Your profile essays are absolutely essential to your success as an online dater. Along with your picture, they determine who responds well to your profile and who won’t. The essays are your potential date’s best way to learn what’s important to you, what you have to offer and how you view the world.
Unfortunately, writing your own dating profile is not an easy thing. You may not be a professional writer, and even if you are, you may still find it difficult to write about what makes you such a catch. This process requires self-analysis, self-promotion and self-confidence.
Here are the four essential things to remember as you consider what to say and how to say it:
1. Be original.
2. Be specific.
4. Be brief.
1. Be original. You have two main ways to achieve this: say something people don’t usually say, or say it in a way that people don’t usually say it. Remember that online dating is a numbers game. There is a tremendous volume of profiles out there and many are in direct competition with yours. Most of us share certain universal qualities, tastes, aspirations and interests. But in the dating world, echoing what everyone else is saying is a sure path to being passed over. You’re basically relying on your photos to distinguish you from everyone else who, based on their similar profiles, feel somewhat interchangeable.
Let’s take one of the biggest dating clichés in the world: “I love to laugh.” It doesn’t get much more universal than this. (I’ve yet to meet someone who hates to laugh.) What’s more, people like to phrase the idea in exactly those words. With this one, singles are repeating each other verbatim.
Talking about WHAT makes you laugh is your chance to be original, or at least specific (see below for more on that). But why not give the whole cliché a miss and instead write a line about the kind of humorous banter you thrive in, with the right person?
Do you have your own colorful way of speaking? Did you pick up any colloquial expressions growing up where you did? Phrasing familiar ideas in a fresh and entertaining way puts your own spin on them, giving the reader a feel for your personality. Don’t go for safe and vanilla, find your unique voice and make it heard.
Also, if there are two equally important things you could say about yourself and one seems common and the other less so, go with the one that will stand out the most. For example, if you have the balance and skill to ride a unicycle but get most of your weekly exercise in the lap pool, grab our attention with the quirky detail of the unicycle. Your pictures will show that you’re fit and it’s not like doing laps is something you’ll share with your partner—in the profile, this detail does little for your cause.
2. Be specific. The more you drill down into your life, the more unique your essay becomes. Nearly everyone loves rock ‘n’ roll. A lot of people love Bruce Springsteen. Fewer people sing “Born to Run” on karaoke night. And only you do it with accompaniment from your friends as an “air guitar” E Street Band. Just keep narrowing things down from the general to the specific. If you like Springsteen, you probably like similar artists, so there’s no need to mention others. If you say that you’ll never forget being in attendance when your New York Giants beat the San Francisco 49ers on a last second kick in the playoffs, that’s probably all you have to say about sports in your profile. We get that you’re a sports fan.
The more vivid and amusing the details you choose, the more they’ll get attention and give other singles something to reference in their communication with you. Twist the story to suit your purpose. If you’re looking for an original and engaging way to say that you love to travel (another dating profile cliché), find the colorful anecdote and put it in proper context. For example, “Despite being bucked off an ornery camel in Egypt, I still travel overseas once a year.” If your point is that you’re very nurturing, skip the chicken soup for the sick cliché and rope in a less commonplace example from your life. “When my ex had his wisdom teeth taken out, I stocked his cupboard with a month’s worth of Jello.” Nothing glamorous or inspired about that, but it shows that you’re caring with an example that is specific, original and kinda funny.
All of this can easily be flipped to describe the person you’re looking for. Draw on the specifics of your life in the same way. Describe experiences or activities that would be better with the right person, or use the example of something you do for those you care about that you would appreciate being done for you.
3. Prioritize. You can’t fit everything that might be appealing or important to you into your profile essays. Information overload will only increase the chances that your reader will stop reading, or start skimming, and thus run the risk of missing how charming and wonderful you are. So consider the essay about yourself an opportunity to make four or five key points. Say one or two things about your biggest passions in life, whether it’s your career, your family, the activities you love most, etc. Give the reader a sense for what drives you. Highlight two or three of your best qualities, the things that you bring to a relationship that your partner will most appreciate about you. And close on a romantic note, ideally with a hopeful statement about what your relationship with the right person will be like. (Of course, remember lessons 1 and two in expressing all of these ideas.)
When writing about what you’re looking for in a partner, it’s okay to make more points in brief rather than better developing a few. This can sound more like a list of examples, activities you hope to share, and descriptions of what your chemistry with the right person might be like.
In general, watch out for any redundancies or misleading statements. If your idea of biking is a pleasant hour and a half on your beach cruiser, don’t attract hardcore cyclists by writing that “the best times are on a bicycle seat.” Nice turn of phrase, but in this example it overpromises your interest. Choose elements of your life that reflect your core and present them in a way that will spark the interest of likeminded people rather than over-emphasizing things you think make you seem more attractive. That might draw more interest in the short term, but it’s less likely to produce a match that works.
4. Be brief. Do all of this in about 200 words per essay (if you’re splitting them into one about you and one about the person you’re looking for). Singles are paging through dozens of profiles at a time and nobody wants to read any more than they have to. Be succinct and the odds are greater that your reader will digest everything you’re saying, rather than having a vague feel for whatever jumped out at them after a cursory glance. Also, the more focused and carefully constructed your profile is, the less likely it is to give someone the wrong idea about you or lose them somehow.
These simple principles will help you write a profile that sustains a reader’s interest, makes you stand out from the crowd, and attracts the people you are most likely to make a meaningful connection with. If you want all this but don’t think you can pull it off yourself, the experts at eCyrano.com can write a great profile for you!