Online - What Not To Say

So you’ve decided to enter the world of online dating and you’re ready to start writing. What should you say?

By Margot Carmichael Lester

he best online dating profiles present you in a good (but realistic) light, reflecting your personality in your own words. They also make it clear what you are looking for in a mate.

The worst? Well, to help you write something great, we’ve
Poor choices keep people from looking any further.
put together a list of five of the most common mistakes:

The Uninspired Opening
Pay particular attention to your headline and photo. Poor choices keep people from looking any further. The headline, “Check me out, I’m not that bad” doesn’t exactly exude confidence.

And while this headline, “Big man needs love,” isn’t horrible, a photo of a large man displaying his belly leaves nothing to the imagination—and a lot to be desired. Being big isn’t bad, but there are better ways of presenting it.

The Cookie Cutter
Your writing should reflect what makes you uniquely you. Describe yourself and your match in distinctive terms.

Avoid broad terms that are basically meaningless and could describe anyone. Like this: “I am a warm, honest and caring gal who enjoys spending time with that special someone. I’m looking for someone
While honesty is good, you can have too much of a good thing.
who’s honest, down to earth, supportive, affectionate, giving and loyal.”

The Cliché
If you read enough online personals ads, you know there are some universal truths. They’re clichés, like Miss America wanting world peace.

These are the most pervasive: “I love to hold hands and walk on the beach on moonlit nights or cuddle up in front of a fireplace,” and “I look gorgeous in a gown or jeans. You should look hot in a tux or khakis.”

Resist the temptation to add any of these lines to your ad. Using them makes you seem lazy at best, insincere at worst.

The Red Flag
Everyone has issues and hot buttons. While honesty is good, you can have too much of a good thing. Instead of attracting people who won’t trip these triggers, things like this will likely repel them:

“Hoping against all odds to find the woman who is holding the key to my heart. I denounce liars and will not tolerate frauds. Please don’t waste my time.”

“Currently, my daughter’s father and I live together. A bachelor/hermit of 42 years, he says he loves me ‘as much as he can.’ I’m looking for a rich man who will spoil me and my two angels.”

The List-Maker
It’s good to be specific about what you’re looking for, but be careful you don’t end up posting a litany of requirements like this:

“I can’t stand pianists, cyclists (I do not think spandex is masculine), musicians or wanna-be artists. Skinny men are repulsive and I do not like white trash with beards and dirty-looking clothes. If beautiful women aren’t routinely attracted to you, don’t bother me.”

Who would want to date someone so demanding?

One final tip: Correct spelling and good grammar show an attention to detail, so type up your information in a word-processing program and use the spelling and grammar checker. Then, read it out loud (you’ll get a feel for the rhythm AND catch more errors), and run the checkers one more time.

Margot Carmichael Lester is a freelance writer who frequently contributes to Happen magazine.
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