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How to Write a Personal Ad

Updated on September 2, 2012
Looking to add some spark to your life?
Looking to add some spark to your life? | Source

Selecting the Right Venue for Your Personal Ad

One of the first things to consider is what venue you'd like to use for your personal ad.

Do you want to write a personal ad and post it on a website such as You could do that for free but be sure to understand that anyone can post or respond on Craigslist without much “filtering” of the ads, so please be cautious.

There are plenty of online dating sites to choose from. Many do charge a fee to join but a lot of them offer free trials as well.

Maybe you’d like to place a personal ad in your local newspaper in an attempt to meet someone who lives close to you and avoid wasting time meeting people that live long distance.

Keep in mind that print ads typically have a much shorter “shelf life” than those created online. In addition, the space allotment for a newspaper ad will usually be much smaller than the information you can provide with an online ad.

Whatever venue you choose, be sure to do your homework to make sure that it is safe, reputable, and you are not wasting your time or money.

So, have you . . .

ever placed a personal ad for yourself before?

See results

Marketing Yourself through a Personal Profile

Relationships of every possible type have begun by placing a personal ad in print publications or online websites. Writing a personal ad is a way for you to market yourself. It is your opportunity to let others know what you are all about.

With online dating sites, many will give you a template where you answer questions that will be converted into your personal ad. Others may ask you to complete a survey. These tools will make writing your personal ad much easier.

What are you looking for?

Personal ads are often broken down into categories that specify what you are looking for, such as:

  • Women seeking men
  • Men seeking women
  • Women seeking women
  • Men seeking men
  • Just friends

Acronyms Used in Personal Ads / Dating Profiles

Many people use acronyms (abbreviations) when writing or responding to personal ads. You may be surprised at some you've never heard of.

Also Known As
Big Beautiful Woman
DDF or D/D Free
Drug & Disease Free
Date of Birth
Down to Earth
Face to Face
Financially Stable
Female to Male Transgender
For Your Information
Gay Black Male
Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgendered
Good Sense of Humor
Gay White Male
Height/Weight Proportionate
In Real Life
In Search Of
Light Drinker
Long Distance Relationship
Light Smoker or Legally Separated
Married But Available
Married Black Couple
Marriage Minded
Men Seeking Men
Men Seeken Women
Male to Female Transgendered
Married White Couple
Native American
Never Been Married
Non Drinker or No Drugs
No Kids
Non Smoker
Professional or Petite
Public Display of Affection
Single Black Female
Single Black Male
Social Drinker
Similar Interests
Significant Other
Sense of Humor
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Single White Female
Single White Male
Tender Loving Care
Very Bad Date
Very Good Looking
White or Widowed
Will Answer All
Would Like To Meet
Willing To Relocate
Years Old
Compiled by Sharyn's Slant

Main Things To Include When Writing Your Personal Ad or Profile

Age and Race

  • Tell your age or at least include something like “30-ish,” or “late 40's” ~ some descriptor that gives the reader a close idea of your age.
  • Knowing the race of the person is important to many people. By adding this, you may eliminate wasting time on those who may not be interested.

Height, Weight and Body Type

  • Be honest with your height. It’s not like you can hide it if you meet in person.
  • You also cannot hide your weight if you meet in person although I think fudging the truth here just a little bit is okay. But seriously, do not say that you weigh 185 when you really weigh 310.
  • When it comes to body type, it is not necessary to include this information although it does appear that this is a major factor for some people. If you do not include it, you may get asked the question later.

Hair and Eye Color

Of course, include your hair and eye color.


This is a personal preference. If it matters to you that someone knows your religion or that you find someone who practices the same religion, then definitely mention it.


Others like to know what you do for a living or that you are currently in college.


This is another personal preference. If you really want others to know you worked hard and obtained a specific degree, then mention it.

On the other hand, if you did not graduate from high school or maybe you have a G.E.D. but never pursued a higher education, you might consider just leaving this part out for now.

Smoking Preference

If you do not smoke and/or you specifically do not want to meet others that smoke, definitely mention this. If you do smoke and/or do not mind that others smoke, mention this as well.

Humor vs. Sarcasm

Using humor within your personal ad can be funny, charming and attractive if not overdone. But be sure to not cross the line over to sarcasm or just plain stupidity.

Wording that is negative or depreciates you, or anyone for that matter, will likely turn the reader away.

Keyword SEO

When placing an online personal ad, be aware that search engines will find you via the keywords that you use. Therefore, a longer profile is more search friendly.

Write Enough Additional Information to Pique Their Interest

It’s important that you give your ad a little personal touch. Consider answering the following questions to include in your personal ad to pique the reader’s interest.

  • What are your hobbies?
  • What activities to you enjoy?
  • Do you like to travel?
  • Do you like to cook?
  • What type of music do you enjoy?
  • Do you have a nickname?
  • Do you have any major pet peeves?
  • What are you hoping to obtain by posting this personal ad?
  • Do you have children or want to have children?
  • What are you looking for in the person reading your ad?
  • Do you enjoy going out to movies?
  • Do you enjoy staying home?
  • Do you have pets?
  • What are your future goals?

To Include or Not to Include a Photo of Yourself

Chances are that if you do not include a photo of yourself, your ad may be easily overlooked. Find a good, recent photo to use or ask someone to take pictures of you. Don’t go too overboard with props, etc. for your photo. Be yourself. Look how you would if you were going to meet someone in person for the first time.

Enjoy whatever sparks may come your way!
Enjoy whatever sparks may come your way! | Source

Be Yourself and Be Smart

Writing a personal ad or profile is a way for you to meet new people. Always tell the truth. Give an overview of yourself but don’t be too telling. If you really click with someone, you’ll have plenty of time to get to know each other.

