5 tips for making a compelling online dating profile

Whether you’re hoping to snag some responses on Bumble, furiously swiping right on Tinder, or looking to find your life partner on eHarmony, you would be wise to follow these 5 tips for writing a compelling online dating profile.

Having met the love of my life on an online dating site, I am certainly qualified to give some advice here. Being an obese man for most of my existence, I had to rely on my words and my personality more than the average person in the dating world. Like your demeanor and personality, your dating profile is what makes people want to talk to you.

1. Be Honest, but Don’t Over Share

Honesty is usually a safe bet, but there are some aspects of yourself that you shouldn’t volunteer on a public forum like an online dating site or app.

Safe to Share:

  • A few of your favorite bands or genres of music that you enjoy
  • Ways you relax
  • Interesting hobbies that you’re passionate about
  • Positive thoughts
  • Your ambitions or goals
  • Your favorite foods or restaurants
  • What you look for in other people
  • Your height

Not Safe to Share:

  • The size of your genitals
  • Your emotional disorders
  • A list of all the things you hate about people
  • Political or religious rants
  • Your most deviant sexual desire

You want to present yourself in an accurate way, but you also want to focus on the positives. No one wants to read a horribly depressing diatribe about all the ways life was unfair to you when they’re looking for someone fun and interesting to talk to. Use common sense.

2. Keep it Short

There’s no bigger turn-off in the online dating world that having to read someone’s entire life story on their profile. First of all, they’re not leaving any room for conversation. If you’ve already written an abridged memoir and I was forced to wade my way through it, there’s very little room for additional follow up questions.

The point of dialogue is for it to be a two-way street. You should be leading the reader into tidbits that leave them intrigued, but wanting more. It should be specific and eye-catching, but not so overly verbose that there’s nothing left to ask.

Think of it like writing advertising copy. The name of the game is getting people to tune in for more. You want them to be curious enough to explore further. You want to frame yourself in a way that makes you come off fun, open-minded, spontaneous, and interesting, but mysterious enough to prove worth their time.

3. Write a Fantastic Headline

While not all dating sites or apps utilize headlines, many of them do. Just like the rest of your profile, treat it like an advertisement for how awesome you are. Don’t lie about yourself, but don’t tell the whole story. Let succinctness and an air of confidence guide your audience into learning more about you.

Headlines should be, above all, concise and specific. The longer the headline, the less chance people will be interested enough to read on.

Also, don’t rely on generic headlines like “Seeking Hard-Working, Intelligent Man” or “Looking for a Woman Who Knows What She Wants.” These headlines are meaningless and will get lost in the millions of profiles you’re trying to stand out ahead of.

Don’t be afraid to use humor to break the ice as well. The more unique, the better. Sometimes, a goofy headline can be just what people are looking for to break up the monotony.

Try using something true, but funny about yourself and make it a declarative statement. “My dog looks fantastic in a tuxedo” or “I know all the words to the Oscar Mayer Weiner song,” while corny, may compel people to give the rest of your profile a chance.

4. Use Realistic Pictures of Yourself

Don’t be a Catfish. For fuck’s sake don’t deceptively pick out pictures of yourself from 5 years ago when you were 40 pounds lighter or still had hair on your head.  That is really, really, really not cool. I speak from experience on this one.

When I was in college, I went on a date with a woman who lied about her appearance in her profile pictures. I had a substantial gift card for the restaurant we chose to visit for our first date, and I had no initial intention of using it because that’s really bad form on a first date. Anyway, she showed up and looked absolutely nothing like the photos she had shown of herself.

The saddest part was, I had absolutely zero issue with the way she actually looked. I would have still went on the date and I would have enjoyed myself far more. Because she so obviously deceived me, though. I had no intention of ever talking to her again.

I used the gift card to pay for our meal and I didn’t feel the least bit bad about it. A couple of fake yawns and an “I’m kind of tired” excuse later and I was out of there.

The moral of the story is that your pictures should be recent, realistic, and true to how you really look in everyday life. Why would you risk disappointing someone who has built this false image of you in their head only to have it squashed on the first date? Let them decide whether or not they like the real you instead of the fake you.

5. Host as Many Pictures of Yourself as the Medium Allows

It’s kind of annoying when you’re looking at someone’s dating profile and they only have a single picture of themselves. Sometimes the picture is too small or blurry or there’s multiple people in the frame. This is unacceptable in the age of camera phones and Facebook.

Don’t just make an album of selfies, but find pictures of yourself in a variety of different situations. You could have 1 or 2 pictures of you in formal wear, 1 on the beach, 1 selfie, and a picture of you with friends. You want your pictures to show your classy side, your social side, your adventurous side, and your sense of humor. This is the ideal balance of human being that most other single human beings are looking for.

If the app or website allows 10 pictures, try your damnedest to use all 10. Browsers are interested in seeing how you look in variety of locales and this profile is supposed to represent all the complexity and layers that you encompass. Don’t waste the opportunity to show off a little.

If you’re on Tinder, you can even link directly to your Instagram.

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