Saturday, May 26, 2018
Parenting & Relationships

How to write a dating profile that stands out

If you know me at all, you know I'm one of the most outgoing people around. I like to sing, play ping pong and tennis, wear pink, try new restaurants, and do math. (I guess I have both the left and right brain thing going for me.)

Now, let me introduce you to my friend Susan. Susan is an accountant who travels to a new country every year, loves to cook (especially chicken noodle soup from scratch), is from the South, and whose favorite hobby is making quilts.

We sound nothing alike, do we?

Now I'd like to describe myself in online dating profile form:

I'm fit, intelligent, and I love to laugh and have fun. My family and friends are the most important things in my life, and I'm lucky to be surrounded by great people. I would love the opportunity to travel more and find the time to see the world. I like to get out and have a good time, but I also enjoy the occasional night in with dinner and a movie.

Okay, Susan — it's your turn:

I'm fit, intelligent, and I love to laugh and have fun. My family and friends are the most important things in my life, and I'm lucky to be surrounded by great people. I would love the opportunity to travel more and find the time to see the world. I like to get out and have a good time, but I also enjoy the occasional night in with dinner and a movie.

Amazing! Susan and I are so different, yet somehow we sound exactly the same. When you peruse the online dating sites, many of the profiles say some variation of the exact same thing. Did we learn anything about this person? Nope. This could be me, and this could be Susan. Could it be you, too?

The key to online dating is to differentiate yourself, lest you fall into "Generic Profile Land." Some common phrases to avoid include:

It's hard to write about myself. (No need to state the obvious.)

I am funny, smart, loyal, fun, intelligent, etc. (These are what I call "the-curse-of-the-empty-adjectives." Show, don't tell.)

I can't believe I'm doing this. (Everyone is in the same boat.)

I'm just as comfortable in a dress/tux as I am in jeans and a t-shirt. (It's better to share what you like to do and where you like to go.)

I'm attractive/look younger than my age. (Let someone decide that for him/herself after viewing your photos.)

Let's try this again:

I think puns are a sign of intelligence. or maybe that's just me rationalizing how often I make them. I'm a singing, pink-wearing, math/econ-loving, racquet sport-playing, well-traveled, very fit foodie who is in a good mood 99.872% of the time. Always on the go, you'll find me at any event, ranging from a trivia night to a concert to a happy hour to my acting class to the newest restaurant in the city. I'll try anything once, and I thrive on meeting new people and will talk to anyone. You make friends in the strangest and most wonderful places that way. Just having finished my MBA at night, I'm making full use of my newfound free time. Want to join me?

This person is unique. This person is quirky. This person is me!

Erika Ettin is the founder of A Little Nudge, an online dating advice site.

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