Have you ever read one of those profiles that just seems to go on and on with no end in sight? It’s not like this person is trying to engage the reader at all! It’s more like a self-indulgent soliloquy you’d think was meant for performing a one-man show.

Let’s say you’re at work and you’re listening to a presentation on the merits of using LIFO (last in, first out) versus FIFO (first in, first out) accounting. To me, this topic sounds fairly snooze-worthy (though I do remember those terms from business school, so I guess I don’t find it that boring), so it would be nicer if the presenter instead engaged me somewhat during the presentation. What if, rather than simply defining LIFO and FIFO (wake me up in an hour), the presenter started with, “Which carton of milk would you rather buy at the supermarket—the first one that was put on the shelf, or the last?” That I might listen to! (Though, since supermarkets know this, they usually put the newer milk behind the older milk so that the older stuff sells first. If you can fit your arm back into that milk fridge at the store, which I’m generally too short to do, you might be rewarded with a few extra days of use . . . and your first ever milk-induced bruise.)

The same concept applies to online dating profiles. I suggest adding a question or two to your profile. This way, you’re engaging the potential readers rather than boring them with your life story.

It’s best to assume, just like with the “interesting picture,” that, in general, no one knows what to say in that first online dating email. For that reason, you want to make it as easy as possible for someone to write to you. Asking questions in your profile gives them a reason to write, even if that simply means answering your question. Even rhetorical questions work. Just as long as there’s a well-placed question mark, you’re good to go.

Let’s look at two examples:

  1. When I’m not out training for a race, you can find me trying a new restaurant in the city. Any good recommendations?

A client of mine actually used a similar line to this and received so many recommendations (and dates) that she didn’t know what to do with all of them! Good problems, my friends, good problems.

  1. I think brunch is one of the best inventions ever made. Don’t you agree?

Sticking with the food theme, this question, while seemingly rhetorical, could actually elicit some pretty funny responses, such as, “I actually think brunch is weird, or maybe I just don’t like the thought of having a meatloaf and oatmeal on the same side of the menu,” or “My favorite day of the week is Sunday since it’s perfectly acceptable to sit at brunch for three hours over a coffee and a mimosa. Do you have a favorite brunch place in town?”

Remember the point of the online dating profile—to catch someone’s attention and ultimately meet in person. What better way is there to do that than to ask a question? (See what I did there?)

Erika Ettin is the Founder of A Little Nudge, where she helps people navigate the world of online dating. Her services include: writing unique profiles to get you noticed, helping to choose your best profile pictures, writing one-of-a-kind emails to get someone’s attention, and planning dates. Want to connect with Erika? Join her newsletter for updates and tips.
  1. Food is one topic that can attract some attention, but a brief list of one’s enjoyments, those particular interests that motivate us on a daily basis, whether food, exercise, sports, politics can lead one to contact you, not reinventing the wheel here. No one can realistically expect or even want a partner whose background and interests are a “perfect match”….differences in attitudes and experiences can also be enriching…but shared passions in a couple of aspects of life can be the hook to a marvelous relationship.

    1. First, age is in the eye of the beholder, but my advice would be exactly the same. Present yourself well through profile and photos. And the numbers are actually in your favor.

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