In the last several years that I’ve worked as a dating coach, so much of my advice has had to become specific to online dating because it has essentially become the standard of dating today. Although I’m far from having concocted the perfect formula for writing a successful online profile, I have been able to dissect online profiles down to some key components. I’ll share my top components with you so that you too can spruce up your profile!

Profiles tell the reader, your potential match, two stories: “your story” as an individual and “your story” as part of a couple.

If you read a person’s profile in its entirety (yes, that means looking past the picture!) and they’ve adequately filled it out, you’ll know a bit about what they do and their interests based on what they’re saying. You’ll also learn about them based on how they’re saying it. Does the person seem excited about their activities and about meeting someone online? Or, do they sound a little shy? What kind of words are they using? Hyperbolic words like amazing, awesome, and fantastic tend to show that the writer is excited and upbeat about what they’re saying. Words like relaxed and cool tend to show that, well, the writer is relaxed and cool! You have to think of an online profile as though the person is talking directly to you – how do they sound? How invested do they sound? Is that in line with your expectations of the type of person you’d like to meet? Only you know the answer to that!

If you are someone who gets easily excited and passionate about something, you might find that someone who seems laissez-faire about most things is too laid-back for you. On the other hand, if you’re the more laid-back type, someone with a penchant for too many details might come off as overbearing or too “Type A” for you. Does the person’s profile have more positive statements or negative ones? If you’re the “silver lining,” optimist type, you’ll relate better to someone whose profile isn’t filled with negative statements!

Essentially it comes down to this, “how does this person’s profile make you feel?”

Which brings me to the second story that profiles often tell; the story of the two of you as a potential couple. This comes from a combination of a few things, including the obvious sections of the profile where people write about “their ideal match” or “ideal date.” Is the person’s ideal date so far from yours that you wonder if you have similar interests? When describing their ideal match, do they discuss generalized qualities they find attractive? Or, is there a laundry list of traits you’d have to match up to? (i.e. – puzzle piece syndrome!) Taking all that information into account is what paints the bigger picture of the story of the two of you. Again, how does it make you feel?

Here’s a concrete example to further explain what I mean: I recently was contacted by a guy who had a cool job, seemed intelligent, and had some great pictures. When I read his profile, I noticed that although he had done all these interesting things, the written descriptions in his profile were basically a request list for the “type of woman he wanted to meet.” He continuously stated, “she should be like this, this, and this…” It’s almost like he was listing what someone had to do to date him, rather than showing what he had to offer a potential date. Amidst his checklist, I picked up on some signs of disgruntlement with online dating which, to me, is always a bad sign. No one is forcing you to put a profile up! Needless to say, I responded to his sweet message and our communication started going back and forth with questions and stories about each other. After a few messages had been exchanged, I caught on to the fact that practically every message he sent had some negative anchor to it, whether it be about online dating, previous girls he’d met, or the cool job he no longer loved.

Basically — his messages didn’t make me feel good anymore. Not feel good as in them being flattering, but more so that any picture I had painted of our possible date (using the content and context of his messages) felt clouded over by negativity and judgment (the laundry list of things he wants his ideal girlfriend to be). So, I told him that and I stopped responding.

The bottom line is that we (all human beings, not just women or men) are attracted to fun, interesting individuals! Have you ever received a message so funny or so thoughtful that you couldn’t wait to respond? Or read someone’s profile and really wanted to write to them because you felt a connection? That’s your subconscious speaking, based on the subtleties of what they wrote! So do yourself a favor, re-read your profile and see what kind of story you’re leaving for someone to write!

Melissa E. Malka is a dating coach and matchmaker in Chicago, IL. She’s been described as “a cross between Darwin and the Millionaire Matchmaker” and would love to hear from you here.
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