picking an online dating username

  • Joseph1215
  • 23917311
  • GreenEyedPoet
  • PatsFanFromTX

If I gave you these four online dating usernames (all made up, of course), which profile do you think you’d click on? I’d venture to say, solely based on the username, that you’d choose the third or fourth one. While the username is sometimes an afterthought for online daters, I encourage you to instead think of it more as an executive summary. It is one additional chance to share an extra tidbit about yourself in online dating land. Using a computer-generated number or your first name is analogous to wearing a black suit and white shirt amidst a line of others in a black suit and white shirt. Having a fun, clever username adds some flair, like a red checkered tie or purple nails with fancy designs on them. (Yes—I am prone to doing this!)

Let’s say you walked into a bookstore, and there was a book called The Scientific Answers to Your Most Common Questions. Would you buy it? Now, what if the title was instead Why Do Men Have Nipples? Hundreds of Questions You’d Only Ask a Doctor After Your Third Martini? Perhaps some of us, out of embarrassment alone, would opt for the first choice, but I’m guessing that most of us would at least be intrigued by the shocking title of the second choice… and then go home and buy it online so no one can tell just how intrigued we are! (For the record, this is a real book. I own it. Don’t judge.)

Now, back to usernames…

When dating online, one objective is to catch someone’s attention quickly. We talked about it once with “email bait” as well. There are so many options out there, so it’s important to take every opportunity to differentiate yourself. As an exercise, think of two or three words that really define you. Then, try to string them together into a username. I’d much rather date a “PatsFanFromTX” over a “23917311” any day. The first username has me curious. When did this person move from Texas? And why would he or she then become a Patriots fan? I’ve learned a lot about this person in a mere thirteen characters. Let’s also try to avoid anything negative, like “LonelyInPhilly” or “JustBeenDumped.”

Before you take the leap and post your username, though, make sure it doesn’t have any undesired meanings. For example, if you’re from Virginia but cheer for New York football teams, you might want to stay away from something like “VAGiantsFan.” Along those lines, if you’re from Alabama, definitely avoid things like “AnALfan.” Or how about “Buttongirl,” who loves her collection of vintage buttons and brooches? It’s probably best to leave anything that might be misconstrued as a body part out of your username.

With that, go forth and name yourself!

Erika Ettin is the founder of A Little Nudge and author of acclaimed Love at First Site.  Her work has been seen on NPR, Talk Philly, The Washington Post, and more.  To join her mailing list for tips and events, please join here.
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