I beg of you, stop writing terrible dating profiles

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Y’all, can we chat real quick about online dating profiles? I get that dating is hard, and you’re feeling fatigued, and earnestly trying just doesn’t seem cool but…seriously, why do you purposely write TERRIBLE DATING PROFILES.

Here’s what a dating profile should do:

  1. Give someone a way to start a conversation with you
  2. Tell someone something relevant (to you) about you
  3. Show a bit about your personality

A bad dating profile does none of those things. I’m not sure if it’s that people try hard, get little to no attention and get discouraged, and suddenly start writing bad dating profiles, but there is definitely an abundance of terrible dating profiles out there. So, let’s talk about some terrible dating profiles. If you’re guilty of these mistakes, don’t worry, I’ve got some quick fixes for you:

Only listing where you’ve lived/Where you just arrived from

I get that living in a lot of different cities is an accomplishment to some people, I really do. I don’t know what it’s like to leave some small town or city and move somewhere that’s cool, because where I’m from is already cool, but I can empathize. That said, you are more than just the places you lived. Moving from Carajoland to London to NYC is awfully impressive, but there is so much more to you than where you’ve been. If you want to emphasize your well-traveled-ness, maybe list WHY you moved around. Are you a third culture kid, or an army brat, or someone who feels the need to change the scenery in their lives? That will always be more interesting than “Just a Small town Girl who moved to NYC”. Whatever the reason is, it’s far better than listing the cities you’ve lived in, because that will only prompt two types of questions: Motivation for the move, and when you moved. If you list those motivations, but hint at more (e.x.. I moved to NYC to pursue my dream of producing musical theater. I used to live in Chicago, and really enjoyed the scene there, but felt NYC is where I should move if I wanted to grow), you’ll get messages that dig a little deeper. You’ll be asked about your ambitions, your hopes, your dreams, & your motivations and when you moved.

Only listing your social media handle(s)

Listen, I understand that clicks, followers, and likes are cool and all, and some people either make a living off of them, or use them to boost their self-esteem, but if you want to artificially get those things, maybe pay for them, or just learn how to get good at hashtags. What you shouldn’t be doing is using a dating app to build a social media following. THAT’S WHAT SOCIAL MEDIA IS FOR. If your motivation for listing only your social media handles on your profile isn’t attention seeking, but is motivated by the idea that by listing your social media profiles people will learn about you…eh…you’re wrong. I doubt you’re writing well spoken essays under your dog-filtered selfies, but if I’m wrong, please feel free to correct me. If you want to actually showcase your personality…maybe…try…using…words? I know it sounds kind of absurd to think that using language to communicate things about you, but instead of hoping that someone will get to know you by looking at your instagram feed, why don’t you list your social media handle AND include information about you that you think is worth highlighting.

Saying “Just ask me…”

Yo, are you serious? What am I, a stranger, supposed to ask you, a stranger, when prompted with literally nothing? How do you feel about the collapse of the Roman empire? Do you think Misty Knight is going to get a spin-off with Colleen Wing, once the character debuts in the Netflix Iron Fist series? (No lie, I would love a Daughters of the Dragon spinoff so damn much, you have no idea) If you could fist fight Teddy Roosevelt, would you? Prompting someone to ask you a question, just a random ass question, is the laziest thing I’ve ever seen on a profile, and always seems so damn presumptuous. Do you think you’re too interesting to try? Or is that you’re so interesting that obviously someone will know the right question to ask you? Either way, you’re wrong. Instead of “if you want to know something, just ask” maybe try putting something on your profile you want someone to ask you about. You can list it on your profile or, if you’re feeling especially wacky, put the words “You should ask me about” before the thing you’d like to be asked about. People can’t read minds, but they can read instructions.

“No one reads this”

If no one reads profiles, why would I be writing about how terrible it is to put this on your profile? I understand that some people doubt that anyone actually gives a crap about online dating, and many people don’t, but a lot of people do, and by making your cynicism about online dating the entirety of your profile, you’re actively discouraging people who give a damn. Instead of leading with cynicism, you can instead say “If you read this, you should message me about X” which serves both as a conversation starter, and an opportunity for someone to pleasantly surprise you.

A blank profile

I hate you so much. I don’t even care why your profile is blank, because LITERALLY ANYTHING ON YOUR PROFILE WOULD BE BETTER THAN NOTHING. Seriously, if your profile had just one cryptic word or reference, at the very minimum someone could ask about it. If your profile is currently blank, you can put, I dunno, just the word POTATO on it and you’d, at minimum get messages that said “Umm, Potato?”.

Seriously, just put one fraction of an iota of a quantum of effort into your profile and that effort will eventually be returned. I have been “successful” at online dating since I first started, whatever that means, and it’s because I give, at the very least, minimum effort. It really isn’t that hard to say “Hey, this is where I’m from, this is what I’m into, this is what you should message me about”. That took me all of like, 2 seconds to type out. If you’re at a loss, just remember what a profile should be and go from there:

Can someone start a conversation with me based on my profile?

Does my profile communicate something relevant about me?

Does my profile, in some way, showcase my personality?

Your profile doesn’t need to do all three of those things, but at minimum, it should do ONE of those things. If your profile is doing none of those things, change it.

Sure, you’ll still match with people who send mediocre messages, people who don’t read your profile, or people who are online dating as one big performance art piece, but there is the off-chance that one of the people you match with actually give a shit. That’s how dating works though, everyone isn’t a good fit for you until you meet the one who is. Give that special little unicorn more to message you about than the last place you lived, or your looks, or your Instagram feed. Give people an opportunity to impress you, and they might surprise you by impressing you. Most people you match with wont put in the effort, most people you match with won’t reply, but the ones who do will stand out, if you let them.

Good Luck Out There.

4 Replies to “I beg of you, stop writing terrible dating profiles”

  1. yes yes yes yesyeyyesysy. ESPECIALLY to the cryptic “just ask me” or having nothing at all. ESPECIALLY because on apps like Bumble men “hate” when women have generic greetings, but how on *earth* are you supposed to come up with something witty/creative without anything to work with? ugh.

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