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Build the perfect online dating profile

Whether you’ve been online dating for a while and notice you are attracting more than a few freaks — or if you’re new to it and want to get off to the best start — a good profile is essential to getting it right. What works when it comes to online dating?

Online dating brings with it multiple considerations: from which site to use to how you portray yourself and, of course, which candidates are lucky enough for offline shenanigans. Arguably, your profile is one of the most important choices you can make as it may dictate which kind of attention you get and from whom.

Find the right site

A lot of your friends have tried a lot of sites and they’ll have a pretty good sense of the “demographics” for each. Ask around. Anecdotally, free sites like Plenty of Fish might lead to people looking for plenty of hook-ups. Guardian Soulmates has a reputation for attracting people who are more serious but potentially a bit older. You get the picture: choose carefully and tailor your profile appropriately.

Be honest

Nicole, a marketing executive from London, met her long-term partner, James, on My Single Friend, the site that allows your friends to sell you to the opposite sex. Given that she’d previously tried a few sites, we sought her advice on what attracts a real prospect. She starts with the best advice of all: “In a way, it’s when you’re writing your profile that you determine whether you’re ready to start dating at all, because in order to be attractive to other people, you have to be in a place where you are happy with yourself. So be honest with yourself — don’t put that you like outdoor sports or hardcore clubbing if you can’t bear those activities — you won’t impress anyone by fibbing or by hanging off a cliff face in the pursuit of ‘extreme adrenaline’ when you’d rather be in a bar.”

Start writing

With Nicole’s help and a bit of our own advice, we’ve got some quick tips to get that profile written.

  • Start with a glass of wine to loosen things up.
  • Spend time looking through other female profiles to see what they have written. That way you’ll pick up the cliché phrases soon enough — and then you should avoid them.
  • Refrain from putting too much detail in. First, you need to save something to talk about on the date and, more importantly, there’s a security aspect. Nicole says, “I wouldn’t have felt comfortable divulging any information which they could use to track me down outside of the site.”
  • If the site asks you declare your intentions — for example, if you are seeking to marry or want children — you must be honest. The last thing you would want is a dating success story that had to end as you don’t want the same things.

A picture gets 1,000 dates

For further expertise we consulted online dating site OKCupid, not only because it has an amusing and detailed (adult-content) blog but also because it’s purported to have a Stephen Hawking-kind-of-smart algorithm that equals successful matches. At the end of the day, they admit it’s all about the picture. So smile, ladies, and consider the following.

  • Photos where women make direct eye contact fare better, as do those where you are smiling instead of posing. So, really, stop making that duckface. Model pouts tend to work best on models.
  • Speaking of models, OKCupid tells us that photos in which women are in model-like shots also do fairly well, so look at some of your professional endeavours. Do you have a decent headshot from work? What profile picture works best in other social media? Use a selection of those.
  • Think like a man. If you have a good body, flaunt it. Don’t look too conceited but don’t hold back either.
  • Also remember that not everyone knows your back story. You might love that photo of you in a traditional Thai costume as you think it makes you look adventurous but, with its high collar, he might think you’re in some frumpy, albeit exotic looking pyjamas. Reconsider.

Finally, be authentic. As Nicole reminds us, “Choosing a good picture is important but it needs to be realistic. There’s no point starting off by trying to pull the wool over the other person’s eyes.”

More dating tips

How to handle the awkward adventures of online dating
Do you have relationship envy?
Single and selling yourself

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