Writing your online dating profile

It is a daunting prospect deciding what to write in an online profile. For some it probably doesn’t much matter what you say. I’ve known older professional men who only have to announce online that they are working on their profile and immediately they start attracting plenty of attention. But most of us need to make a real effort to stand out from the pack.

This requires careful thought. With my clients I use a background document I’ve put together which asks a series of questions designed to get them to think of interesting bits and pieces I can include in their profiles. I give them examples of what others have sucessfully used to prompt them to come up with interesting material.

I might ask them to tell me the stories that their family and friends might use to describe them. I’m not looking for a list of adjectives – there’s nothing entertaining about reading those. Rather I want quirky little tales like: “She’s a born organiser. Every time she goes away for a few days she’ll always leave a huge list of things she expects us all to do.”

It’s best to take a few days to do this, jotting down ideas that occur to you before you start to put the profile together. It’s very hard to just sit down and describe yourself in a thoughtful, clever way off the top of your head.

It might help to read through what the competition is doing.  Do a search of profiles in your own age group and gender and make a note of the ones that stand out as worth reading. You will be shocked by how boring most of them are, filled with clichés about walking on beaches, drinking good reds and women looking for their soul-mates. I’m not suggesting you copy other people’s ideas but use them to inspire you to think about how to present yourself.

Here are some dos and don’ts for getting that profile right.

Nail that headline – Set the tone of your profile with a catchy opening sentence that plays up your strengths. One male client happened to like curvy women so his first line, “No Twiggy for me!”, was designed to appeal to the older women who maybe on the more curvaceous side.

Walk the walk – Don’t boast of a great sense of humour. Say something funny instead.  “Save me from my cat!” was the headline I used for a woman who complained she was living alone with her cat. Or how about this cheeky line from a male profile? “I have no ulterior motives and don’t bite unless asked”.

Don’t put down online dating – You are insulting the very people you are trying to attract if you say things such as, “I don’t know what I am doing here.” Online dating is the new way of meeting people. Get used to it.

Don’t be coy – Have the courage to sell yourself in a light-hearted appealing way, rather than resorting to boring clichés such as, “My friends think I am….”

Send yourself up – Humour is a good way of putting a spin on the negatives. “No Napoleon-complex here”, worked for a short man who needed to confront stereotypes about his height. You don’t have to be brilliantly witty but something original or quirky is always refreshing. And if you are claiming to be well-educated, for heaven’s sake watch your grammar and use spell check.

No shopping lists – Women’s profiles can often be full of wants and needs, such as “I want a man who is…”. This is hardly likely to appeal to men, particularly those recovering from a failed relationship. Think not about what you want but what you have to offer

Know your target market – You need to be realistic about who’s in your reach. Playing the sugar daddy or sexy cougar might sound like fun but including this fantasy in your profile risks putting off partners you are more likely to attract.




Read Bettina’s bio here.

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