile that shows off your impressive personality, interests and charm.

Tips for Writing Your Profile

What should you include? What should you leave out? Just how "yourself" should you be? Create your words and gather your pictures with a few tips in mind that are sure to help you write a winning profile that really reflects who you are.

Be Honest

There's nothing like reading a dating profile advertising a tall, dark and handsome stranger, only to meet his short, ugly alter-ego. You owe yourself - and your date - a profile that honestly represents who you are and who you hope you'll meet. Be truthful when you fill out your statistics, such as height, weight, occupation and marital status. This sets the foundation for a relationship that's based on trust and actual interest, and weeds out potential dates who are only interested in dating a particular "type."

Be Positive

Saying you're skeptical that the site will even work for you isn't going to bring in a flood of potential suitors. Saying you're about to give up on dating because all men are pigs or all women are gold-diggers is also not going to do much for you. Say something like, "My best friend met a really great guy on here, so I'm hoping I'll have the same type of experience with online dating."

Be Brave

With so many online dating profiles to choose from, a potential date is looking for something that catches his eye. Don't be afraid to show off what separates you from the rest, be it your unusual profession, crazy hobby or most personal ambition. Adding personal details that reveal your unique side is a great way to guarantee your profile stands out, and getting noticed is the first step towards a great date.

Be Brief

It's easy to ramble on about your desires and identity, but a dating profile isn't a novel. Put your most important "selling" qualities at the beginning of the profile where they'll get noticed, and make sure your message comes across in as few words as possible. Remember, you have your first date to get to know your potential partner. The profile is supposed to pique interest and leave your potential date wanting more.

Be Real

It's tempting to try to inflate the image you present in your profile, but nobody is looking to date a superhero. Outlandish or egotistical statements like, "I'm the greatest lover in town," may garner attention, but they won't gain lots of dates. Focus on what makes you a real, attractive person. If you do this, you can watch your dating life take off.

Things to Include in Your Profile

woman with laptop

Every dating profile should feature a few key points to help potential suitors decide if you might be a right fit for them. Make sure your profile includes a few key personal details, notes on your personality, a catchy lead-in, and a few photos of you.

Personal Details to Include

While you don't want to give very personal information in your profile, there are a few standard personal details that should be included:

  • You do want to say whether you're single, married, divorced, widowed, etc.
  • If you have kids, you may want to keep it to yourself at least until you're in a private conversation with someone to avoid contact from potential predators. You can answer whether you want kids or not, though, so you'll be matched up with someone who wants the same things in life as you do.
  • If you have strong religious or political beliefs, you may find the best matches if you go ahead and put the general information out in the open (for example, saying you're Christian/Muslim/Buddhist or a Democrat/Republican should suffice).
  • Share some of your interests, your passions, and what you like to do on dates so you'll find like-minded individuals. Say what you're looking for in a match, too, (again, don't be too specific and alienate otherwise good matches) so people who do fit your ideal match will be encouraged to respond.
  • Don't feel obligated to give your exact age, but a range is nice.
  • If you feel like your personality fits with the typical description for your zodiac sign, feel free to list it to give people a good idea of what you're like.

Writing About Your Personality

Ideally, a potential partner is looking for someone with a compatible personality, and not just great looks. That means you want to give browsers a real sense of who you are. Include a few, brief details about who you are and your personality.

  • How do your friends describe you? If you're typically a serious person, don't force jokes in because you think it'll make you cuter or more appealing. If you're a jokester, let it shine through; don't stifle yourself by pouring out the nitty gritty of who you are, and what you're looking for as if you're typing out a recipe. If you're just a "fun-loving dork" when you describe yourself to your friends or people you meet in person, say you're a fun-loving dork in your profile.
  • Don't be a caricature. Be sure to make yourself more than one-dimensional. Counterbalance the goofiness with authors you love or your greatest ambition, for example, or the fact that you love rock-climbing. If you're the serious type, lighten up your profile with something heartwarming about yourself, like your love for horses or an area in which you're adventurous, like cuisine, hiking, or travel.

Add Your Picture

You should include two types of pictures in your profile: a headshot and a full body shot. While it might be tempting to use a younger picture where you were ten pounds lighter, try to find shots that are flattering, but realistic and reflect what you look like now. Though what you look like shouldn't be the only thing people take into consideration when going through online profiles, people still have preferences and it's only fair to let them know what you look like now, not what you looked like ten years ago.

Sample Lead-ins

Your profile should include a catchy lead-in that both showcases a bit of who you are, and draws interest to your profile. If you're completely drawing a blank, you're not the only one. Lots of people freeze when it comes to talking about themselves. Close your eyes, take some deep breaths, then start again. Perhaps these will get you started:

  • I'm a brainy 20-something seeking an adventurous male between 25 and 35 to keep me on my toes.
  • Long walks on the beach are nice and all, but I want a nerdy guy who can beat me at chess in a coffee shop on a rainy Sunday afternoon.
  • Spunky ex-cheerleader looking for a man who can keep up on the hiking trails.
  • Don't worry. I won't make you go shopping with me. But I might make you watch a game or two.
  • You can still go out with the boys when you're dating me.
  • No drama. Just kisses, deep discussions, and the occasional wrestling match on the living room floor.

Profile Faux Pas

While it's true you want to give your potential date a good sense of who you are, there are some definite faux pas that you should avoid at all costs.

Don't Get Too Personal

  • Don't give any personal information. You may even want to skip mentioning your first name, but never, ever give your last name.
  • Don't list your phone number, workplace, or your address. It's safer to give a general area, like a "metro area" rather than a specific town.
  • If your email address gives any hints as to your real name, where you live, or where you work, don't give it out. Create a new one just for your online dating profile. You probably won't be broadcasting your email address on a dating profile anyway, but don't even give one out that includes any personal information to people you've been chatting with, but haven't yet met.
  • Depending on what you do, you may be wise not to even say what kind of job you have.

Don't Sound Desperate

  • Skip the visuals of wedding bells and baby carriages. No one likes desperation. Don't talk about babies and how your biological clock is ticking outside of just selecting the "wants kids" option when you fill out the profile. Don't write specifically about being eager to get married and settle down. There's nothing wrong with wanting babies or wanting to get married and settle down, but if you put that on your profile, some potential matches may run the other way out of fear that you wouldn't let the relationship naturally progress.
  • What if you don't want a fling? If you aren't interested in a short-term fling, feel free to say so. Just say you're looking for a long-term relationship, but don't necessarily say you want a ring on your finger in six months or less.

Be Ready for Anything

Ultimately, a successful online dating profile is only the first step on the road to finding the date of your dreams. Remember, online dating is really a chance to broaden your contacts and meet someone new. Realistic expectations and goals will keep your profile readable and interesting, and prepare you for the experiences ahead.

Writing an Online Dating Profile