Today’s guest blog comes from psychologist, author and relationship expert Dr. Seth Meyers, who will be joining us regularly with his words of wisdom. Here he tackles a dreaded task for some — filling out that online dating profile.
When it comes to writing your online dating profile, it’s easy to let anxiety get the best of you. Suddenly, writing your own profile catapults you onto an auction block of sorts, and your profile becomes your sales device and marketing tool. One of the mistakes men and women make in writing their dating profile is to end up describing themselves in a way that comes across as “trying too hard.”
There are several ways in which a person can try too hard to come across as attractive to others. Below, I’ve included the main examples.
Too funny. Sure, everyone loves a sense of humor, but people aren’t necessarily looking for a headlining comic in a relationship. Yet some online profiles have the humor down to a logarithm: a joke or sarcastic statement every fourth sentence, and self-deprecating humor throughout. The danger with being too funny in your profile is that you can actually turn some people off. While your average person will have a decent sense of humor, he or she’d probably feel outclassed dating someone as funny as say, Kathy Griffin or David Letterman. Accordingly, your attempt to be funny has actually worked against you.
Too sarcastic. Please listen when I say this: There is a major difference between funny and sarcastic. Funny is good but sarcastic puts people off. In fact, men and women usually use sarcasm in their profile and in dating as a defense mechanism. Because they feel anxious, nervous, or afraid of rejection, they try to appear strong, bold, and sarcastic, believing that they will look more confident as a result. Watch your distorted thinking when it comes to sarcasm, because too much too soon will push a normal person away.
Too intelligent. It’s natural to want to appear to be an intelligent person, but remind yourself that you don’t need to prove your SAT score on the first date with someone. In fact, most people are looking for someone who is average or above average in terms of intelligence. If you come across as too clever or intelligent in your profile, you will intimidate a lot of people who fear that you’re out of their league.
Too successful. Don’t fall into the trap of believing that you need to be financially or professionally successful in order to be attractive to others. Most of us, after all, are doing our best with what we’ve got. Regardless of what you do for work, don’t either idealize it or devalue it in your profile. If you mop floors, there’s no need to apologize: simply say that you clean houses or buildings. If you’re the president of a company, there’s no need to intimidate others: simply say that you run a company that [insert company’s purpose]. Never spend too much time focusing on what others will think of your profession — unless you know and like them well, who cares what they think?
Too cool. Above all the “too” categories, this is the one that poses the greatest threat to the chances of finding a good catch. In the effort to cast yourself in a good light, don’t try too hard to come across as breezy, well-liked, or the life of the party. Men and women often make the mistake in their profiles of coming across as disingenuous or overly image-conscious. The best approach is to come across as real and down to earth.
So, what is the goal? How should men and women represent themselves in a way that actually attracts others?
Requirement: Down to Earth. A mature adult is going to be approachable, down to earth, and friendly. This is the ultimate goal, and coming across as down to earth in your profile is the most effective way for you to interest others in the online dating world. At the end of the day, all anyone really wants is someone to connect with, someone who accepts them, and someone to spend time with. If you come across as someone who is honest, real, and easy to be with, you will attract others.
Bonus: Humor. A little humor goes a long way, so include a humorous comment or two — max — in your profile. Include any more than that, and you’ll come across as trying too hard. Overall, a little humor is good — a bonus, but not a requirement. After all, not everyone is funny, and not everyone needs to be funny. As a rule, I always recommend that an individual be fully authentic with one exception: If you are a very sarcastic person, please don’t reveal that color in your profile. Sarcastic people often come across as hostile or bitter, and ultimately put off others. Think about it: No one wants to deal with negativity on an ongoing basis. If you are a very sarcastic person, spend some time thinking about why you use sarcasm as a defense mechanism — because it most definitely is a defense mechanism.
Writing your dating profile doesn’t have to be a terribly anxiety-provoking process. As you write it, be nice to yourself, understand that you don’t have to extraordinary in every way to find a compatible partner, and keep in mind the tips described above.
Learn more about Dr. Seth and his book, Dr. Seth’s Love Prescription: Find the Love You Deserve .
Have you been guilty of enhancing your dating profile in any way? What do you see people doing with their profiles that turns you off?