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Is Your Online Dating Profile the Best it Can Be?

the-urban-dater-profile-picIt’s difficult to know how your online dating profile is being read by prospective dates. If you’re not quite getting the response you hoped for, the best way to make your profile more appealing is to get some feedback on it.

*Note* I've taken the suggestions made by the lovely and talented Alana Saltz to heart and made the changes described below. I feel she was spot-on on each point. — Yannibmbr


As a follow up to my post, The Top 8 Mistakes Guys Make in Their Online Dating Profiles, Alex (the editor of this fine publication) asked me to do a critique of his OKCupid profile. Even though the following comments are specific to Alex’s profile, a lot of the advice I give here is universal.

Profile photo and username:

Your profile photo looks good. It’s a headshot shot of you looking into the camera and smiling a little. That’s exactly what you want for your main photo. The username [not shown for privacy reasons] also looks fine. It combines two interests of yours and doesn’t have anything weird. There’s no long string of numbers either, which is a bonus.”

My self-summary:

I know how to use: there, their, and they're properly in a sentence. People also say that I'm cooler than the other side of the pillow… Well, actually, only my mom says that…

I'm quirky, analytical and competitive. I like to push myself, I like to push others (in a non violent-shoves-you-on-the-ground-to-kick-you sort of way). I like finding new places to visit. And I support small business. A couple things you should know that might be deal breakers for you: 1.) Kids. I don't want children. I'm above 95% sure on that one. 2.) I'm not a big fan of smoking. So don't smoke, or at least be in the process of quitting.

I recommend opening with, “People say that I’m cooler than the other side of the pillow…Well, actually, only my mom says that…” That tells us something about who you are in a cute and endearing way, which is a strong way to start a profile. Move the grammar line to the end of the second paragraph.

The second paragraph is good, although I’d cut the parenthetical “in a non violent-shoves-you-on-the-ground…” part. I get that it’s a joke, but alluding to violence is generally best avoided.

Move the third “deal breaker” paragraph to the “You should message me if” section. Your self-summary should only include informative and engaging details about yourself. Starting with the big “deal breakers” can be off-putting. Another option is to delete it altogether and put “Doesn’t have kids and doesn’t want any” in your Details section. You can screen for smokers when people message you by checking whether they smoke on their profile, eliminating the need to mention it.”

What I’m doing with my life:

I'm doing what I love for a living while also managing my own business. It can be stressful at times, but I wouldn't ask for anything else.

I'm also training for another half marathon and kinda decided last week to train for a full marathon so I put myself in the NYC Marathon Lottery. I hope I get in!

Perfect. I wouldn’t change anything here. It’s descriptive and succinct but leaves room for questions and engagement. It also expresses your passions and interests.”

I’m really good at:

Ideation. Yes, it's a word. Possibly a poorly chosen one. But I'm good with strategy and coming up with ideas which helps with business stuff and also when doling out advice to friends and family. I'm good at running long distances and making you laugh when you really need a good one.

Oh and I give a damn good hug. I believe we transfer our “vibe” in a hug.

Looks good. This shows you in a positive light (e.g. that you come up with interesting ideas and give advice to friends and family). The “making you laugh” line is nice too. This makes you seem warm and friendly.”

The first thing people usually notice about me:

That I am tall and smell like elderberries… Or that I look like a guy that someone knows. When I see a picture of said doppleganger they never look like me and are generally not even the same race. “Bro, if you were black you'd totally look like that guy.” *Raises eye brow and moves on…

Love this. It’s a unique answer to a question that a lot of people skip over. It shows your sense of humor. Just don’t forget that second asterisk (*) at the end (yes, I’m a nit-picky critiquer).”

Favorite books, movies, shows, music, food:

You give about five examples of each. I wouldn’t be afraid to add a few more. A good number is seven to 10.

The six things I could never do without:

Family (friends are the family you choose)
Pencil and Paper
a Co-Pilot
the Sun
A decent pair of running shoes
Sense of adventure

This is a great answer. It’s not a boring or lame list (e.g. iPhone, friends, beer, sex, burgers, and sports), which is something I often see in a guy's profile. It tells us a lot about who you are in an interesting way. This can be a throw away question, but you use the space well.”

I spend a lot of time thinking about:

Tomorrow. What I can do to help the world in some way or other. What you're wearing. Creepy but probably true. 😉

This is where my critique will get a little controversial. While I think humor and lightness are good qualities to have in an online dating profile, I suggest avoiding jokes about violence as well as anything sexual. You have to remember that a woman who is coming across your profile for the first time doesn’t know you at all, and it can be challenging to make that kind of humor work in text form. As women, we see a lot of genuinely creepy stuff in profiles, so it’s better not to make our minds go there while reading yours.”

On a typical Friday night I am:

Dealing meth… Or doing something fun… or Coding… or finding some new fangled place to eat/drink at while flexing my guns on the street corner.

Bet you can guess my feedback on this one. Cut the “dealing meth” part. Even though it’s clearly a joke, I don’t think it works. The rest is fine, although I’m not sure the joke at the end will land with some people.”

The most private thing I’m willing to admit:

sometimes I purposely use the wrong punctuation' to mess with people.

That works. This is generally a question people don’t take seriously, which I think is for the best. Your profile isn’t a place to get majorly personal. Never include anything you wouldn’t say to someone you just met at a coffee shop.”

You should message me if:

If you think we'd have a good time talking over drinks or food and you don't often get into bar fights, that would be great. The occasional one is fine, though.

Short of that, if you want to, just do it. Life is too short to wonder “what if.”

This is great. Funny, casual, and inviting. I wouldn’t change anything here.”

Overall thoughts:

Your profile looks good. There’s definitely room to expand on some of your answers if you wanted to give us more information, but it shouldn’t be much longer than it is now. I think this is a great snapshot of who you are and what you’re looking for. That’s exactly what every online dating profile should convey – no more and no less. Make a few tweaks, and you’ll be set to go.”

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3 Comments

  1. Hey Alex hows the new profile working for ya? Hey wanted to ask you if your stance on kids was still the same. Chick i met has some pretty hot single ladies who also dont want kids. Let me know.

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