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Online Dating: Writing The Profile

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Ideas for how to write a profile that might help you cut through some of the bull later on.

When you look at the millions of profiles on Match.com or eHarmony or OKCupid.com or any of the websites out there attempting to match you up with the person of your dreams, what do you see? Is there anything in the profile that stands out, that helps you feel as if you can really "see" that person?

Most people write profiles that sound pretty much like everyone elses. They dryly list off some superficial things that they are looking for, generic, cookie-cutter descriptions that anyone can make themselves believe they fit into...or not. What they like to do, if they are athletic or not (which really means where they are weightwise), if family or religion are important, what they do for a living, etc.
(I remember back in the 90s when I was just starting to date after my divorce, it seemed like 99% of the men wrote something like, "I like to drink a glass of wine by the fire and take walks along the ocean"....and we were in Minnesota! I definitely did NOT want to date those guys! It was as if they were saying "I'm not really very interesting and so I'm going to tell women what I think they want to hear." Ugh! Boring!)

You could close your eyes and point randomly for all the good it does to help you cull out who might be an interesting person to date. These kinds of profile seem to be the most popular and yet tell you the least about who the person really is.
If you've been out in the dating scene for a while, or not, you know it can be difficult to get to know someone. It can take months before you really know who the person is, what they're like in their real lives. And often, by the time you do, even if what you find out is bad, you've gotten too attached and don't know how to let them go with grace. I always say it takes at least Four Seasons to really get to know someone.

I believe we owe it to ourselves and others to be as clear as we can be, up front, about who we are and what we are looking for. I always say that we want to write our profiles so that we encourage and entice the kind of person we are looking for and discourage the kind of people we do not want to meet.

If your profile is bland and indirect what will attract people to you and what kind of people will be out looking to find out more? If your profile says nothing very real or personal then the people who contact you are either looking for someone who doesn't have too much of their own personality or they are simply looking at your photo and liking the way you look. Maybe they are looking for someone who won't be direct so maybe they want you to be passive and malleable?

Think about what kind of person you want to attract and think about what you most want someone to know about you. If you are a woman and you have had trouble with men who try to control you, for instance, what could you write about yourself that would discourage these kind of men from contacting you?

"While I enjoy partnership in my relationships, I like to maintain my own opinions and enjoy my independent time with friends and other activities. I don't need to be with someone 24/7".

If you are a man who has a pattern of attaching to women who are emotionally unavailable and lack commitment:

"I enjoy connection and emotional intimacy and am looking for someone who has a high tolerance for relationality, who is ready to commit to someone once they've checked them out sufficiently".

For women who tend to find men who are emotionally unavailable:

"It is important to me to verbally process my relationships with my partner and would like to find someone who shares this value".

You can also make statements about what kind of relationship or what relationship values you want someone to share:

"I want someone who is willing to look at their own issues and doesn't blame everyone else for what happens in their life."

"I want someone who has skills at problem solving and is committed to working on issues with their partner, who doesn't run away when tough issues come up...because they always do."

I think it pays to be very honest in a profile. Let people know if weight is an issue or if you have health issues. It will come up and then, if the other person feels caught off guard or lied to, they will likely not want another date and you will have set yourself up for feeling hurt and rejected. Why do that to yourself???
What do you have to lose? Lots of failed dates where you end up feeling crappy about yourself? I think most of us could do without that!!

I work with my clients a lot on this profile writing piece as I believe it is a crucial part of dating smarter. It helps to shortcut the process and cull out people who you wouldn't fit with or who won't really be into you. The clearer you are about who you are, what you want and don't want, the more information it gives to prospective dates so they can choose more wisely. And if someone reads your profile full of this and still wants to date you it probably means they have been doing some of their own work and might have more to offer to you in a relationship over time.

As always, I appreciate your feedback and requests for new blogs!

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