11 Things Never to Include in Your Online Dating Profile

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You’ve heard how dating sites and apps are becoming more and more popular and the chance of meeting someone great has never been better, but you aren’t having much luck with your online dating profile. Maybe you’re new to the game, or maybe you’ve already given online dating a shot but are looking for more success. Either way, creating a profile that’s honest, interesting, and gives good insight into who you are can be tough. Luckily, guys and girls, we’re here to help.

Read this guide to learn which 11 things you should never put in your online dating profile. This list includes all the big and little things you should avoid to maximize your chances of dating success. And, for each item, I’ll give specific examples of what you should instead include in order to make your best profile.

 

1. An Offensive Username

A username is usually one of those things that people will only really pay attention to if it’s particularly clever or creepy. And, based on my time spent browsing several hundred usernames, creepy definitely seems to outnumber clever, particularly with male profiles.

Avoid usernames that are overtly sexual, boastful, or just strange, such as MakeYouScream, RippedEuropeanGuy, or IWontMurderYou (all actual usernames). These can turn people off before they even get to your profile.

What to Do Instead

Create a good first impression in your online dating profile by keeping your username simple and inoffensive. It’s much easier to show your personality in your actual profile than the few characters allowed for a username. You can base your username on a hobby or interest of yours, or a solid option is just to choose your first name or your initials and add a couple numbers at the end.

 

2. A Long List of Requirements

It can be helpful to give an idea of what you look for in prospective dates, but trouble starts when your dating profile becomes a list of requirements you expect dates to meet. For example, saying you want “a man who’s at last 6 feet tall, athletic body, blonde hair, has a good job, loves animals, has a good sense of humor, enjoys indie music, is a good communicator, and likes running and biking,” can make it seem like you’re demanding, have a big ego, and are difficult to please.

When you require a lot of different things, you’ll rule out the vast majority of profiles before you even have a chance to communicate. Even the few people who meet these laundry lists of demands may be turned off because they think you’ll expect perfection and will always be picking them apart.

What to Do Instead

Pick the top 2-4 characteristics you care about in a potential partner and only list those. Try to keep these broad and avoid requesting particular physical characteristics like hair color or height. Saying something like, “I’m attracted to intelligence, a sense of humor, and someone who enjoys being outdoors” gives readers a sense of what you like without you coming across as demanding.

Remember, online dating is a great way to meet people you may not have initially thought you’d have a connection with. Keep your options open, and you may end up being surprised by who you’re attracted to.

 

3. Negativity

People are attracted to positivity. You can have the most attractive pictures, interesting stories, and funniest jokes of anyone on the site, but if you also include a slew of negative comments, it’s going to turn a lot of people off. No one wants to go on a date with someone who seems like they’re going to be in a bad mood the entire time.

The most common way negativity creeps into profiles is when people discuss things they dislike or don’t understand. Your profile should have no sentences similar to these: “Country music is the absolute worst,” “People into CrossFit can look elsewhere,” “I’m sick of all the similar-looking profiles out there,” or “I never wanted to resort to online dating, but I wasn’t having any luck elsewhere.”

It’s easy to add a comment like this and think it’s tongue-in-cheek or gives people a better idea of who you are, but, in reality, even people who may agree with your comments will get the sense that you’re not a pleasant person to be around. That’s definitely not the vibe you want to give off.

What to Do Instead

Keep it positive. You don’t have to fill every sentence with smiles and rainbows, but you should remove any negative sentences. If you’re having trouble, just change each negative sentence to a true, positive statement.

For example, instead of saying you hate country music, discuss the types of music you do enjoy. This will give people a much better idea of what you’re like, and it won’t leave a bad taste in their mouth the way a string of complaints would.

 

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Keep things positive on your dating profile.

 

4. Dishonesty

Whether you call it stretching the truth, omitting some facts, or just straight up lying, you don’t want dishonesty on your profile. Common things people aren’t completely honest about are their age, relationship status, salary and/or profession, and their photos (whether they’re old, retouched, or full-out pictures of other people).

