Writing an Online Dating Profile

Writing a great dating profile is the key to success at any dating website. With literally millions of online daters, you must write about yourself honestly, impartially and articulately to have the greatest chance of attracting the best match. Too many people write whatever comes to mind at the time without considering the impact it will have on the reader. While the success of one person may not work for everybody, the general principles you should follow are the same. We will guide you through these principles by breaking down the format of a standard dating profile and provide advice on writing each section; we will also walk you through important tips that should be practiced by anyone creating an online dating profile.

Dating Profile Format

The format of a dating profile is similar at most dating websites. You will likely be asked a series of basic demographic questions, such as your age, sex and location. Do not lie about your age; if you look younger than your age indicates, let your picture do the talking, or mention it later in your profile. If you feel uncomfortable revealing your age, it is acceptable to state a range of years, such as "mid 30s," but be aware that most people will round up. Once you have answered the basic questions, most dating profiles take on the following format:

  • Username – nickname by which you will be known
  • Headline - one line introducing yourself
  • "About Me" Section - the core of your dating profile

Username: The username, also referred to as the "handle" by some dating profiles, serves as your unique identifier. As minor as the username seems, it does impact the impression you have on other members. The general rule of thumb is that unique and interesting are better than boring, but boring is better than obnoxious. Do not be crude or offensive.

Headline: Most dating websites require a one-liner to introduce you to others. The headline is located at the top of your online dating profile, usually next to your username and photo. Your headline can go a long way in attracting someone to read more, so you should be as creative as possible. Good dating profiles include headlines that are thought-provoking, interesting, and relevant to your personality. Avoid cheesy lines like "Future ex girlfriends wanted." It is ok to be amusing and playful if you are interested in dating or friendship, but keep it more serious if you’re seeking a long term relationship.

"About Me": This is the heart of your online dating profile. Most profiles have one or more paragraphs describing who you are and what you are looking for, which may be divided into multiple sections or even a questionnaire. Since "About Me" comprises the majority of your dating profile, we will concentrate on this section for the remainder of the article.

Before You Start Writing

Identify exactly what you are looking for before writing your online dating profile. If you are seeking a long-term relationship, you may use a different dating website than someone interested in casual dating. Some dating sites even have distinct sections based on the type of relationship you would like. LavaLife includes three sections - dating, relationships, and intimate encounters - whereas eHarmony is strictly intended for long-term relationships.

Once you identify what you are looking for, know who you want to attract. The type of person you want will determine how you write your profile. If you generically proclaim that you are ready to give your heart, you may be matched with The Wizard of Oz's Tin Man. Focus on specifics and identify with these when writing your dating profile. For example, if you prefer goal-oriented go-getters, mention some of your life goals and highlight your love of hard work. You probably don't want someone exactly like yourself, but most people enjoy some overlapping interests.

Include the Right Photo

We strongly encourage you to include a photograph if the option is available. Photographs are the first thing people see in your dating profile, and while you are not trying to get a date based solely on your physical appearance, profiles with photos get more responses than those without. The photo should show the best you possible, but it should also be recent and accurate. You want to date someone who is attracted to you right now. Furthermore, photos reflect your taste and way of thinking; do not include a photograph just because it is cool, amusing or flattering. Stay away from shirtless/bikini photos or the sulky head-down, eyes-up sorority shots. And, please, smile.

Show Your Personality

Your online dating profile should illustrate your personality, not state it. Do not say you are well educated, show it; if you are a loving and caring person, emphasize the things you love and care about. You are not writing a personal ad. In addition, your dating profile should help characterize you by including basics such as whether or not you have children, your occupation, and if you are seeking a serious relationship or interested in something casual.

Be Honest

There is nothing to be gained at dating websites by being dishonest. If you are looking to develop a long-term relationship, the truth will likely surface at some point and could seriously prevent you from building your partner's trust. Even if you want something casual, overselling your appearance will only result in disappointment. It is best to be honest when filling out your dating profile. Remember, the goal is to find the best match, not the most matches.

Stay Positive

Remaining positive will ensure that you cast a wide net when attracting potential matches. Your dating profile should positively illustrate what you hope to get out of a relationship and emphasize the qualities you look for in a partner. Do not make your profile a pile of complaints or a list of things you do not want in a partner. Conversely, avoid unreasonable demands and superficial must-haves.

Final Thoughts

Writing a great dating profile is an art, not a science. Once you identify what you want and choose a dating website, your profile is the most important aspect of online dating. Follow the advice above and always focus on how your dating profile will be received by others. Pay careful attention to spelling and grammar, as they go a long way in creating your image. Write sincerely. Humorous honesty is ok, but try to avoid being too funny or cheesy, and avoid clichés. As long as you follow the guidelines laid out in this article, your dating profile will be just fine.