Beyond the online dating profile - using the power of words to find a perfect match

Do you know of any happy couple who got – and stayed – together just because they both happened to like that Jennifer Lopez classic ‘The Wedding Planner’

The idea that a shared liking of a random film will lead to long-term compatibility seems strange to say the least.  Well that, and the ubiquitous dating profile sentence, which goes something along the lines of “I love snuggling up on the sofa with a bottle of wine and a DVD.”   This is the romantic equivalent of the oft-seen CV statement, “I work well on my own and in a team.”  Let me kick things off by saying that neither of those statements do your originality any justice at all; if you’ve ever used them anywhere, go back and get rid of them now!

The reason for all this pontificating is that I’ve recently been researching online dating sites for a client (honestly, it really is for a client, and no I’m not protesting too much) who wants me to write an engaging profile statement for him.  

Throughout said research I’ve found that expressing individuality can be really hard when it comes to online dating.   The sites need to be able to automatically analyse potential matches, so there are a host of the obligatory tick-boxes and multiple-choice questions to wade through before you’re let loose on the all-important free text. 

(One popular site helpfully has a list of pre-stated 'weaknesses' for you to choose from, including "I can be a little over-exuberant" - leading any potential dates to presumably question what “a little” means in the context of over-exuberance.  Will you embarrass them at a close friend’s funeral by gushing loudly  over the floral arrangements, for example?)

If you have the energy to plough on through the lovely 'weaknesses' section and the bits where you choose your favourite types of film and music, you’ll finally arrive at the most important part – telling potential dates who you really are. 

If you’re struggling with this bit as much as my client, here are a few recommendations to get you started:

o   Some people (some of the best, in my humble opinion) are so naturally modest that they forget to make themselves sound interesting.  This is easily done; what are the qualities that make you, ‘you’? Ask someone you trust if you’re really not sure.

o   Try your very hardest not to use clichés.  If your headline is something like ‘Are you my other half?’ or you’ve used the classic sofa-and-DVD line in your actual profile, think a bit harder.  Same goes for ‘fun-loving’‘adventurous’ and ‘laid-back’ – easily the most-often used profile words I’ve seen.  (Be careful if you decide to use a thesaurus, though – swapping ‘exploratory’ for ‘adventurous’ could get you some interesting replies!) 

o   Do you have any actual examples of the words used to describe yourself?  These will really help people to picture the kind of person you are.  So for example, if you’re someone who likes ‘trying new things’, why not list a couple you’ve actually tried?  If your trusted person has told you how considerate you are, can you or they think of a time when you actually did something thoughtful for someone else?  

In short, the more specific you are about your likes and tastes - no sniggering at the back please - and who you really are behind that smiley-yet-introspective picture of you in front of Machu Picchu, the more likely it is that amongst all the unsuitables, you’ll find someone who will notice and appreciate that you’ve taken the time to tell them about yourself,  and will take the time to do the same back.

This should naturally lead to the increased possibility of your words finding you the – or at least a – perfect match.

Could your personal or professional profiles do with a boost?  If so, I can help you – why not get in contact for a free review?

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