Internet dating is no longer seen as the kingdom of the sad and lonely, where all the left-on-the-shelf waifs and strays go to find love. Social networking sites have made dating online an acceptable, straightforward and often necessary option for people with busy lives. So why do so many people have trouble finding that perfect partner?
The two things that let prospective daters down are actually the most important aspects of their online profile:
A - their photo
Well, the photo part it easy - you upload one to your profile and, in some cases, crop or reposition it and hey presto! (I'm assuming you have one that's in focus, shows your actual face - as opposed to the back of your head - and is either a head and shoulders portrait or presents you standing reasonably close to the camera). The written part though, can be more problematic.
If you're not great with words, descriptions or if you're a bit short of ideas, try my top five tips for writing a winning profile:
1. Take inspiration. Have a look at what other members have written. What sort of impression do they give? Do they make the writer sound positive? Are they overly enthusiastic? Are there any spelling or grammatical mistakes? Do they sound like a hundred other profiles? Make a note of anything you think might be useful - words, phrases, topics.
2. Don't write it online. I know what you're thinking - "but hey, I'm already online, only minutes away from browsing through photos of thousands of possible partners and all I have to do is add a few lines to describe myself. I'll just scribble down some ideas and I'm all set, right?" NO! Here's what you do: log off the dating site, think about what you want to say and allow yourself the time to do it properly. Then open a Word document, or grab a pen and paper and start writing.
3. Be positive. Make two lists. The first one should be about you, listing all the things you feel are positive in your life, that motivate you, get you excited, enthusiastic, fascinate you or get you thinking. Also, consider what you want out of life, where are you going? What are your plans? (It's okay if you don't have any.) The second list must describe what you're looking for. It may be that it's pretty much a reflection of your first list, and that's okay.
3. Tell the truth. Don't invent a whole new life for yourself just to sound interesting. Never lie about your age, height or anything else that will be perfectly obvious to a prospective partner when he/she turns up for that first date.
4. Use language. If the written word isn't one of your strong points, you can always get a little help. You might find you've used the same word several times in your writing. If so, grab a thesaurus, or if you're on a computer, do a right click on the word for synonyms (words or phrases that mean the same, or similar). You can also browse the Internet for ideas around your particular passions, so instead of saying "I'm interested in old movies", you might say "I'm fascinated by classic cinema of the 1940's". This isn't a lie, but it does make you sound a little more culturally aware, and that gives you an advantage.
5. Who am I? When you've got something near to a finished profile, try and put yourself in the position of the kind of person you're looking for. What would that person get from your summary? How do you come across? And most importantly, is this the sort of profile that would make you think "Hey, this person sounds really appealing".
Don't forget to check spelling etc, and finally, if you have a friend who you know will offer an honest opinion, ask them to read your work before you put it out there for the rest of the world to see.
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