Richard is a professional writer and author. When he's not creating, he's actively pursuing his goal of becoming a handsome billionaire.
Getting Back Into the Dating Game
Two years ago I broke up with my fiancé/girlfriend of 4 years because ‘things’ weren’t moving in the direction I wanted them to move... at least not at the pace I wanted them to move. I’m not going to get into the specifics of that past relationship other than to say, her loss.
At the time, I was an emotional wreck. My friends and family, I suppose, were getting pretty tired of my self-loathing and hibernation. They really wanted to see me get back out there and after a few weeks (months) I too wanted to get back out there. But where is “out there?”
For me, “out there” was an online dating site. I added a few pictures, wrote a pathetic bio and described exactly what I didn’t want in a potential date. Weeks went by and though I was getting a lot of views and sending off a lot of invites to connect, I wasn’t getting many replies. It was all very depressing, even more than breaking off from a long term relationship
The Wrong Way to a Dating Profile
I couldn’t understand why I was being rejected so I started to analyze everything I could about online dating. I started to read the profiles of other guys just to see what they were doing different and that is when I discovered it. Nearly every single guy (and girl for that matter,) were writing pretty much the exact same catch lines:
“I hate writing about myself” – And then you see 1500 words of yada, yada, yada.
“I’m pretty laid back” - What the heck does that really mean?
“I love to laugh” - Who doesn’t?
“I like to travel” - Again, really?
“I have a sarcastic sense of humor” – You may think you do.
“I’d rather be outside than inside” “I like to read” “I work out 5 times a week” blah, blah, blah...
My problem wasn’t that I was unattractive. My problem was that I didn’t stand out from the thousands of other profiles that were saying the exact same thing. So, it was time to start from scratch.
The Right Way to a Dating Profile
First thing to do was change up the pictures. The pictures I had up were mostly headshots and me standing around doing nothing or me in a group shot (I suppose to prove I have a lot of friends.)
Choose photos that tell a story when selecting pictures to upload to a dating site. Pictures of you doing the things you like to do, (bowling, golfing, singing, being silly, etc) but no selfies, no bare chests (or other body parts) unless you are at the beach playing volleyball or Frisbee. No group shots unless you can really stand out. Guys don’t post pictures with other women, Girls don’t post pictures with other guys (it’s a psychological thing that signals competition.)
Next thing to do is rework the bio. First, don’t lie about anything because it may come back to bite you in the butt. There is no need to lie because you’re looking for the person that is right for you, not the other way around. Write with proper spelling and grammar. Do not write in the same way you text. In this format, it is a sign of laziness.
Don’t share too much information about your current emotional state. Don’t share stories about your ex (good or bad.) When you describe yourself, don’t just say, “I enjoy making people laugh” say something like: “My humor is sort of a mix between Jerry Seinfeld and George Carlin.” That gives a more vivid image about your sense of humor. Write in a way that others you are trying to attract can relate to, unless boring and cookie cutter is what you are after.
Instead of making a list of the things you like or dislike, share a story about it. For instance, if you like to ride your bike, you can write something like:
“I was riding my bike along the beach, as I do every evening, when I heard the music off in the distance. As I followed the sounds I came upon an impromptu street performance. The four man band was playing Jazz, my favorite. I love living in this city because you never know what might be waiting around the next corner.”
It may be cheesy but it tells a story and it reveals some things about me that are not boring: I like to ride my bike every evening, I like Jazz, and I live in a city. I think you get the point.
Take a few minutes and write down 4 or 5 adjectives that really fit your personality. Are you funny or shy, happy or glamorous, old-fashioned or gifted? Once you have those adjectives listed then instead of just blurting those out as descriptions, write a one or two sentence story to explain those adjectives without actually using those adjectives. This can be quite hard, especially if you’re not good with words but being able to express yourself is very important in the dating arena and showing that you can do just that is half the battle.
Think of this as a cold call sales letter. You’re goal is not to “sell yourself,” your goal is to sell the features. Don’t write that you are funny; write something that you think is funny. Don’t write that you are laid back; write a typical laid back Sunday. Don’t just say that you are responsible, athletic, kind-hearted, or love kids; show it with a story and you will stand out above all those that leave that out.
By selling the features, you will attract the one person that is searching for you instead of all the lurkers that are just looking for a pretty face. While having a pretty face may be an advantageous feature, it is the most superficial trait of all and has no real staying power.
Other Things to Include
Keep in mind that one of the goals of your online dating profile is to help individuals find common ground with you. Doing this gives them an opening to engage you for conversation. You don’t have to list everything you like or dislike, these are questions you should be asking and answering on your dates.
However, when you do list something you like or dislike, be specific. Let the reader know that while you might enjoy listening to Beyoncé, you would prefer to see Maroon 5; you watch every episode of The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones; you eat more junk food than home cooked meals.
Also be specific with your time constraints and possible deal breakers. Let the reader know you have shared custody of your son; you can’t stand the smell of cigarette smoke; you coach little league baseball 3 times a week; you work the third shift; you must attend Sunday service at your church.
You don’t have to go into great detail on everything but touching on these things will save time for both parties. Plus you shouldn’t list every like or dislike or you’ll have nothing to really talk about when you go on your dates.
Online Dating is Not Really Online
How has this helped my dating? Well, shortly after making the changes I started getting tons of emails alerting me to a new connection request. I was going on at least 1 date a week until I met my current girlfriend that I have been monogamous with for the past 7 months... I think she’s a keeper.
The point is a dating profile is not a dating resume it is the opening chapter of a good book. End the chapter by getting the reader to want more, learn more. The ultimate goal is to get dates where you actually meet and interact in person so that you can add more chapters to the book. It's your book, write it the way you want it.
Share your online dating experiences
carleen s on February 26, 2015:
I want to see where this dating sight takes me
Laura Brown from Ontario, Canada on September 10, 2014:
Awesome really. I always write a dating profile as if I have to explain myself or to prevent misconceptions. (Too many men send photos of their private parts). I'd given up on online dating but... maybe I will take your advice and try again.
Anish Kumar from Mundi Kharar, Mohali, Chandigarh, (Punjab) on August 15, 2014:
very nice article.I like your suggestion about how to show your profile especially your profile pictures.
Nick on October 11, 2013:
Great article. However, not all great books have a happy ending.
Richard Bivins (author) from Charleston, SC on August 21, 2013:
Thank you ingenira that is the point, write a profile that makes you stand out from the crowd.
ingenira on August 21, 2013:
I like the way you suggested on to how write if you like to ride a bike. Unique.
Richard Bivins (author) from Charleston, SC on August 19, 2013:
Thank you FlourishAnyway I appreciate the visit and the comment.
FlourishAnyway from USA on August 19, 2013:
Great pointers for those who are looking. Nicely written personal perspective. Welcome to HubPages!
Richard Bivins (author) from Charleston, SC on July 26, 2013:
Thank you for the visit and the comment nichellewebster.
Nichelle Webster from Silicon Valley on July 26, 2013:
That last photograph is wonderful! It made my day.