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Online dating profiles: What to include and what to avoid

Vicki Clinebell majored in journalism at the University of Colorado, and headed an advertising agency before beginning a long career in broadcasting, spanning production and copywriting to sales and management for an ABC affiliate statio...

Make your profile smart & safe

Make an online dating profile that delivers a match! Be smart and specific, with honest information.

Young woman on bed with laptop

More and more relationships have gotten their start through matches made on online dating sites. What's the secret to writing a great online dating profile that delivers positive results?

Know the type of person you want to attract

You won't get what you need from an online dating service unless you are clear about what you want! Some of your expectations will be basic: Age, educational level, perhaps religious beliefs. Others are core values that you are seeking in a partner. Whatever your relationship goals are, be absolutely honest… and explain what you are looking for. This could be a long-term, committed relationship that might eventually lead to marriage, or simply someone compatible to have fun with now. Discussing what is important to you in a relationship gives the people reading your profile a sense of who you are and filters out those who are looking for a different kind of connection.

Describing yourself

Next to choosing your online dating site, the most important thing you'll tackle is writing your profile. How you come across determines the type of person who will be attracted to you and want to make contact to explore the possibility of a relationship. Be yourself and be confident. You also need to be realistic and open-minded. Reflect your preferences but keep your expectations grounded in reality. There are nice ways to express absolutes without sounding exclusionary — "allergic to cigarette smoke" sounds more positive than "absolutely no smokers!"

A lighthearted and fun profile scores points, while negative comments discourage responses. Love your career, your hobbies, traveling? Talk about it and give potential matches some insight into who you really are. Embellishing the facts means you won't make a true connection, so tell it like it really is. You don't have to be specific about your age or physical appearance, but your results will be better if you don't lie or stretch the truth. Remember that the goal here is to find a partner and that eventually you will be meeting in person. The extra 20 pounds or 10 years that you subtracted from your profile will come back to haunt you when you meet face-to-face.

What to avoid

While online dating sites make an effort to screen their clients, it's always smart to take safety precautions on your own. Don't include specific information such as your address, phone number or place of employment on your profile. Most online sites also won't list your last name to protect against unwanted contacts. Always be careful about the very personal information you share.

Avoid negative language and check your grammar and spelling before you submit your profile. You're making a first impression, so polish it to a shine and present yourself well.

More relationship tips:

What you can learn about a guy through Facebook
Get what you deserve in relationships

Sticking to your guns: Tips for keeping your priorities straight

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