It's no secret that I'm a fan of online dating. I met my better half online. With a little help from a male friend, I weeded out guys based on their profile. When my friend saw my significant other's dating profile, he read it with his mouth open. "He is the male version of you! You both have the exact same profile. You have to write him back." I did, and the rest is history.
When people meet us, they swear we have been together forever. That's the kind of chemistry we've always had. And it all started with our dating profiles and an open mind.
Based on my online experience, I put together a list of common dating profile mistakes that men make, in no particular order:
1) Using a Picture With Another Person In It.
When you shop for a home, you want to picture yourself in it. The last thing you want to see is the seller’s family sitting in the living room as you view the house. So when it comes to online dating, using a photo with someone else in it is a no-no. We want to visualize ourselves with you and only you….not with your sister, your aunt, your cousin, or a cropped photo of you with another woman's arm around you.
A lot of people simply don’t have very many pictures of themselves. But that's no excuse to post a photo of you and your ex. Call a friend and ask them to take a few pictures of you.
2) Excessive Spelling and Grammar Mistakes
It gives off the impression that you wrote your profile in 32 seconds. If you had a wonderful overall profile, I’ll forgive a spelling or typographical error. Everyone makes mistakes. But excessive mistakes give me the feeling that you rushed through it. In that case, I’m moving on to the next person.
3) Mirror Photos
Seriously, you couldn’t get anyone else to take a picture? In addition, I have ADD tendencies. I get distracted by what I see in the background. I focus on things that I shouldn’t, like why you have roses, grapes, and blackberries on your wallpaper, why there is a bottle of Hello Kitty bubble bath on the tub, or why you have dirty laundry on the floor. Your photo should make me think about you, and you only.
4) Taking the Questions Too Literally
Suppose the question is, “What is the last book you read?” If you literally just read a book on computer programming for a work certification license, I’m not particularly interested in hearing your summary of it. To the guy whose response to this question was-- “Physical Security Standards for Sensitive Compartmented Information Facilities. (I read it for work.)”---I really hope you are reading this.
Pick a book that you’ve recently read, or your favorite book, and tell me what you liked about it. Your last book can tell me a lot about your interests. I can determine whether you read fiction or non-fiction, what your hobbies are, what you are passionate about, or whether your favorite book is the same as mine.
5) Flat, One-Dimensional Profiles
Here is an example:
The one thing I am most passionate about:
The most important thing I am looking for in a person is:
The first thing people notice about me:
Easy going manner
Some additional information I want you to know:
I typically spend my leisure time:
Dining out and traveling
I have one question after reading this profile. How fast can I click the button for “Close this match”? The truth is that I have a hard time believing that you are interested in “passion” when your profile looks like it was filled out in 23 seconds. If you can’t spend at least 15 minutes filling out your profile, why would I think that you would be interested in putting in time getting to know me? “Fun, easy-going, and likes to travel” are not the impressions that I am left with. Instead, I have the vision of a guy who is not engaging and speaks in one word answers.
When you are filling out your profile, use full sentences and elaborate. Think about what you want to convey and give me a few sentences that will give me a sense of who you are and what you like. If you like to travel, tell me what country was your favorite to visit. If you like to go to restaurants, tell me about some of your favorite types of food.
6) Talking About Sex Too Soon
I am not a prude by any stretch of the imagination. But I want to feel safe and comfortable as I’m getting to know you. And three questions into our series of communication is not the place to say, “I want a lady in the street but a freak in the bedroom” or to ask me about my favorite position.
Hold off on the conversations that involve sex. Get to know me first and let us gradually shift to more intimate questions once our hobbies, values, and experiences match up.
7) Bashing Your Ex
Every single relationship is the product of two people making decisions and mistakes. Maturity speaks to being able to move on to a new relationship and leave your past in the past. A person who paints their ex in a negative light is a signal to me that they are consumed by anger and blame. Either way, that isn’t the type of person I want to start a relationship with. I automatically assume that if our relationship ends, they will talk about me the same way.
You would never bash a former employer at a job interview. So practice the same discretion in your dating life. Talk about the lessons you learned and the mistakes you made, but don’t call out your ex, especially when the two of you may have children together. Keep it classy.
8) No Picture In Your Profile
Pictures don’t ever tell the full story of who you are, but they do allow us the chance to get to know you a little. A lot of people on dating sites would not rank looks as THE most important item on their list; however, it is important that we are attracted to our potential mate. Often, a person’s photo doesn’t begin to tell how great they look in person. Other times, the photo looks way better than the real thing. That’s just the way it is.
Pictures tell you much more than just how attractive a person is. If I see a photo of you camping, I may think that you are adventurous or like the outdoors. If I see a picture of you at a sushi restaurant, I may think that you aren’t afraid to try new things. If I see a picture of you in the Caribbean, I’ll assume that you like to travel.
When you don’t have a picture at all, or you want me to request a photo from you, it makes me a little skeptical. Are you ten years older than you say you are? Are you seventeen? Are you hiding something? Then again, you just may be “internet shy” and not want your photo everywhere, which I can respect, as long as your profile is interesting.
Whatever the reason, fight your hesitation and put a photo up. In fact, put at least three pictures up. Allow people to see a close-up of your face, a full-body picture, and one other great photo of you.
The right match for you is a person who isn’t scared off because you don’t have the perfect BMI index or because you have a scar on your right arm. So be upfront. Use recent photos that provide us with a glimpse of who you are, not photos that try to hide who you really are.
9) Not Taking Advantage of “What I Want People To Know” or "About me"
This is a great time to expand on anything about your life. I’ve seen people mention that they are single fathers, they can speak 7 languages, they love horseback riding, traveling, writing poetry, or going to plays.
Here are five examples of some not-so-great responses to the following question:
Some additional information that I want people to know about me:
1) “You have to wait and see...”
2) “Not that I can think of right now”
3) “I think that about covers it.”
5) “For me to know and for you to find out :)”
You can say ANYTHING about your life and it’s probably going to be just fine. Don’t waste the opportunity to tell me more about yourself. If your profile has been great up until that point, it’s a total letdown to see a blank space, childish response, or some less than intriguing answers.
10) Wanting to Fast Track Communication
One popular dating site is a little unique in that it allows you to get to know a great deal of information about a person before you make the decision to email, call, or communicate openly with a person. You can choose to go through a short series of multiple-choice and open ended questions, or you can fast-track your communication and go straight to open communication.
I admit that it threw me off whenever a person wanted to jump straight to open communication or sent me their phone number. I enjoyed choosing my questions, sending them, and waiting for a response. It was fun and exciting. I wholeheartedly admit that I checked my email constantly, anxiously waiting to read their responses and to see what kind of questions they would ask me.
I also encountered a few guys who admitted that their subscription was ending and wanted to get to know me at lightning speed. "Here is my number. Call me tonight." Guys, you come off as three things: impatient, cheap, or looking for an immediate weekend fling. It's a turnoff. Renew your subscription and slow down.