Hopefully you know not to do any of this, but sometimes smaller, more innocuous lies slip in. You may be tempted to exaggerate how much you work out or how well traveled you are to seem more interesting or attractive to potential dates. For some reason, I’ve also begun to see many people claim to have amazing cooking skills when, in fact, they can barely heat up a frozen pizza. There’s no reason to lie about these things!

Starting a relationship off on a lie almost guarantees it won’t end well. When your date meets you for the first time and sees you’re not how you described yourself online, they must just turn around and leave. And even if you do manage to keep the lie going for awhile, that will only make the fallout worse when the truth comes out. No person worth being with is going to stick with someone who isn’t honest.

What to Do Instead

Put simply, keep things honest. Don’t allow any false information, big or small, on your online dating profile. Including a few small lies or exaggerations only makes it more tempting to include other lies down the line. You want the person you date to be attracted to who you really are, so don’t try to create a fake person in an attempt to get more attention. It won’t end well.

 

5. Bragging

The old writing advice of “show, don’t tell” also holds true for dating profiles. Stating what you’re good at can be a useful way to give people insight into your personality and interests, but no one’s interested in an egomaniac. Common ways people brag on their dating profiles include stating that they’re the best at something, listing everything that’s great about their personality, or writing about how attractive they are.

There are two problems with statements like these. First, they make you seem self-absorbed and a braggart, which is enough to scare a lot of people away. Secondly, most of those claims are hard to prove in a dating profile. Anyone can write that they are amazing at sports or the nicest person you’ll ever meet. It doesn’t mean it’s true. Many people read online profiles with a heavy dose of skepticism, and they may not believe the claims you make.

What to Do Instead

Minimize the number of times you pat yourself on the back or brag in your profile. Instead, mention what you like doing rather than telling people how great you are at it.

Changing “I’m the best basketball player on my team, and I crush all the other players,” to “I love basketball, I play on a club team with friends I’ve known since high school, and last year we made it to the regional conference in Indy,” keeps all the important information intact and doesn’t give the impression that your head will be too big to fit through the door on the first date.

 

6. Cliches

Trying to show who you are over the internet can be hard, and a lot of people resort to using cliched phrases from other online dating profile examples to fill the space. Commonly overused phrases include saying you “are a regular, normal person,” “enjoy hanging out with friends,” “like lots of different kinds of music,” “like to have fun,” “love exploring the city,” and “enjoy trying new things.”

All of those above statements are true for probably more than 90% of the population, which means they basically tell people nothing about you. Most people on a dating site will browse through at least dozens of profiles, and you want to make sure yours stands out. That’s not going to happen if your profile is filled with cliches.

Also, online dating is great for giving you a lot of options, but that also means there’s a lot of competition to get chosen. If you’re telling people that you’re “just a regular girl” who likes doing all the usual things people like to do, what reason are you giving people to choose you over the thousands of other profiles out there?

What to Do Instead

The way to avoid cliches is to give specifics. Everyone likes hanging out with their friends, but what do you do specifically that sets you apart? Do you and your friends like to go for runs along the lake? Go to trivia nights? Compete in a kickball league? Similarly, don’t just say you like a lot of types of music, mention specific bands, artists, or songs.

Giving specifics helps your profile stand out from the rest, and it gives readers a better idea of who you are.

 

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Make sure your profile shows what makes you unique.

 

7. Blank Sections

One of the worst things to do on your profile is to leave large sections of it blank or only write “I’ll fill this in later” or “I hate doing these things, just ask me a question instead.” Doing this sends a signal that you’re lazy, boring, or not very interested in finding someone. You may hate figuring out what to write for your online dating profile or think it’s more logical to have people ask you questions directly, but, more likely than not, if someone sees a profile that’s mostly blank, they’re going to pass on it and move on to the next one.

When you add these things to your profile, you’re basically saying that you want the other person to do all the work of getting to know you. Since most dating sites have thousands, and often millions, of other profiles, most people are just going to keep moving.

What to Do Instead

Always fill out your profile. If you’re not sure what to write, browse dating profile examples to get ideas (but remember rule #6 and be sure to include your own specific details). A lot of dating sites will also give you prompts to help you get started.

Try to have your profile complete within the first few days of creating an account. For almost all dating sites, you get the most views when your profile is newest (because you’ll be on one of the first pages), so make sure you don’t put this off too long because it could end up costing you a lot of potential connections.

