Has Your Online Profile Gotten Stale?

Profiles have a way of aging at the speed of light. Here’s how to tell if yours is getting musty—and how to make it over with our expert’s advice.

by Evan Marc Katz

Sign #1: People used to respond…but they don’t anymore
You had a good run, but your star is fallen. You feel like Tracy Jordan trying to get a stand-up comedy special on the Logo channel. What have you done wrong and what can you do to reverse the curse?

Why it happens: If you understand that one of the most common methods of searching on many online dating sites is by “newest profiles,” then you shouldn’t be too shocked when
To avoid disappearing from people’s radar, update your profile with a recent fun photo.
the first wave of attention wears off. Once you’re no longer the catch of the day, people are less likely to be seeing you.

What to do: To avoid disappearing from people’s radar, consider posting a recent fun photo from a costume party or tweaking a boring sentence and giving it life. On some sites, a minor change like this will shuttle your profile back into the “new” category—yes, right along with the fresh faces who’ve just become members. And while not all online dating sites will slip you back in with the newbies that way, tweaking your profile is a good idea purely to give prospective dates a timely reason to get in touch. If you filled out your profile in the winter and it’s now spring, change your love of skiing to boogie-boarding, and someone may invite you to hit the beach. If your “last read” was The Da Vinci Code, change it to a more recent or buzz-worthy title like The Kite Runner so people can use it as an ice-breaker to introduce themselves.

Sign #2: People are responding, but in the wrong way
All you want is to go on a date with a nice guy or girl. And yet, the people emailing you seem to have other ideas… like wanting to know what you’re wearing.

Why it happens: I think you can guess what the problem is here. There’s a fine line between coming across as sexy and coming across as easy, so ladies, take a look at your profile and ask yourself: Are you sure a username like HottieLeslie or that cleavage-bearing photo you posted are really in your best interest? And that’s not all that can go wrong: Sometimes people unintentionally come across as desperate, recently dumped and gun-shy—or too marriage-minded, which may explain why your respondents wax on about honeymoon destinations and kids when all you want to do is grab lunch.

What to do: Take a look at your responses. What kind of pattern do you see: Are they too serious, too smarmy? If so, your profile may be sending them a strong message that that’s what you want them to say.
Paint a unique portrait of your Mr./Ms. Right;
give examples of
who that person would be.
Tweak accordingly and ask a friend to give it a once-over for any subtle messages that you can’t see. Because the bottom line is, the best thing you can do in your profile is not send any message. It’s purely a platform to state who you are—not what baggage may be lurking once they get to know you.

Sign #3: People are responding, but they’re the wrong people
Ah, the eternal problem. The only people who write to you are too short/fat/old/bald/poor and why don’t they get a clue?

Why it happens: Some people don’t read closely. Some people don’t read at all. Some people like going for the long shot. Whatever their reason, they’ll keep trying no matter what you write in your profile, so don’t stress about it. Just send a nice “no thanks.” Now, as for getting more cuties contacting you…

What to do: The answer is not, contrary to popular belief, to specify who you don’t want writing to you, like “No one over forty!” The flip side—“Tall men with stable jobs only”—is equally ineffective. Why? Because any trace of negativity or exclusivity designed to chase off the wrong people will also likely chase off some of the right ones, too. Instead, paint a unique portrait of your Mr./Ms. Right by giving examples of who you wish they’d be, like “She makes me chocolate chip pancakes on Sunday morning,” or “He makes glass break and booties shake when doing his karaoke version of ‘You Shook Me All Night Long.’” Don’t be concerned that being specific paints you into a corner. Everyone knows that this isn’t a literal checklist, but rather, a window into what makes you tick—and who you’d love to hear from.

Evan Marc Katz is the author of bestseller I Can’t Believe I’m Buying This Book: A Commonsense Guide to Successful Internet Dating, and the CEO of online dating profile writing service,
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