6 Profile Mistakes Women Make

Want to get guys emailing you left and right? Purge your profile of these common problems—and try our more guy-friendly fixes.

By Laura Gilbert

ver wonder why a profile that describes you perfectly isn’t getting noticed by guys you’re dying to hear from? It’s not because you’re not a catch—rather, it could be that your profile contains some tiny red flags that, while invisible to the female eye, make guys think twice about winking and saying hello. But luckily, there’s nothing a few simple tweaks can’t fix. So go ahead and comb your write-up for the no-no’s, and try these substitutes (trust us, guys find them irresistible!).

Profile problem #1: Creating a laundry list of the perfect guy’s traits
Of course, we all want someone who’s hot, rich, interesting, hilarious—the whole package, and it’d be foolish not to have a few must-haves for the guy you’d like to get to know better. But when a woman spends her introductory paragraph going on and on about who she's hoping to date, it can scare off men who don’t feel they can live up to those expectations.

Guy-friendly alternative: List just two or three of the most important things you want in a mate, whether it’s financial security or a passion for going out on the town every
Post a blurry shot online and guys will wonder what you’re trying to hide.
weekend. Lest you think you’re lowering your standards, think about the happiest couples you know: When they first started dating, were they exactly ideal? Or, think about someone you’ve dated who was perfect on paper but lacked that spark to keep you coming back. In other words, what makes a match work is not always based on meeting that checklist in your head. Nix it from your profile, and watch the guys pour in—then take your pick!

Profile problem #2: A picture that doesn’t really show you at your best
We all have a shot of ourselves that we love, regardless of the fact that it’s a little blurry, distant… or that you’re wearing sunglasses that hide your eyes or a huge comfy sweater that obscures your figure. That’s fine if you like it and feel free to keep it for the fond memories—post it in your profile, though, and guys will wonder what you’re trying to hide. “An obscured photo is as good as no photo,” says Roman Griffen, author of Internet Dating: Tips, Tricks, Tactics. “Men are suspicious of a shot where they can’t make you out and since they’re so visually oriented, they’ll just skip your profile if that first picture doesn’t look good.”

Guy-friendly alternative: Easy: Set your main photo to one that shows you at your best—and leaves nothing important to guesswork. It doesn’t matter if the background is boring—your goal in that first picture is just to present yourself as accurately (and positively!) as possible. It’s fine to include your beloved, more obscure photo in your secondary shots.

Profile problem #3: Going overboard in the “about me” section
We’ve all heard that old statistic about women using, oh, seventy billion words for every one that a man says, and the same is true online. While many men’s personal essays struggle to reach the 200-character minimum, many women only stop when they hit the 2,000-character max. Now, there’s nothing wrong with telling us as much about yourself as you can fit into an essay, but keep in mind that not all guys like reading a wall of
“Soul mate”… “Knight in shining armor”… men get skittish when they see this kind of poetic language.
text—and may be tempted to move on purely because they’re not in a reading mood.

Guy-friendly alternative: Absolutely share some basics, but save some details for later. Use anecdotes that tell your readers about the real you: “Okay, here goes: I guess that most of my friends would probably say I’m really nice,” uses up 16 words and reveals almost nothing; but “I once walked an old lady four blocks because she needed directions but didn’t speak English” is a memorable, kick-butt story to include, and just a few stories like that will turn a guy’s head.

Profile problem #4: Listing all your hobbies, including ones that turn off guys
So you absolutely love baking, sewing, flower arranging? All fine ways to spend your time. But remember, in your profile you’re trying to attract a romantic partner. “When you list your hobbies, you need to remember that your reader should appreciate them,” says Cherie Burbach, author of At the Coffee Shop: If You Thought E- Dating Was for Freaks and Weirdos, Read This Book.

Guy-friendly alternative: List hobbies that a guy might be glad to join in on himself. Even if you don’t have any current activities that could fit the bill, list something you’d like to do, like “I’ve always wanted to try kayaking.” Not only may you attract some cute kayak enthusiast, you’ll show that you’re open to new things—and that’s an attractive trait.

Profile problem #5: Harping on your exes
Plenty of profiles start with an explanation of why the person is now single. “Prove to me that men aren’t jerks” or “Where are the nice guys?” crop up. Think it’s smart to be honest about your romantic past? Wrong. “The number-one mistake I see people making online is talking about their exes,” says Liz Kelly, author of SMART Man Hunting. The problem isn’t that you’ve had a bad experience, it’s that spending precious profile space on the jerk makes you appear unready to move on.

Guy-friendly alternative: Any time you find yourself writing about your ex, flip it into a positive statement that doesn’t involve him. Turn “I moved here two years ago to be with my boyfriend but then he broke up with me” into “I’ve lived here for two years and still feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface of this city.” And why write “My last boyfriend seemed perfect until he turned into a liar” when you could say “The most important thing to me is finding a guy who isn’t afraid to reveal himself, warts and all”?

Profile problem #6: Using flowery, fairy-tale language
Soul mate. Knight in shining armor. These terms permeate women’s profiles, and yet it probably comes as no surprise that men get skittish when they see poetic language along these lines. “The bottom line is that everyone dating online is looking for their soul mate, so you don’t have to use terms like that,” says Griffen. “In fact, doing so makes guys feel like they’re a candidate, not just a date, and it turns the pressure way up.”

Guy-friendly alternative: Hold off on the lovey talk until you’re in love. Instead, describe what hanging out with you would actually be like: Do you love ordering a pizza and playing videogames on rainy Saturdays? Or do you make a point of hitting a trendy new bar or restaurant on weekends to keep things interesting? It’s details like these that will draw guys in—and get you one step closer to finding that soul mate you’re looking for.

Want to know the other side of the story? Read 7 Profile Mistakes Guys Make.

Laura Gilbert writes for Health, The Knot, Stuff and Radar — and is proud to say she’s never once used the words “soul mate” or “knight” in her profile. Or in a face-to-face conversation, for that matter.
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