Let’s face it—not many people truly enjoy the act of creating an online dating profile, nor the time it takes to churn out one of a quality that truly encompasses who you are and what you have to offer a significant other. But experts agree that it is important to put a great deal of time and thought towards how you hope to be portrayed in your online profile. After all, aside from your photo, your profile is the only real chance you have to make a good first impression.
“Photos will get your profile looked at, but your profile is going to be the deciding factor on whether or not the person reading thinks you deserve a shot,” says Eric Resnick, online dating profile writer and owner of Profile Helper. “If your profile represents you well, it might not get you the most attention, but it will get you the best attention from the most compatible matches.” On the other hand, if you misrepresent yourself in your profile, you’ll likely wind up attracting all the wrong potential suitors, which will turn into a waste of time and energy for you (and them).
To help you sharpen up your online dating profile and make it one well worth stopping by, and lingering on until a message is sent, we asked top dating experts to share the profile mistakes you should avoid.
As much as I prefer not to admit it, photos are often the number one most important element to an online dating profile—they are like your visual biography
Choosing an inappropriate photo
If you’ve posted a photo on your online dating profile, you’re halfway there (believe it or not, some people underestimate the importance of posting a photo at all!). But it’s important to choose one wisely—i.e. not one where your ex-girlfriend is very obviously cropped out or one taken three or four years ago when you were 30 pounds lighter. “As much as I prefer not to admit it, photos are often the number one most important element to an online dating profile—they are like your visual biography,” says Laurel House, dating and relationship expert and host of the Man Whisperer podcast. That’s why she recommends choosing one that’s not only flattering, but truly captures who you are and what life with you will look like.
Giving too much or too little info
There’s a sweet spot when it comes to how much information about yourself you share on your online dating profile, according to experts. If you’re too brief, you risk missing important information that might hook potential someones into reaching out to you. On the flip side of under-sharing in your profile is over-sharing. “Sharing too much detail and personal information can also be a turnoff because it make you appear ‘high maintenance’ or like you’re going to take a lot of energy,” warns Wyatt Fisher, Psy.D., clinical psychologist and marriage counselor in Boulder, Colorado. “Therefore, don’t overshare in your responses and keep answers to 50-100 words max.”
Getting into touchy topics
Sex, politics and religion are all topics of conversation that are best saved for way down the line in your relationship, should you decide to pursue one with someone you meet online. “Just like in person, it’s recommended to avoid those topics when first getting to know someone the same is true online,” says Dr. Fisher. “Statements around these topics could be misinterpreted and turn off people who may otherwise be a good match.”
Trying to be too clever or funny
A little humor is harmless, but going overboard in an attempt to sound super clever and witty is a big mistake. “If you force it, your profile will just sound like someone who is trying hard to sound funny or clever—there’s nothing clever or funny about that,” says Resnick. He’s found that the best way to sneak some humor into a profile is with an anecdote. “A funny story about your life not only brings humor to your profile, but it also helps humanize you with anyone who is reading it.”
Making spelling or grammar mistakes
Assuming that you’re looking for an intellectual, like-minded individual, consider running your online dating profile through spell check to ensure you’re not making grammatical mistakes that could turn someone who might be a great fit for you away. “When you present a dating profile with typos and careless errors, it makes you look like you aren’t putting in real effort, and it can even make you appear less intelligent,” says Resnick. “One easy fix for this is to use free online proofreading programs like Grammarly and Scribens.”
Mentioning past relationships
This one might sound like a no brainer, but more than 75 percent of online daters accidentally tell you how their last relationship ended between the lines of their profile, according to Resnick. “If someone writes about the things they don’t want in a partner, it is a safe bet that it’s because they had it in their last relationship—and the same could be said if they ask for things that are basic tenets of human decency like honesty and monogamy,” he warns. “If you have to ask for either, it’s because part of your brain is still healing from a time when you were lied to or cheated on.” He recommends looking over your profile to see if you’re telling people what you don’t want, or asking for things that you shouldn’t have to ask for. “Get rid of them because it can make your profile read like you have too much baggage to be worth the trouble,” he adds.
Positivity and optimism is addictive—and two things most people look for in a significant other. This means you should try your best not to vent about how long you’ve been online dating, or that you just got divorced on your online dating profile. “We’ve all got some baggage, but your online dating profile isn’t the place for it,” says Resnick. “Instead, focus on the things you want people to know and that you want them to have if they want to know you.”