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Put Some Power In Your Profile


When it comes to crafting a great profile, some say it’s an art; others refer to scientific data to figure out what works. Dr. Helen Fisher explains why it’s really a bit of both and how to use it yourself.

By Theo Pauline Nestor

s writing a profile an art or a science? Actually, it’s a bit of both. The art is choosing just the right words to paint a picture of yourself that is specific, enticing, and yet accurate enough to be an advertisement for your best self rather than mere over-the-top bragging. The science comes in when you
Dr. Fisher cautions online daters to think carefully when choosing a username.
increase your chances of grabbing your best match’s attention by strategically applying the latest research to inform your choice of words. Read on for some great advice on writing a knock-your-socks-off profile from one of the world’s leading love researchers, Dr. Helen Fisher.

The art of love is all in the details
“The number one mistake profile writers make is forgetting the details,” says Dr. Helen Fisher, Chief Scientific Advisor for Chemistry.com and author of Why Him? Why Her? Finding Real Love by Understanding Your Personality Type. “They go for the clichés and leave out the relevant details. If you like comedy, say what movies you like, or list your favorite comedians. Be as specific as possible. Yes, some details may be off-putting to some readers, but as Mae West said, ‘It’s better to be looked over than overlooked.’” Details will give people something to write to you about in an email introduction. If you say you like music and tropical vacations, you’re one of millions, but if you say you love Bruce Springsteen and the North Shore of Oahu, you may just be someone’s perfect match.

Similarly, Dr. Fisher cautions online daters to think carefully when choosing a username. Pick something that is intriguing, easy to remember and not too clichéd or obvious. It’s only one word, but besides your thumbnail photo, it’s the first impression you’re making on anyone who finds you. So choose wisely and make it work! “Courtship is about winning,” says Fisher. “We are constantly adorning ourselves with things that advertise who were are — watches, makeup, accessories — and on the Internet, words are what we’ve got to do that advertising. Why not make use of these words?”

The science of love means knowing your type
“Clearly examine the actual words you use, because they’re like little bombs that go off in the brain of anyone reading your profile,” says Fisher. And an important key in selecting those words, says Fisher, is identifying your own personality type and the verbiage that your type tends to favor. Fisher’s research involving 178,000 participants on Chemistry.com revealed that one’s preferred verbiage when it comes to profiles were directly related to the four personality types described in Fisher’s book, Why Him? Why Her? The first step in applying this knowledge to your own profile, says Fisher, is to ensure that the words you choose accurately represent your personality type. Here’s the lowdown on the four personality types and their favorite word choices.

The Explorer
Explorers are risk-takers who love to be spontaneous. Are you able to pack your bags and take off for Tanzania on short notice? Then you’re probably an Explorer. This
Negotiators tend to be the most romantic and idealistic of all the personality types.
personality type craves novelty and is characterized by enthusiasm, mental flexibility, creativity, optimism and curiosity. The most popular word used by Explorers in their profiles is adventure. Other Explorer favorites include: venture, spontaneity/spontaneous, energy, new, fun, traveling, outgoing, passion and active. If you love adventure, be sure to use that word and others from the Explorer list as Explorers match very well with other Explorers who share their zest for life in the fast lane.

The Builder
Builders are “the guardians of tradition” and tend to be calm, social, cautious, persistent, loyal and orderly. Builders are fond of social networking and managing business, family and social situations. The most commonly used word for Builders is family. Also topping the Builder’s preferred word list: honesty, caring, moral/morals, respect, loyal, trust, values, loving and trustworthy. Like Explorers, Builders tend to match well with their own kind. Both enjoy building and maintaining social networks and calm conversations in which facts are exchanged.

The Director
Analytic, tough-minded and direct, Directors are competitive types who can examine their choices without getting their emotions involved. Self-possessed and exacting, Directors are practical people who are often mechanically, mathematically and sometimes musically skilled. The top word choice for Directors is actually tie between intelligent and intelligence. Other words commonly favored by Directors include: intellectual, debate, geek, nerd/nerdy, ambition/ambitious, driven, politics, challenge/challenging and real. Hillary Clinton could be the Director’s poster child. Director types are often drawn to those whose personality is defined in the final category: the Negotiator.

The Negotiator
If Hillary is the quintessential Director, Bill Clinton is very much a Negotiator. As big-picture thinkers with executive-level social skills, Negotiators are intuitive, nurturing, agreeable, altruistic and emotionally expressive. Passion and passionate are the Negotiator’s favored words; they also prefer words like: real, heart, kind/kindness, sensitive, read/reader, sweet, learning/learn, random and empathy/empathetic. Negotiators tend to be the most romantic and idealistic of all the personality types and are seeking a true “soul mate.” Not much for casual dating, Negotiators tend to match well with Directors and other Negotiators.

What words should you leave out of your profile?
Fisher cautions online daters to leave out the sexual innuendo, swear words and misspellings, and to guard against bragging too much in their profiles — all of which can be a real turn-off. And, remember, the profile’s job is just to get other people’s attention; after that, you can decide if there’s enough potential between you and another person to warrant further investigation into your compatibility.


Theo Pauline Nestor is the author of How to Sleep Alone in King-Size Bed: A Memoir of Starting Over and a regular contributor to Happen magazine.

Interested in taking Dr. Helen Fisher’s personality test? Visit Chemistry.com today!

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