How not to write an online dating profile

ERIKA ETTIN
Last updated 09:48 07/08/2014
online dating

WHAT NOT TO DO: Don't whinge, don't go on about how busy you are and think more haiku than novel in length.

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Throughout the course of my articles, I have doled out advice and tips for online dagin profile-writing, so when a rare gem comes across that's so good (and by good, I actually mean really horribly bad) and actually goes against any piece of advice I could ever give, I feel that it's my duty to share.

Remember, this is an example of what not to do. (I've even taken out a whole paragraph of writing from it, believe it or not.)

Here it is:

"I'm more of a "journey" than a "destination" sort of guy so let me kick this off with a little narrative snapshot of what went down during the past couple of months in my world so you can get a sense of what made me the man I am today. In October, I moved (here) to start my first real job ever: baby corporate lawyer at a giant, multi-national law firm. The expectation was that I'd order dinner into the office and take dial cars home with alarming frequency because I'd be working so hard. I wasn't exactly happy about this, but I was also excited to take on the challenge of actual responsibility after so many years studying things that were supposed to prepare me for it. I saw no reason to give up on finding some sort of work/life balance before I'd even tried. After all, lots of lawyers (not to mention other professionals) have worked that hard before and continue to do so routinely. Total immersion in whatever it is you happen to be doing teaches you things about the structure and implications of that (that) would never register during a mere dalliance. I was genuinely looking forward to learning all these secrets about how the world works and contributing to something larger than myself, and maybe figuring what I might like to do with the rest of my life (or just the next couple of years) in the process. I always try to accentuate the positive.

"Anyway, it really didn't work out. Because of forces beyond my control or comprehension, I spent most of those first few months sitting on my ass and reading on the internet about the outside world where people actually did things for a living. I also played a lot of facebook scrabble... Things are starting to pick up a little now, but it also turns out that corporate law is nowhere near as cool as I hoped it might be and it doesn't look like there's much I can do about it if I work harder. Oh, well. Sometimes things don't go as planned, but that's part of the fun!

"I also had a girlfriend for most of the period described above and my relationship with her was much more important than any frustrations I felt about the futility of my job. We have since parted ways amicably. Hence, Match.com.

"It just took me, like, 1,000 characters to draw the profound conclusion that I joined an on-line dating site to try and meet girls. Amazing. In my defense, I studied literature in college and wanted to be a writer when I was younger (who can remember?), so I sometimes make things a little more complicated and overwrought than they need to be. I'm no drama king, though. It's only for the aesthetics... did I make you smile?"

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The main problems... 

Too long: As a general rule of thumb, a few sentences are not enough, but anything over three paragraphs is way too long. (Remember that I took out a whole paragraph!) People will simply see the length and think, "I don't have time to read this," and click on someone else's profile. No need to tell your life story. Save it for the date... and even then, leave something to mystery!

Too negative: No one wants to date a Negative Nellie, so stay away from talking about bad times in your life and ex-girlfriends or boyfriends. People will think, "You hate your job and you just broke up with your girlfriend. What's next for you?"

Too busy: We all have busy jobs, but leading with this is not the way to go because it only leads to one question: does he even have time to date? Profiles are not supposed to be a stream of consciousness narrative about your life story. He would have even been better off using the worst line out there, "I love to laugh and have fun," and nothing else.

- Erika Ettin is the founder of A Little Nudge, where she helps others navigate the often intimidating world of online dating by writing unique profiles, helping to choose the best profile pictures, writing one-of-a-kind emails to get someone's attention, and planning dates. Join her newsletter for updates and tips.

 

- MCT News Service

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