This is the third post in my Geek’s Guide to Online Dating series. We’ve already talked about your profile picture and choosing a username. So today I’m going to get down to the gritty details of filling out your profile.
My online dating profile has undergone a number of makeovers in the last year. As I’ve discovered what works and doesn’t work for me, I’ve polished and updated my profile accordingly. In it’s current incarnation, my profile is witty, honest and somewhat detailed. Just the way I believe it should be. Everyone has a different idea about what makes a good online dating profile, just like everyone is looking for something different in a date. So my suggestions aren’t a definitive guide.
Be honest about what you want…and what you don’t want.
I found that my online dating game jumped up a notch when I got brutally honest about what I was looking for. My profile mentions things like the fact that I’m open to long-distance as long as the other person is willing to share the responsibility of travel. Or my desire to find someone relatively introverted who is OK with not going out all the time. I also mention that I’m not interested in casual sex, and that even though I’m bisexual I’m not interested in playing the special guest star in your three-way.
Once I got honest about what I wanted, the replies I got were a lot more selective and much more suited to my tastes. Sure, I still got the occasional dickhead writing to ask for pictures of my boobs, but they became less frequent.
Here’s the deal: it doesn’t really matter what you’re looking for, but it’s much better if you’re honest about it. I don’t mind if you’re looking for a hookup, or you want to get married, or you are exclusively interested in women who are experts at Fallout. But actually saying “I want X, I don’t want Y” gives the person reading your profile a better idea of what you’re after and whether it’s worth getting in touch with you. It saves everyone time and you’re less likely to go on a bunch of mismatched dates.
Be wordy, but not too wordy.
There’s a fine line to tread when it comes to the length of your profile. You don’t want it to be too sparse, or you won’t generate any interest. But on the other hand, if you write an essay that’s roughly the length of War and Peace, nobody is going to slog through it all.
You want to write in enough detail that you give the person reading a snapshot of who you are and what you like. I tend to click away immediately when I see a profile that has only answered the bare minimum questions, because I have no idea about the person who wrote it. They could be the most interesting, hilarious person ever, but how would I know because there’s no hint of that on their profile?
When filling out your profile, make sure you provide some details, but keep it on the succinct side. Always leave the reader wanting more. After all, if you tell them everything, there’s no reason for them to want to get to know you further.
Include a secret code (wink wink!)
There’s always the danger that you’ll be contacted by someone who has just seen your profile picture, thought you were cute and hasn’t read your profile at all. If you’re cool with that, then you don’t need to worry. But if you want to be sure that people have actually read your profile, then you can weave in a little insurance policy. I’ve seen profiles that say “please message me with the following phrase to show you’ve read my profile” or ask you to answer a particular question in your message. These aren’t foolproof, but the secret code method helps to weed out those who have actually taken the time to check out your profile.
Your time to shine.
You need to make sure that your profile has a sparkle to it, something that sets it apart from everyone else. So how do you do that? Well, for starters, don’t write the obvious. Sure, you like music, pizza and movies. Who doesn’t? Stand out from the pack with original answers. Talk about the band that changed your life or your ability to whip up the best fettuccine carbonara in the galaxy. Talk about your love for 80’s television. Highlight the things that make you YOU. Those things might not seem like the coolest or trendiest, but that’s a good thing. There just might be an awesome person out there who gets pumped to find out that there’s another person on the planet who enjoys watching Biodome. It’s those silly quirks that stand out, so let your geekery shine brightly to lead your date to you.
Do you have any other tips that I’ve forgotten? What do you think makes a good online dating profile.