5 basic dating profile tweaks for online dating success

Does your online dating profile need a bit of a tune up?

Perhaps you’re new to online dating. You’ve got an account on OKCupid, or you’re trying out Happn…but those messages and matches just aren’t ‘happning.’ Or maybe you’ve been doing online dating for ages, but have never enjoyed much success. If you’re putting yourself out there and not getting the results you want, it might be worth checking whether your profile needs adjusting.

Here are five basic areas to improve on, that might help breathe some life into your inbox.

1. Show your face (and look approachable)

A face is everything to me – expression, smile, eyes … there’s so much to learn about a potential date from their selfie.

Before I swipe, I need to see at least two clear pics of someone’s face. The first photo is for ‘first impressions’ and the second one is to confirm they’re not  I’m a photographer, so I know that everyone has at least one good selfie angle. I need to see two angles to get a good idea of what someone really looks like.
Profiles that don’t show their face at all (either because they’re married or because they’re doing some sort of suit-and-tie Christian Grey maneuver) just don’t work for me.

Warning: don’t make all your shots ‘wacky selfies’. When potential matches pull funny faces, I have trouble making out their facial features. It also suggests insecurity. My friend Brad says, “I won’t chat with anyone who does duck face or pulls faces in all their pics…. it makes me think they might have an attitude problem.”

2. Write a profile description

Some dating apps, such as Tinder, are infamous for favoring the conventionally attractive. But even on my most shallow days, I won’t swipe right on a profile that doesn’t have a description attached. Why? Because it’s a waste of time. Finding the right people to hook up with is about a lot more than just their physical appearance. To have great sex, I also need to be able to talk with someone and have a laugh. We need to have at least a little in common. It’s difficult to pick up on those social clues by looking at a profile photo. I need a bit of text, even if it’s just a line or two.

Without a profile description, potential dates are reduced to having this conversation: “Hi! You seem cute, but I have literally no idea what to say to you.” And that’s awkward.

3. Be clear about what you’re looking for

Being honest about your intentions means you’ll only attract the people who want what you’re offering, which saves time. It also shows that you’re self-aware enough to actually express your needs. Lastly, it shows you have standards – you’re being selective, which is an attractive characteristic in a potential partner.
Just a sentence or two can save you a lot of time and make you look like a human being that has their shit together:
“I’m looking for someone awesome to hang out and have adventures with.”

“I don’t want anything serious, just casual fun and good company.”

“I’d love to find someone I get along with for sexy stuff, with the possibility of a longer-term relationship with the right person.”
“I’m on here for no-strings-attached hook-ups with like-minded people.”

Notice how there’s always a qualifier? It’s not ‘I’ll take anyone’. Being clear about what you want shows you’re discerning, which makes you more attractive to others.

4. Is your baggage showing?

Everyone has bad experiences… unfortunately we often carry our past trauma into our future encounters. If your profile has catty comments or negativity, folks are going to pick up on the subtext and they’ll feel uncomfortable (whether they are conscious of it or not).

Some examples of what not to say:

  • “No psychos”, “No fatties”, “No clingers” …. judging others makes you sound like an asshole.
  • “If you don’t want to meet up, don’t bother swiping right.” ‘Angry and bitter’ aren’t attractive character traits.
  • “Tinder is shit and nobody talks to me, but I’ll just keep trying anyway.” Yes, I have seen this on a profile. I did not swipe right.
  • “I’m recently single and looking for someone who’ll treat me better than my ex.” If your ex is coming up in conversation before we’ve even had a conversation, it’s a bad sign. Being a good match means showing you’re capable of good judgement; talking about your bad relationships first up doesn’t demonstrate that.

5. Avoid being generic

I don’t believe anyone is entirely ‘average’. It’s the stuff that makes us different that also makes us interesting….and when it comes to online dating, ‘interesting’ is what makes you stand out from the crowd. When I see the same wedding photos, the same pub selfies, the same travel snaps… I’m no inspired. The same goes for profile text: “I’m easy-going and I love travel and spending time with family” does nothing to differentiate you from the masses.

There’s a concept called ‘niche marketing’ – showing your points of difference, so that you’ll appeal to the subset of people who are most likely to want what you’re offering. How to do this? Show something about you that’s unexpected, either via a photo or in your profile text:

  • “I’m really into people-watching.”
  • “I have mysterious dog-whispering skills”
  • “I do this one party trick…you’ll have to see it to believe it.”
  • “Here’s a pic of me with my orchid collection.”

There’s no shame in changing things up and doing better. Winning at Tinder is a bit like being a good mechanic: you’re always tinkering with things to get the best performance. And if you’re looking for more advanced profile-writing techniques, check out my workshops.

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