It’s kind of scary to stare at a blank profile box, whether it’s on JDate, OkCupid, or J-Swipe, and imagine that in a minute, an hour, a day, or a week, your online dating profile will be “live,” isn’t it? Even if you write for a living, when it comes to putting pen to paper about yourself (or fingers to keyboard or screen), that’s where things get a bit hairier.
Many people, when they sit down to write their profile, immediately think one thing: “I want to write what I think everyone will want to hear. That way, I’m not limiting the pool at all.” While at first glance, this may seem like a good strategy, I want to share why it’s not.
It’s, of course, nice to be liked, but you don’t want to lose yourself in the process of trying to fit into some arbitrary mold that you think others want to see. Take for example the lines, “I’m just as comfortable in a little black dress and heels as I am in a t-shirt and flip flops,” or “I’m just as happy out on the town as I am at home with a movie and a glass of wine.” Besides being really boring, do these lines actually tell us anything about the person writing them? Nope. They simply cover all the bases. To me, they read, “I am trying to show you that I’m versatile so you don’t pass me by.”
While it may seem counterintuitive, I’ll come right out and say it: It’s okay to turn people off in your profile! It’s more important to be the real you… not the version of yourself you think people want to see, and certainly not the version of yourself who attempts to appeal to everyone. Just be yourself, quirks and all. That way, you know when someone shows interest, it’s because he or she likes the actual things you said, not just that fact that you were being inclusive.
A sample profile for me on a dating app, where you want to keep things on the short side, might read something like this:
Things I love: Dogs (especially mine), Scotch and bourbon, “That’s what she said” jokes, puns, karaoke, grammar, silliness, board games, and push-ups (I’m a weirdo ;)).
It’s more than okay that I don’t run marathons, read War & Peace for giggles, or go from sweatpants to a ball gown in t-minus two minutes. Instead, people will get a sense of the real me. As another example, a client of mine recently wrote about her odd obsession with Post-its and Sharpies. And you know what? Men loved her uniqueness and confidence to share it!
I have a challenge for you: If you’re currently on an online dating site, and your profile contains one of the “all-inclusive” lines, change it into something that better represents who you really are. And if you’re thinking about joining an online dating site, remember that it’s okay to share your interests in bird-watching, chess-playing, wine-making, and whatever else you do for fun. Yes, you will probably turn some people off. But you may also turn just exactly the right people on.
Erika Ettin is the Founder of A Little Nudge, where she helps people navigate the world of online dating, and author of Love at First Site. Want to connect with Erika? Join her newsletter for updates and tips.