Your internet dating profile is a showcase and an advert for you. More than this, though, your profile presents a set of cues other people can use to contact you in a way that is meaningful. It is a part of a conversation you are already having with the other members of your dating site before an individual message has yet been sent.
Don’t fear the medium
We can be liable to hit tunnel-vision mode when using unfamiliar technologies to communicate, or, with an unnatural telephone voice, we might let the technology overly dictate what we say. This is liable to be more of a problem when we aware that we are trying to sell ourselves.
A useful first step, then, when constructing a profile, is to step back and consider the possibilities and constraints of your dating site. How many words can you use? What are the headings you’ll be writing under? What are the multiple choice options for you to check? More generally, without seeing your gestures or hearing your voice, how do you get a true picture of yourself across?
Once you’re confident and feeling on top of things, you’ll be more able to use the site well.
Present a true picture
This means more than: don’t lie, which is utterly counter-productive. It’s about using a very few words to give the people looking at your profile an accurate and attractive sense of who you are. One way of doing this is to stand back from the internet and think about your life, at first with hardly a thought about selling yourself. What are the important things about you? What matters most to you? Jot some rough notes on a piece of paper, then think about how you present those facets of your life in the most positive way.
So you like film? Which are your favourites? You read? Which authors? Which of their books? When describing your interests, a little detail brings the picture to life, helps initiate an e-flirting chat and helps the person reading your profile see if you might be a match. After all, your interests reflect the person you are. It has also been said that musical interests are among the most reliable indications of personality and compatibility.
And when giving those details, feel free to say how you feel about them. Use phrases such as ‘I really love…’ ‘I hope…’ and ‘I most enjoy…’. This doesn’t mean launch into agonized soul-searching, but you are on a dating site looking for relationship and can certainly bring something of your emotional life out into the open.
Would love to meet
Ask yourself: what are the qualities your ideal lover-to-be possesses? Think in terms of personality, rather than looks, and create for your reader a picture in which he or she might or might not see himself or herself reflected. Of course, you’ll be limiting your chances if you go into too much detail here – ‘You must be a Norwich City supporter’ – but a few broad brushstrokes will encourage your reader to feel there’s a match or not.
You don’t necessarily need never to say what you don’t want, but as a general rule it is better to use positives when describing the lover you want. Putting it simply, negatives can make you seem, well, a negative person – plus which, they convey an air of shutting people out. If tempted to use one, ask yourself if it going to achieve anything. For example, we often see statements along the lines of, ‘no pretentious, messed up, insecure people.’ As if anyone thinks of themselves this way? Nope, but it does suggest the writer might be quite intolerant, intellectually challenged and quick to criticize. Cast your net wide, safe in the knowledge you don’t need to accept all offers.
For example: ‘Does anyone else think…’ It’s a sure-fire way of making it easy for others to respond to what you’ve said.
Enjoy the game – and the site
Don’t apologize for being single or for being on a dating site. So are the other people on the site. Aim to have them read your profile and feel upbeat about being so. To do otherwise makes you unapproachable and, moreover, insults those other people. Go in with a positive attitude, prepared to work the medium and the flirting-dating game for all its worth.
Your username generally isn’t hugely significant, but it is wise to take a little care. You might, of course, use your first name, probably with other letters or numbers attached. It is not a good idea to use your whole name: it is just too traceable and there are strange people out there. Alternatively, you are free to choose more or less randomly from any detail of your real or imagined life. Bad usernames are usually, though not always sex-related, not merely because, in the sites they’re found, upfront sexual advances are inappropriate, but also for reasons of flannel and false bravado. For example:
XXX_hung_guy – has a computer porn addiction and a propensity to fantasize.
Up_for_fun – never serious.
I_luv_you – akin to a virus that can’t spell.
Fuk_4U – aside from being desperately crude, likes texts more than people.
Sensual74071 – can’t get it up and is into zip codes.
Aloud! – in bed and otherwise, very quiet.
Use_me_69 – roughly translates as ‘I don’t exist’.
Spare a thought for how a sane and sensitive person might be translating yours.
The picture or pictures you choose, like the words, should present an attractive and truthful view of you. Choose one that you look at and think of as very you – and which you like. Perhaps ask a friend to choose one for you too.
These are the don’ts:
· No webcam shots. They are always ugly and sloppy.
· Don’t primarily use old pictures. Your lead photograph should be current. If it isn’t, when you meet, they’ll just walk away.
· No group shots without saying who you are.
· No hats, especially if male. Whether bald, thinning or richly endowed, flaunt what you’ve got.
· No distance shots, in which you’re a pixel.
· No ‘funny’ or ‘this is what I like’ pictures of other people or cartoon characters.
As for nudity, whether full or partial, represent yourself as you wish to be understood – and spare a thought for the possibility of your images finding their way elsewhere.