Dating Profile Tips: The Ultimate List of What NOT To Do

A woman using these dating profile tips to update her profile.

Let’s be honest, putting together a dating profile is hard. Serving up your life to strangers in 500 characters and six photos isn’t an easy thing to get right. And you’d be surprised by how a small mistake can really go wrong and hurt your chances of getting a date.

Most people take a while to learn what to include in their profile and what to leave out. So to help you avoid making rookie mistakes, here are some dating profile tips on what not to do.

1. Don’t use a photo with a hats or sunglasses.
They may look fun and stylish, but according to online dating data anything that hides your face is a big no no on a dating profile. Research from the dating app Zoosk shows that people who have photos with sunglasses and hats get far fewer messages than those whose faces are visible. So if you have a great sunglasses pic, don’t make it your main profile picture.

2. Don’t skip out on writing a bio.
“If you want to know about me, just ask.” Ever seen this in someone’s dating profile? Isn’t it kind of annoying? This is a common thing that people write in their bios and it’s terrible. Here’s why: they’ve already been asked—that’s what a bio is. If you’re at a loss for what to say, write about what you do for fun, what you’re passionate about, what you do for a living, anything. Don’t try and skip out on writing a bio by telling the other person to ask you about yourself—chances are they’ll see your lack of information and move on to the next person.

3. Don’t complain about online dating or dating apps.
Here’s another common phrase you may have seen: “I don’t know why I’m on here.” The people who write something like this are most likely still caught up in the stigma surrounding online dating and dating apps. Don’t be. There’s nobody judging you for online dating except yourself.  Complaining online dating or putting it down can make you come across as insecure and it demeans other people on the site or app. If you’re not excited about meeting people online, then other daters will move onto someone else who is.

4. Don’t leave your bio empty.
Like number three, this is inconsiderate. Leaving your bio blank shows other people that you’re not willing to put in a little effort to get a date. People want to get to know you, even if all they’re looking for is a hookup. So help them out! Research has shown that writing a bio can result in up to 28% more inbound messages and 14% more likes, so you’ll also be helping yourself out. .

5. Don’t copy and paste your bio.
Ever heard of a copypasta? It’s a long string of text that’s copied from the internet, usually for its comedic value. If you’re copying your bio from some random website, it’s not going to come across as clever. Chances are other people browsing your profile have seen it before. If you’re funny fire off a joke or two, but remember a little originality goes a long way. People are here to meet you and get to know you, so they want to know what you have to say.

6. Don’t only use emojis in your profile.
This is another profile cop out. There’s nothing wrong with a short profile, but emoji only profiles aren’t very helpful. People can’t learn much about you with just three small characters, so give them a little more to go off of.  

7. Don’t use photos that make it look like you’re in a couple.
Photos of you being friendly with someone that could be an ex or a significant other are confusing in a dating profile. It looks like your ex is still in the picture or comes across like you’re bragging about how good looking your last girlfriend or boyfriend was.. Sometimes, the person in your photo is really a sibling, but they won’t make it to your profile to find out the truth. If there’s a possibility for confusion, leave it out.

8. Don’t use dating profile clichés.
If you love to travel don’t mention it in your profile. Everybody loves to travel and so many people put it in their profile that it becomes meaningless. If you want to say something about traveling, get into the details about why you love travelling and discuss a connection you felt with a particular culture abroad or a beautiful natural landscape you went to. This shifts the focus from liking time off to an emotional experience that’s unique to you.

9. Don’t list your pet peeves.
It may be funny to complain about the your boss or a bad date to your friends, but don’t turn your bio into a laundry list of pet peeves. This can make you seem petty and negative. Maybe you can talk about pet peeves in a way that’s funny in person, but odds are in writing it’ll translate to snark.

10. Don’t forget to proofread.
It’s easy to forget when you’re cruising through the sign up process, but check your bio for spelling errors or grammar crises. A misplaced comma here and there is fine. It’s even okay to forego capitalization if that’s your style. But make sure to fix any mistakes. You’re a smart person and if you don’t take the time to check your profile and accidentally have some big errors in there, you may be making yourself look stupid when you’re not.

11. Don’t lie or exaggerate.
People are looking to get to know you, the real you. They’ll be disappointed to find that your 20 pounds heavier in person or that you’re a first year law student, not a lawyer, so be honest about who you are. Someone who wants you will want you for who you are now.

It may seem like a lot to remember, but creating a dating profile doesn’t have to be as hard as we sometimes make it out to be. Remember that people are on a dating site to get to know you, so anything you do to make that harder is going to be on the don’t list. Here’s one more—don’t overthink it too much. Follow these tips, share a few details about yourself, double-check your grammar and spelling and you’ll have a stellar profile no time.

Alex Bocknek

Alex Bocknek is the senior editor of The Date Mix and works at Zoosk, the online dating service. He’s also a recovering music critic and an aspiring fiction writer (probably lost) on the way to an independent bookstore near you. He can be found occasionally musing about politics, philosophy, and love in the modern world.

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