Be sure to always use discretion when posting a personal ad or responding to a personal ad. If your gut tells you that something just doesn’t feel right, listen to it.

Best of luck!

This is Sharyn’s Slant


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    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Hi Cyndi ~ ha, well I do like Pina Colada's! And yes, those acronyms are something, who knew there were so many? Thanks so much for stopping by!


    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Hi Kelley ~ I'm so glad you enjoyed this. The table is so silly, isn't it. Who would have thought there are so many acronyms. Thanks for the votes and share.


    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Calhoun 5 years ago from Western NC

      If you like pina coladas and gettin' caught in the rain...hehehe. I was thinking of this song as I read. In any case, very interesting read. I had no idea about some of those acronyms. The "married but available" one was intriguing, lol. That seems like a big can of worms right there. Fun hub and thanks for sharing!

    • profile image

      kelleyward 5 years ago

      Sharyn, this is an interesting topic for a hub. Enjoyed your table! Thanks for sharing. Voted up and shared. Kelley

    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Hi Tammy ~ you did? That's cool. Glad these tips seem helpful to you. Thanks so much for your feedback!


    • tammyswallow profile image

      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      I met my hubby online years ago. Writing a profile was such a difficult thing to do. These tips are very helpful. Great hub!

    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Hey Glimmer ~ Thanks for your feedback. I know people who are doing well after meeting online also. I appreciate you stopping by.


    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Claudia Mitchell 5 years ago

      Luckily I don't have to do this, but know many people who have. I also know a couple people who have met online and married. Great hub loaded with good info and loved the acronym list!

    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Hey Kelly ~ The acronyms are so crazy, aren't they. I'm sure there are people who are MBA, ya know. I would think the WTR would mean that someone has nothing, no home, etc., ha. And I couldn't imagine using WAA, that's promising something that is too scary. What if the person comes across as "crazy." Ya definitely need to be careful. Thanks for your fun feedback!


    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Well I have never marketed myself online before but some of those acronyms crack me up. If I were anyone looking for someone - those MBA's make me laugh a little - I'd have to question the "Married but Available" that should be some weird oxymoron.

      Also the willing to relocate - freaky! I mean check this out, a girl reads an ad and says to herself hmmm....he looks cute but lives in Alaska...his photo looks good, he has all his parts. Lets start packing! (But he looks real nice ma!) haha

      And the whole WAA - thems the HO's!! hahahaha

      Really fun hub SS:)

    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Hi tillsontitan ~ ha, thanks! I too know people that have met through personal ads and have a great life together. Now I don't know people who would want a VBD but they may use the acronym when describing one though. Thanks so much for stopping by!


    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      DRBJ YW :)

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 5 years ago from south Florida

      T.Y.V.M. Thank You Very Much!

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 5 years ago from New York

      Definitely potential for matchmaking! This is great information for those wanting to go the ad route but not knowing how to start. I know a few people who have met their spouses through ads and its all worked out fine. Is there seriously anyone out there who would want a VBD?

      Voted up, useful, and interesting.

    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Paula ~ I had heard IRL that they D? He was ISO of a J woman or something. They had NK as far as I know. She told me that she hated his PDA. They didn't have SI either. But either way, she was never WTR, ya know?

    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Dr. BJ ~ ha ha, have you memorized all those acronyms yet? You are so DTE and have a great SOH.


    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 5 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      She DID find someone......he was breathing when he met her......I haven't been updated. Porr guy may be D.E.A.D. for all I know Yikes!

    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Hi Paula ~ oh gosh no, not a matchmaker here. Aren't those acronyms crazy. I actually had more that I did NOT put in, too overwhelming. I would love to go through the list and give each a different meaning. I kind of already did as I was writing, ha.

      About your girlfriend, ha, I hope she found someone and he is still breathing! Thanks dear for your feedback :)


    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Hey Michelle ~ thanks for the great feedback. I agree!!! And you have been blessed through a personal ad to have found Michael, and he's been blessed right back. I've met some really great people as well, just not my "soul mate" - you lucky girl! Thanks for stopping by.


    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Hi Carol ~ Thanks for being the first to comment :) I appreciate your feedback and votes.


    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 5 years ago from south Florida

      Important information here, Sharon. If it were not for you, I might go through life without the knowledge that GSOH stands for Good Sense of Humor and LS might be Light Smoker or Legally Separated ... or even Losing Strength. :)

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 5 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Sharyn! Great job......Are you a Professional Matchmaker, my friend? If not, you should be. You've got all the right instructions for these ads! Good Grief, there is a TON of acronyms. Looks like you need a translator to read them! Oh, dear, some wise guy like yours truly, could have an incredibly FUN time giving those acronyms different meaning. HA!! What a wonderful!

      This reminded me of a girlfriend of mine, at least 30 years ago.....She had been divorced for over a year and REALLY wanted to start dating. The personal ads back then, I'm pretty sure were just printed in the classifieds, in the newspaper. So she came to my house one evening to ask me to compose a good ad for her. I was so flattered she asked me and glad to help. When I asked her what sort of guy she was interested in.....she just said, "How about this?" MAN WANTED: QUALIFICATIONS- "BREATHING."

      Yes, I know you can't imagine me hanging out with such a nut.

      This hub is the PERFECT gift for single friends! UP ++

    • profile image

      Motown2Chitown 5 years ago

      What a great hub, Sharyn! Love it. Of course, I'm a firm believer that it is possible (because I've done it) to meet lifelong friends, significant others, and eventually a soul mate through a personal ad. Be open, be honest, and demand the same from others.

      And, of course - BE SAFE!

      Great hub, chica.

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 5 years ago from Arizona

      Great informational hub for someone wanting to write an ad. I met my husband before this was common. I like your advice and ideas and I am voting up as it fills the bill.


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