Your Online Dating Profile Needs Work

What?? No it doesn’t! It’s perfect! I’ve spent hours laboring over it!

These were exactly my thoughts when I first sought feedback on my OkCupid profile. Sadly, I was wrong: my laborious hours had not, in fact, resulted in the world’s sexiest profile. There were still things  I could do to improve it. Major things, in fact.

Guys, this post is for you. Ladies, I’ll address your profiles in a future post.

Okay, so you’ve fired up an OkCupid account, uploaded a few flattering pictures, and done a pretty good job writing an introduction that will catch the ladies’ eyes: you’ve remained humble while sounding genuine, threw in a few “lols” so she knows you’re an easy-going guy, and highlighted how hard-working and responsible you are. You’ve got a job. You’ve got a car. You have your own apartment.

Game on, right?

Wrong. I’m here to tell you that, no matter how much time you’ve put into your online dating profile, it’s probably still not good enough.

This doesn’t mean you should spend more time. Nothing is more common in online dating than spending a HUGE amount of time and getting tiny results. That’s the default trap that people fall into: “Oh, this is like reviewing resumes; so the more time I put into it, the better my results will be.” Wrong again.

(This mistake is not limited to guys, by the way: I know some women view Match.com as a part-time job and spend 10 hours a week for 6 months going through guys’ profiles. Some of them even get married. Is that just the price of happiness? I don’t believe so.)

As with most things, it’s doing the right things, not doing a lot of things, that will get you the results you desire. It’s the difference between efficiency and effectiveness: some guys I know can send 100 messages an hour. They’ll have better results than me, right? No, they won’t, because although they’ve gotten very fast at sending copy-paste or even semi-personalized messages to girls, they haven’t stopped to ask themselves “Am I doing the right thing?”

And that’s what this blog is all about: not doing things right, but doing the right things.

Let’s Explode Some Myths

Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to be an awesome writer to have a profile that “works” for you. Smart women will realize that good writing skills are an indication of . . . good writing skills. There is no relationship between your writing skills and your relationship or love skills. This author is a case in point.

In accord with popular belief, you should use proper spelling, punctuation and grammar. You should leave out obnoxious text-speak. This signals that you are intelligent enough and care enough to put on a clean pair of clothes in the morning. I’m serious: grammar, spelling and punctuation is to the online world what clean, fitted clothes are to the real world.

Would you go to a bar wearing dirty sweatpants and sweat-stained wife-beater full of holes? No, you wouldn’t. Neither should you go to the OkCupid Club with your participles dangling out and your tenses unmatched.

Okay, back to your profile. There are three simple rules you need to follow to write a kickass profile that will actually get you dates with cute women:

  1. Show don’t tell
  2. Humor & Confidence
  3. Not taking life too seriously 

Let’s take these one at a time.

Show Don’t Tell

In reviewing guys’ profiles at the OkCupid subreddit, I’ve typed this over and over again until there’s a permanent path worn on my keyboard: show, don’t tell. This is a cardinal rule of writing fiction and it applies doubly to an online profile.

Don’t say you’re a funny guy. Crack a joke instead. Don’t say you’re confident and authentic. Write so that your natural confidence and authenticity comes through. Don’t say you’re a champion motocross racer. Post pictures & video of yourself winning races instead.

Do this: comb through your profile looking for sentences that start with the phrase, “I am. . .”. Delete them all. Re-write with declarative statements or story-telling that gets to the same thing. You cannot use the phrase “I am.” (Not even “I am looking for a fairy princess with sparkle-dust on her eyelashes.” Rewrite that to say, “Fairy princesses with sparkle-dust on their eyelashes might awaken my inner Aladdin, but only if they’re prepared to sew up my carpet.”)

Okay, I’ve belabored the point enough. On to the next most important thing; Humor & Confidence.

Humor and Confidence 

I just have to take a historical time-out to talk about pick-up culture for a minute.

Back in the early days of the “pick-up-artist” subculture, a guy named Eben Pagen coined a term called “cocky & funny” to express a winning communication style that generated attraction between men and women.

Words matter, and Eben’s choice of words, while bringing a lot of success to a lot of guys, also steered many, many guys off course. Guys emphasized “cocky” and started acting like assholes towards women. Guys emphasized “funny” and started acting like clowns. Many went from socially awkward losers to socially awkward ass-clowns.

But the concept underneath Pagen’s word choice is sound; he just chose the wrong words.

I’d like to suggest that the right words are Confidence & Humor. Confidence, not cockiness, attracts women like no other. Women want to be with a man who is confident in himself, in his abilities, in his place in the world, in his leadership. Humor, not merely being “funny,” has to do with having a unique perspective on the world, and on not taking reality too seriously.

The combination is what women truly want. A woman might call up a confident man to fix something, but if he lacks this unique perspective on the world that puts him at ease, if he lacks humor, she won’t be as attracted to him, because she doesn’t have any fun in his presence. A woman might enjoy partying with a man who has humor, because she feels at ease with him and enjoys his presence, but if he lacks confidence in himself and in what he wants, she will not see him as a man, a masculine creature, a sexual creature.

Back on track: your profile must exude confidence & humor. Why do I say exude? What rule did we just learn? Yes, that’s right, your profile must convey — and not in a declarative fashion — that you are a man who trusts himself, his place in the world, who is on his mission, and who doesn’t take any of it too seriously.

That last part is particularly important, and it leads us directly into the third principle. . .

Not Taking Life Too Seriously

Online dating, just like real-life dating, is a delicate balance: you must try, but not too hard.

Trying too hard is the kiss of death for men. An attractive, high-status male epitomizes ease in all his interactions with the world. He doesn’t overwork it.

A man who lacks confidence overworks it. He tries to “kill it” so hard that his efforts become a turn-off. Everyone can see him struggling. He’s a try-hard.

This is a delicate balance to strike, and the best way to strike it is to get feedback. But here are some general attitudes to start cultivating in yourself.

  • You’re a busy guy. You’re not on the online dating website 24/7.
  • You’re not super invested in the outcome of online dating. If you make cool friends, awesome. If you don’t, awesome. You might meet a girl you really like. Who knows?
  • Online dating is not your mission in life; your mission in life is your mission in life.
  • Your mission in life, by the way, should suck up at least 80% of your waking life. If it doesn’t, you need to get your life to a place where it does. The search for a woman should not suck up more than (at most!) 20% of your life.

Rewrite your dating profile with these principles in mind: Show don’t tell, convey confidence & humor, and don’t take any of it too seriously, and your results will begin to improve auto-magically.

If you get stuck, give me a ring.

Get the eBook! Tips that maximize your time spent online dating for minimum effort. Just $7.99. Instant PDF download. Click the cover to buy

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One thought on “Your Online Dating Profile Needs Work

  1. Alexia October 21, 2013 at 2:16 am Reply

    great tips. taking the time to spruce up your profile not only helps you stand out from the crowd but i believe will also lead to more dates. if i’m on a site looking for a guy, i’m going to want to see great pics and a profile that actually shows off their personality.

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