Whether you’re creating your first online dating profile or this is your third, fourth, or twentieth version — it can be a daunting process.
To start, you’re tasked with presenting yourself in a way that highlights how wonderful you are without sounding stuck up (or desperate). Then, you need to find a way to tactfully steer clear of potential partners who are so not your type.
The whole process can leave you wondering if it’s even worth it. The good news is that it probably really is worth the hassle, especially if you’re looking for something long-term. According to The Knot 2019 Jewelry and Engagement Study, the top way for couples to meet is online, and 22% of relationships not only begin online but also lead to an engagement.
You might be wondering — why not just wait until you meet someone in a bar or, more romantically, in the produce section as you both choose which cantaloupe is just ripe enough? Well, people who date online are typically intentional about what they want. They actually want to have a relationship, while that guy or gal in the produce section might really just be standing there too long because it’s hard to tell when a cantaloupe is ripe.
Plus, with online dating, you can swipe left on people who you know are not what you’re looking for. That way, you can immediately weed out suitors who you know won’t be a good fit.
However, online dating profiles take effort. Even though you may have gotten away with spicy AIM away messages back in the day, a quick Britney quote and a bunch of emojis just won’t cut it.
Putting in a little extra effort into your profile is key — but it’s not rocket science. Here are a few tips to get you started.
Step 1: The Photos
Let’s face it — we live in a fairly superficial world. That’s not a dig at society, it’s just how it is. With apps that have you swipe left and right after simply viewing a person’s image and maybe a small blurb about them, we’re committed to this reality in full force.
Whether you like it or not, the photos you put on your profile are crucial, and it’s worth the time to choose ones that will get the attention of users who you might truly click with.
Choose photos that actually reflect who you are.
Online dating profiles don’t usually scream variety. From shirtless poses to puppy snuggles to the ever-popular mountaintop photo, there are plenty of pics that won’t exactly make you stand out.
That’s not to say you can’t use the photo of when you hiked Macchu Picchu or a selfie of you and your fluffy friend. What you should do, however, is make sure that these images actually reflect your interests and personality.
After all, there’s nothing worse than finding out that the cute puppy featured in a pic actually isn’t theirs, or, despite their array of travel photos, they actually don’t enjoy leaving their hometown — or their couch, for that matter.
Choose pictures that show who you really are, like playing a sport, having fun with friends, or graduating with your degree. And if you really do love traveling, make that Macchu Picchu pic front and center.
Take the time to find — or take — quality photos.
Thanks to our phones, we nearly always a camera ready to capture anything and everything. This means you have no excuse to use a photo on your profile that’s grainy, far away, or displays you and about 80 other people.
Find a photo that makes you look good and focuses on you. Studies show that the top things to avoid in your online dating profile photo are:
- Wearing sunglasses
- Snapchat filters
- People that are — or could be mistaken for — your significant other
On the flip side, there are things you should be sure to do, like smile and ensure your hair looks nice. Also, choose at least a couple snapshots in which you’re either alone or at least the focus.
Step 2: The Profile
Now to the crux of the online dating profile — the bio. While your pics are what will attract a potential match, your profile is what will keep them around. A profile with a strong bio is a sure-fire way to set yourself up for success.
Aim for quality over quantity.
No one wants to read your life story, so don’t make them. Get to the essence of who you are as quickly as possible, and don’t feel the need to fill up all of the available space.
If you don’t have a ton of room, go for something quick and pithy like, “Grade school teacher. Avid traveler (fav trip so far: Patagonia). Former dancer. Lover of all animals, especially my chocolate lab, Luna.”
If you have a little more space, use what you need. Some experts say the best formula is three short paragraphs — two that focus on you, and one about what you are looking for.
Adopt a tone that reflects what you’re looking for.
While starting with a disclaimer like “Don’t message me if you’re not looking for something serious” can bit a bit of a turnoff, it’s still important to craft your bio to show what you really want. Otherwise, you may end up getting messages from people who have a very different idea of what comes next.
While the occasional reference to going out is fine, use your profile to reflect what’s important to you. If you’re looking for someone who values their career as much as you, highlight why your job is such a big part of your life. If you need someone who is open to adventure, talk about your recent trip abroad or post pics of when you went skydiving.
Stay positive, but give potential matches something to go off if they do decide to reach out.
Have some fun with it.
Use your bio to stand out. Rather than relying on clichés like “I don’t really know what to write” or “I love to travel,” say something that people will remember.
Don’t just say you love to travel — give a few details about your favorite trip. Instead of calling yourself a sports fanatic, talk about that time you saw your team win a big game.
And don’t forget to have fun with your profile. Pose a challenge like, “Can beat anyone at Mario Kart!” or “Hands down best trivia partner you’ll ever have.” That way, people can follow up on those challenges and engage in conversation right off the bat.
Craft Your Online Dating Profile With Purpose
Whether you’re at a bar, at the store, or at a coffee shop, flirting requires you to think on your feet. The beauty of an online dating profile is that you can take the time to ensure you come off as the catch that you are — and attract matches who you’ll actually enjoy talking to.
Take the time to make your profile shine. With quality pics, a witty bio, and above all, an open mindset, you can access everyone online dating has to offer.
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Natalie is a healthcare content writer, dog mom, and former online dater. She met her now-husband on a dating app, and they live together in Chicago.