Not having any luck with online dating? It’s not you; it’s your profile. Small, unintentional missteps on your profile, like outdated photos or poor word choice, can have big consequences. The good news: These mistakes are easy to fix. Read on for nine ways to keep your online profile from turning men off.
1. Good photos are your top priority.
We all want the complete package — an attractive partner with a great personality. But, let’s be real, men and women on online dating sites look at photos first. So you want you be ready for your close-up, and we do mean close-up. Shots that are taken from a distance or out of focus raise red flags, as do pictures that only show your face (or one side of it) or appear outdated. YourTango Expert Ronnie Ann Ryan, a dating coach for women, recommends posting three to five that show both your face and body. “This is your profile, so you should be alone,” she says. “You’d be surprised how many women post photos with children, pets, groups of friends, or even another man.” Smile and wear a date-appropriate outfit.
2. Keep your profile short and sweet.
Your online dating profile is not the place to start drafting your memoir or an op-ed. Men should be able to look at your pictures, read a few thoughtful and grammatical sentences, and decide if they want to message you. Aim for 300 words or fewer.
3. Show, don’t tell.
Your English teacher was right: specific details bring writing to life. They also make you stand out from the pack. Instead of writing something generic like, “I enjoy working out, traveling, and spending time with friends,” give juicier details. What sports do you like specifically? What’s the best trip you’ve ever taken? What do you and your friends do together? “Details provide conversation starters,” Ryan says. “Interesting profiles attract interesting people.”
4. Write your profile for men.
Your profile should represent you, but don’t forget that you’re also trying to appeal to men. If you only list stereotypically girly interests, like romantic comedies, ballet, or Pilates, you might not attract as many guys as you’d like. “A profile to attract a boyfriend should look different from a profile that would attract a female friend,” says Ryan. Share more universal interests that could be good date ideas. The same goes for the books, movies, and TV shows you list as your favorites. Men love a pretty face, but they also want to feel they have something in common with a date.
5. Forget the “must-haves.”
There’s a big difference between having standards and being demanding. Posting a list of specific, often superficial, requirements — height, age, career, etc. — is a huge turn-off for men. It also limits your dating pool. Don’t be so sure you already know everything about the man of your dreams. You haven’t met him yet!
6. Stay positive.
Similarly, many women list what they don’t want in a partner, instead of what they’re looking for. “Women might think this is going to weed out bad matches, but it won’t,” says Ryan. It just makes you look cynical. No one wants to date Debbie Downer, so describe the positive traits you want in a partner. And if you see a lot of “no’s,” “nots” and “don’ts” in your profile, replace them.
7. Don’t talk about the past.
Your profile is not the place to discuss your relationship history, childhood trauma, or personal crises. Neither is the first date … nor the second. If all goes well, you and your new guy can discuss all of that over time. Until then, focus on the present and more importantly, the future.
8. If you’re not interested, don’t respond.
If you follow all these tips, you’re bound to get more messages on your dating site of choice. Alas, you won’t want to go out with everyone who contacts you. And that’s fine! Men would rather not hear back from you than get a message saying, “Sorry, I’m not interested.” And don’t make the mistake some women make and write back to explain why a guy is unappealing. Dating karma can be a … well, you know. Respect other people out there who are looking for love.
9. Change something in your profile every week.
The more often you update your profile, the more often a dating site’s algorithms will suggest you as a match to other users. Use this to your advantage! Don’t worry about changing the written portion of your profile, unless you just have to add a new favorite book.