Don’t look like an idiot on your dating profile

I haven’t spent much time in the online dating scene. Why? Because it would probably lead to conflict in my house and many nights sleeping alone.

But earlier this week on my syndicated radio shows we started talking about online dating and what people hate about profiles.

So, in the interest of researching and understanding what I was talking about, I spent some time scanning dating profiles on a website I won’t name so as not to give them free publicity.

At first glance, I noticed that a lot of people had a goofy picture as their main display image. I can appreciate their intent but for me it made them come across as weird. Remember, we don’t know you. We don’t understand the context of the silly face you’re making. We’re not given the background so if it’s an inside joke, it’s lost on a bunch of random strangers. It doesn’t make you look like you have a sense of humour it makes you look unattractive. It’s the first time someone is seeing you. They will judge the book! I guess some people might say, “He/she looks like a fun person” but in the split second when someone makes a swiping decision, you could get lost in the mix.

I also noticed people show a group photo. Sure, you appear social but to me I felt deceived. And this is where I think a group shot works against you. If I see the people and think, “Hot damn, that person’s good looking” and then I click the actual profile and see you’re not that person, I feel duped — almost let down. And then it makes me wonder if I’d end up being more attracted to your friend when I meet the gang. It’ll become all sorts of bad.

Enter the pets. A lot of people had pictures of their pets. It’s cool to see the bond and interaction but some people overdid it with pet pics. It made me wonder if they were looking for a mate for themselves or for their pet. The last thing you want is someone to get with you and be more into your animal than you. (Plus, you don’t want to look like a crazy cat lady.) If you are using your pet to make you appealing and attractive to someone, you should probably boost your personality and put the focus back on you.

Then there are the people who post one picture and it’s just their back. OK, so you… have… nice… hair? Is that our takeaway? Something else I saw was people posting a picture of their shirt or a plate of food. I guess we could argue that you are showing you’re into fashion or are a foodie — but, no. Just no.

Enough of the superficial. Dating profiles aren’t just about pics — despite what those apps convey. (Seriously, I’m shown a giant pic and decide if I keep you or if I disregard you based on a selection of photos and minimal text about you.) There is the bio and the paragraphs of text you write about yourself.

Much like the pics, remember what you’re putting forward. I appreciate someone giving their entire life story but sometimes less is more. It’s great to mention your interests and what you’re hoping for (or “looking for” based on the terminology I saw used a lot, though to me it came across as a desperate search to say it that way) but don’t look needy.

It’s cool that you’re just out of a long-term relationship but telling us you were mistreated and now ready for a “real” man or woman sounds a little bitter. Maybe you’ll attract someone who’s ready to change your life or will feel sorry for you and say you deserve better, but don’t look like a victim whose wounds are still fresh.

My approach would be to give the basics. Touch upon your interests and briefly mention your career or schooling and let the conversation go from there. If I’ve read an entire biography it seems like you don’t want to take the time to get to know someone through conversation and you want to jump into the relationship right away.

I understand that people want to cut to the chase but you do need to take it slow. One of my radio listeners had messaged me saying she met a guy on a dating site and less than a month later sent a bunch of selfies with him and said they’re vacationing and heading to Texas so she can meet his relatives at a family wedding.

Everything about that arrangement sounds rushed to me. Then again it’s not me in that fast-tracked relationship. If it works for them, awesome. But I sense the mentality from those TV dating shows where you need to power through the courting stage and cut right to the chase might taint people’s views of a relationship.

Everybody is a relationship critic these days so don’t take my word for what works and what doesn’t online. I might be a traditionalist when it comes to taking things slow. But if the urgency is put forth and you need a relationship now, now, now, then by all means go for it — just don’t be devastated when that fire burns out quickly and your online love swipes over to someone else because they view relationships as disposable when a better match comes along.

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