Online Dating - How to Write a Great Profile
Online dating can be a great way to find a new partner, start a relationship or just have some adult fun. But it's not all plain sailing. Usually the first thing anyone sees when they're searching a dating site are photos of possible partners, hundreds, maybe thousands of them. Attached to each of those photos should be written profile, and if your photo sparks some interest, it's your this bit they'll go to next. Unfortunately, a lot of people think what they write doesn't matter, that it's just a bit of nonsense and doesn't require much thought, but your profile is what tells everyone what it is you've got (or put another way - what it is you're selling).
Don't be in any doubt - without an appealing profile, you won't draw much attention, and the 'buyers' will very quickly move on to the next photo.
What exactly is a personal profile and how do I get one?
When you find an online dating site that you like, the next step is to fill in a few details about yourself. Most dating sites call this your personal profile. This is simply information about you – who you are, what sort of person you are and what you are looking for.
The first stage in creating a profile is to provide a verifiable email address. Verifiable means that it can be checked to see if it is a real (ie working) email address, and to confirm that it doesn’t belong to someone else. Dating sites do this by sending an email to the email address you provide, with a link back to their site. By checking your email and following their link, you verify your email address and confirm your account with the dating site.
Do I need an email account?
To register with any online dating site, you will need your own email account. From experience, I know it's very easy to end up getting a shedload of spam that most of us would prefer not to deal with, so I recommend setting up a new email account to use just for your dating emails. This makes it easier to keep things separate from your personal correspondence. It's also sensible to use a new one if your usual email address has your name, or part of your name, in it - eg firstname.lastname@example.org, or Harrysteptoe@gmail.com.
Setting up a new email address is relatively easy and in most cases you won’t need to come up with anything more than a name, a password and a security question. A few email providers will ask that your email be linked to your real address and real name. Most however, do not have these requirements.
As I've already said, it's a good idea not to use your real name on your profile, including in your email address. This might seem odd, but at some point you're going to be giving out your email to potential partners and until you've actually met them (and established they’re not mass murderers, psychos or simply not the right person for you), it’s safer to keep personal information to a minimum.
Remember too that if you do create a new email account, this will also say something about you. For instance, what impressions might you get from the following?
Creating a Profile
So now you’re ready to start writing your profile - right? Stop! It’s very easy to write a complete pile of crap in your eagerness to get started. So...slow down.
Take a look at the online form on the dating site you're interested in and think about what you might like to write. These forms come in all shapes and sizes – some are short and sweet, others are quite lengthy and can easily take an hour or more to complete.
Skip / Don't skip
Sometimes you can skip through the various stages and get a good idea of the different sections first. Others must be completed before you can move on to the next section. Some sites use a questionnaire format, many have a tick-box set-up, or a simple blank space and a limited amount of characters. If you decide to leave some sections to later - Don't Forget to come back and finish them!
It's easy to use this exercise as a therapy session, but this is not the place. Keep well away from phrases like:
- I’ve been alone for years and am desperate for a bit of company…
- I’ve had a hard life and I don’t get on with people very well...
- I'd love to have someone to listen to my problems...
Start in the middle
Many successful novelists scrap their initial opening lines and start at the bit where the story begins to get interesting. Cross out beginnings that sounds like:
- Well, my friends say I’m…
- I don’t know what to write for this bit…
- I hate filling these things in…
- I'm just a crazy sort of gal!
Try to avoid making excuses to get out of doing it. If you have to, set a time when you can sit down and think about it. Consider all those things you are good at, take pride in, and can boast about. Also, think about what it is you're looking for. Make lists, prioritise, draw pictures if you like, but spend the time you need to make a good job of it.
What if I don't have a good photo?
If you're camera-shy, bashful or simply don't like having your photo taken, Get Over It! Don't even consider not including a photograph as part of your dating online profile. Think about it - in your search for a partner, are you likely to contact people who don't have a photo? Probably not. Why? - because if there isn't a photo, your first thought is probably going to be:
- What's wrong with this person?
- Are they horribly disfigured?
- Do they have some reason for keeping their identity a secret?
- How do I know this person is genuine?
So if you don't have a recent photo of yourself that you're happy to have online, get someone to take one for you. Most mobile phones have built-in cameras and all digital cameras have some means of connecting them to a PC, so there's no excuse.
Take the time to do it right
Your personal profile is your social identity. By creating an online profile, you show something of yourself to the Internet community – in this case via Internet dating sites. You also have several “personal spaces” - your personal space is partly private and partly public. How much (or how little) you reveal can vary enormously from a simple email address to photos, website links and many other personal details.
On social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Blogger etc, people often use their real names. However, the nature of dating online can leave individuals open to abuse, therefore most people create an identity that cannot easily be traced to their real selves. (In reality of course, IP - Internet Provider - details and such like can be traced back to the computer used to access the site, so there can never be complete anonymity).
My top tips for a great profile
It's always sensible to use something different than your own name. Try to choose something that sounds interesting, but don't go for obvious ones. If you're stuck for ideas, have a look at a few other member profiles on the site.
Most dating sites give you the space to write a tagline (or headline) along with your photo, as a sort of brief introduction. Lots of people write things such as: “Looking for my soulmate” or “Searching for the right one” Try to come up with something a bit different, without being crass or over-the-top. Consider using a quotation, or a line from a film or stage play. Also, think about who you are trying to attract, so don’t say anything that is likely to be a turn-off.
Make a list of all your good points and create something that sounds appealing. There are thousands of profiles that say things like “Love watching TV, reading, walking on the beach, nights in/nights out etc” Try to sound different or unusual - without exaggerating.
Check Your Profile
This might sound obvious, but what you write – particularly your tagline – might not display quite the way you expected. Check your profile after it’s been submitted to see how others will see it. It’s amazing how many people put in the wrong age or height – and sometimes even the wrong sex!
Be careful of using sexual innuendo – this is the quickest way to get your profile blocked by other members.
Spellin' granma and punk-u-ashon
Wun ov the big no-no’s iz pore spellin. Too many people don’t take time to check what they’ve written and end up with a profile full of spelling mistakes, grammatical errors and no punctuation. This creates an instant portrait of someone who either has poor literacy skills or who doesn’t care enough to do it properly. Avoid cliché’s, DON’T WRITE IN CAPITALS, and never use text speak:
I gt on wiv ppl nd lv gd fn nd 2 rlx
When you've done all that...