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Online Dating Profiles 101: Begin Here

First it was soda shops and singles bars. Then it was the personal ads in in the back of magazines and in the newspapers. There was classic advice from magazines about striking up a conversation in the vegetable aisle of your grocery store, "How can I tell if this pineapple is ripe?".  Come on. Online dating is a reality, folks. It works, and it's not going away. Here's how to get started to create a smashing and effective online dating profile:

1. Choose a Profile Name

It's the first-of-the-first things the dating service will ask you to provide. It's a come-on of sorts. The service asks you to first commit to "easy decisions" before going onto more difficult things like writing a full profile or entering payment information.

If you feel a pit in your stomach when confronted with a blank screen, one great technique for choosing your profile name is to combine two of your interests or qualities into one name.

2.  Choose Profile Pictures

Arguably the most important component of any dating profile are your pictures, ladies and gents, especially your main photo under your profile name.

3.  Learn From Examples

It's difficult to start writing a dating profile from scratch.  That's why you'll want to start by looking at examples of dating profiles--good, bad, and rewritten.

Yes, it's instructive to look at the bad dating profiles.  Bad examples resoundingly shout to you "Don't do this!" in a way that a thousand words of gentle advice cannot do.

Examples of Good Profiles:

Examples of Bad Profiles:

Examples of Rewritten (Bad-to-Good) Profiles

4.  Write Out a Rough Draft

Novelists sometimes write 10-20 versions until they get their piece right.  You don't have to write that many drafts, but we do recommend a rough draft followed by a final draft.

Writing the first version as a rough draft frees you up to write with abandon.

5.  Rip Out the Bad Stuff

You've read it.  Your best friend has read it.  What kind of feedback did you get?

Chances are, you're overwritten.  But that's fine.  First drafts are all about expansiveness.  Second drafts are about paring things down to size.

What can you cut?

  • Excessive Sarcasm, Glibness, and "Wit":  A little goes a long ways.  Most wit in dating profiles is leaden and unfunny--often verging on hostile.  We recommend keeping paring this down drastically.
  • Word Count:  We have seen profiles that stretch for 2,300 words.  That's ridiculously long.  Keep your profile to 500-600 words.

6.  Watch Out For the Super Red Flags

Red flags aren't simple problems like typos, grammar, sarcasm, or word count.  Red flags are so critical, just one can doom your entire profile.  Some examples:


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