 

8. Spelling and Grammar Errors

You can be the smartest person on the planet, but if you have an obvious spelling or grammatical error in your profile, you can come across as lazy or unintelligent. Women are especially turned off by poor spelling and grammar, and if a man has those errors in his online dating profile, it can significantly hurt his prospects on the site. However, on average, women make more errors in their profiles, often twice as many as men, so everyone should be double-checking what they write.

Remember, people have only your profile to go on when they’re trying to figure out what you’re like. You may know you’re smart, and your spelling and grammar may be perfect 99% of the time, but if someone sees a phrase like “Their are a lot of restaurants I want to try” in your profile, they’ll likely assume you make those kinds of errors all the time and aren’t very intelligent.

What to Do Instead

This is one of the easiest mistakes to avoid. Just be sure to read through your profile before you post it to make sure it’s clear and doesn’t have any glaring errors. Abbreviations also fall into this category. Don’t say “I think ur beautiful”; it just makes you look sloppy and lazy. Take a few extra seconds to fully spell out words.

Most dating sites will automatically spell check what you write, but you can also paste your text into a word processor or website that checks spelling and grammar to be extra sure you’re not losing a lot of potential dates.

 

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Good spelling is important to have in your dating profile.

 

9. A Desired Age Range That Doesn’t Include Your Age

This may seem like a very specific thing to focus on, but most people will glance at what your desired age range for partners is, and, if it seems really narrow or off, that could be a deal-breaker.

This is especially true for men who state that they’re only interested in women younger than themselves. If you’re, say, 35 and you put on your dating profile that you’re interested in women ages 20-25, that can make you seem superficial and immature, at best, and it can turn off even the people who fit your age range. However, anyone, man or woman, who lists that they are looking for dates significantly older or younger than they are can end up driving a lot of people away.

What to Do Instead

A person’s age has such a small influence on their personality, values, hobbies, and even appearance, so don’t select a narrow age range thinking it will get you a certain kind of person. Keep your desired age range broad, at least five years, and make sure it includes your own age.

 

10. Mention of Your Exes

It’s a bad idea to talk about your exes when you’ve just begun dating someone new, and you shouldn’t do it on your online dating profile either. Hopefully you know not to use your profile to tear apart your ex’s character and explain what a terrible person he/she is, but even vague or non-inflammatory comments about exes should be avoided.

For example, the statement, “My son’s mother and I were together for four years, and even though we couldn’t make it work, we’ve managed to stay civil,” doesn’t throw anyone under the bus or make you look bad, but you still shouldn’t include it. Same with comments like, “I’ve been burned before and am looking to avoid that,” or “I’m only interested in drama-free relationships.” Even though they’re concise and don’t give any details, it’s still too much information.

No one who’s browsing online profiles wants to know about your exes or dating history this early in the game. At worst, you’re revealing that you come with baggage, and at best, you’re giving potential dates information they have no interest in.

What to Do Instead

Reread your profile and remove any and all mention of your exes or your dating past. There are a hundred things about you more interesting than who you used to date. Use your profile to focus on that.

 

11. Revealing Photos

It’s become one of the biggest cliches of online dating that profiles will be filled with photos of people showing off as much of their bodies as they can get away with. With thousands of other profiles to compete with, you may feel like you have to resort to showing a lot of skin to stand out.

And while you may get attention, it likely won’t be the kind you want. Revealing photos often attract more scammers and people who are only interested in your body. It can also drive away many of the higher-quality matches.

What to Do Instead

Keep it classy and keep it simple. Your primary picture should simply be a fairly close-up shot of you smiling and looking pretty much the way you do most days. No need for flexed biceps, duckfaces, or a lack of clothing (for either sex).

Your other pictures (it’s good to have 3-6 posted), should also follow these guidelines, although some of them can include shots of you from farther away and/or with friends. That’s all you need to do in order for people browsing your photos to see that you’re a happy, confident, and, yes, attractive person who’s worth getting to know more.

 

There we go! With my 11 examples of online dating profile tips NOT to include, you’ll be in for a great start. Be honest and real, and knock ’em dead!

 

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