7 Profile Mistakes Guys Make

Want to get more women to notice you online? Then avoid these seven blunders that make women steer clear—and try our alternatives instead.

By Laura Gilbert

isten up, guys—if you’re wondering why you’re not getting as much interest online as you’d like, let’s take a closer look at your profile. While it may look fine to you and your buddies, what women find appealing—or off-putting—is a whole lot different. Not convinced? Check out our list of seven common mistakes men make, and, if you’re guilty of any of them, use our quick, gal-friendly fixes to get the online attention you deserve.

Profile problem #1: An unappealing username
Most people online are genuinely looking for love, but a name that makes fun of the process (or yourself) sends a very different message. Even if you’re just joking, few self-respecting women will click on the profile of a guy who calls himself “sexyguy4u2nite,” “39goingon20” or “hangover13.” “Many men create a name that totally contradicts the sincerity of their profile,” says Roman Griffen, author of Internet Dating: Tips, Tricks,
Women are keen to know your career, but that doesn’t mean you should post your entire resume.
Tactics. “Women see a username and decide whether they even want to bother looking at your profile from that. A username can make them think, ‘Oh, this guy just wants a roll in the hay’ and move on.”

Female-friendly fix: Pick something that shows some personality, but that can’t be misinterpreted as negative or sleazy. Try combinations that incorporate your first name, your job, one of your better attributes or a hobby: Names like TallTexan, SDSoundboy, and TalkativeRick all tell a little about you without waving a red flag.

Profile problem #2: Posting a resume instead of a profile
Should you mention your job in your profile? Absolutely—women are keen on knowing about your career. But should you, like so many men’s profiles do, trace your career back to your college minor (minor!?), list every job you’ve had since high school, and detail every accomplishment? Look, we know that for guys—who are taught to toot their own horns professionally but not delve into their emotional sides—it can be much easier to talk about their work goals than their romantic ones. But spending too much of your personal essay talking about your job—or any single topic, actually—gives an unbalanced picture of your life. What’s more, most women want someone who can give them attention and affection, and will shy away from anybody who looks like a workaholic.

Female-friendly fix: Aside from a sentence or two about what you do, what you like best about it, and maybe a funny anecdote, leave the chit-chat about your 9-to-5 for later. Instead, focus on what you like to do when you leave your office—these activities make better indicators of your personality and energy level, which have more to do with compatibility than where you punch the clock.

Profile problem #3: Sounding too picky about your match
Chances are, when you type in the ideal age, height, and build of your perfect match, you’re thinking of those as ballpark range. However, women often take them very literally, says Griffen. So a woman might not email you if she’s a year above the age range you checked or a few pounds heavier than the category you selected. Also, a woman well within your desired range may think you have an age hang-up if you’re 40, yet you only want to date women 20 to 37; or if you’re clearly overweight but specify slender women only. “When a guy’s desired match makes him seem judgmental—like he doesn’t even want to date someone his own age—it comes across in a negative way,” says Griffen.

Female-friendly fix: There’s nothing wrong with posting the description of your ideal woman, or clicking on certain body types if you really do have a strong preference. But try adding a few years, inches, and pounds to the ends of your current requests, and you may get some emails from cuties who were previously “not good enough” but honestly fit the bill just fine.

Profile problem #4: Negative comments about past relationships
It’s not that you’re bitter, you’re just stating facts to get them out of the way, right? “Well, it
Sorry, but “I’m looking for my soul mate” sounds like a line.
happened to me: Seven years of marriage and I ended up a statistic.” “If you’re not a complete psycho, I want to hear from you.” “Favorite things: Boating, hiking, and a certain girl who dumped me.” These are examples of profiles from guys who are unwittingly telling women that they’re still too hung up on their pasts to start a real relationship. “Women are using your profile as a weeding-out process, and anything negative is a turn-off,” says Griffen. “Everybody has a war story, but nobody wants to hear it right off the bat.”

Female-friendly fix: Turn any of your negative statements into positives. Instead of saying “I’m tired of head games,” which translates to, “I’ve got a chip on my shoulder,” try, “Honesty is the most important thing in a relationship to me.” Instead of “I just got out of an awful relationship and am trying to meet nice women,” say, “I’m new to online dating and excited about possibly meeting a partner.” Anything snarky you have to say can always be said nicely, so it’s worth reading your profile with that in mind and flipping all your complaints into desires. P.S. Save the details about your exes until much, much later.

Profile problem #5: Breezing past the essay section
Yes, it can be hard to open up and just start selling strangers on who you are. But playing the strong, silent type doesn’t translate well online. “Lots of people don’t put much thought into their essay, and that’s why online dating doesn’t work for them,” says Evan Marc Katz, CEO of and author of I Can’t Believe I’m Buying This Book. “Most people consider their love life as important as their job, yet they’re doing the online equivalent of sending out a resume that’s only a quarter-page long.”

Female-friendly fix: Stop putting so much pressure on yourself to create the perfect essay and start by simply letting the reader know about you. Just think of what you’d say in an email to a long-lost friend you hadn’t talked to in ten years to bring them up to speed on your life: Describe your typical day, what your personality or job is like, and what you like to do for fun, using brief personal anecdotes to bring bland adjectives like “fun-loving” to life.

Profile problem #6: Posting a shirtless photo
Women browsing your profile don’t necessarily want to see what all of you looks like… or at least not just yet. “A man’s vanity can come through in the pictures he posts,” says Griffen. “Women usually say they are not impressed by seeing a guy flexing, even if he’s in great shape. It’s not what makes them want to sit down and write you an email.”

Female-friendly fix: This one’s self-explanatory—put on a shirt for your next batch of photos. Women aren’t going to be any less attracted to you if they see you in a nice collared t-shirt… we promise!

Profile problem #7: Being overly romantic
Women love romance, right? So why not tell them what they want to hear—“Are you the special lady I’ll bring home to meet my mom?” or “I’m looking for my princess,” or quoting that Meatloaf song about “I would do anything for love.” Well, unless you’re the kind of guy who actually talks like that in day-to-day life, your romantic lines sound like just that—lines. “Women are actually looking for real men, not someone who talks about how he cried at Shrek,” says Griffen. “Trying to show that sensitive side right off the bat to total strangers can come across as disingenuous.”

Female-friendly fix: Here’s Griffen’s recommendation on what to say in your profile to let women know you are serious about finding The One: “Sometimes I like to goof off and have a good time, but I know when to be serious.” This immediately lets women know that you’re not out for just a good time and are mature enough to deal with important issues. And it does that without any efforts at sentimentality that make it look as if you’re trying too hard.

Want to know the other side of the story? Read 6 Profile Mistakes Women Make.

Freelance writer Laura Gilbert has contributed to Health, Maxim and Cosmopolitan.
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