Top 5 Online Dating Profile Red Flags

Dating Red Flag

If you’re single, you’ve most likely tried online dating. No big deal, right? Well, sure, why not. But there’s one challenge, it’s online, so, you don’t always get to see the whole picture, only the one the others want you to see. Problem is that, unfortunately, many people by nature aren’t honest. Regardless of their intentions, good or bad, they want to paint themselves in the most desirable light possible which is why they lie on their online dating profiles. I mean I don’t think there’s anyone who hasn’t stretched the truth, even just a little bit. If you’re online dating and weeding through profiles, there are some red flags you need to be wary of.

Top 5 Online Dating Profile Red Flags
When you’re online dating, take everything you read and hear with a “grain of salt”. Don’t be overly apprehensive, just be smart. Just because they say something in their profile doesn’t mean that it’s the truth. After you’re comfortable that they are who they say they are, I advise you go on that first date, because only when interacting with someone face to face can you really get to know them in a real way.

Red Flag 1: Empty or Negative Profile
How many times have you clicked on someone’s profile and read “will fill this in later” or “ask and I’ll tell you”? A lot of people can’t be bothered to write a few words about themselves, let alone give you a glimpse into who they are. When someone is serious about wanting to meet a life partner they will make an effort to tell you about themselves and what they are looking for. If they write “here I am again” or “don’t message me if you are [insert whatever here]” then they are leading with a negative statement. This screams baggage and high maintenance. Opt for the full profiles that sound genuine and leave something to the imagination.

The red flag here is that their profile is a reflection of their true intentions and how serious they are to meet someone. If they don’t put in some effort or if they display their baggage you need to move on.

Red Flag 2: Out-of-date Picture
Many post pictures of themselves in their online dating profile of when they were younger or thinner or more attractive. People change, they age, they gain weight, whatever, and that’s what they should be showing – their true self. I can’t stress enough the importance of being honest about how you look online! Remember that you will have to MEET the person you’re talking to and chances are you won’t charm them with your winning personality! Did you seriously think they wouldn’t notice? When asked, the biggest pet peeve people have with online dating is that people don’t look like their pictures. Take some good pics and post your REAL self, you will always be better off that way.

The red flag is that the picture looks out-of-date because of what they are wearing or the picture quality. If you actually meet someone in person and they don’t look like there picture at all then that’s a good reason to move on because they are being deceitful from the get go.

Red Flag 3: “Looking for a Relationship”
Many online daters will SAY they are looking for a relationship when in fact they really aren’t. They say that so that they won’t be weeded out, or, they think they want one when in fact the thought of a relationship makes them run for the hills. When asked why they say they are looking for a relationship when they’re not and many said that that it’s the only way they can get to date the quality people. Well, being deceptive ISN’T the answer and people end up getting hurt! Be honest and upfront about your intentions ALWAYS (even if they’re naughty). Let people decide if they want what you’re offering.

The red flag is their relationship history, if they don’t seem to be able to maintain a long term relationship or blame others for their single status I would be wary.

Red Flag 4: False Relationship Status
Anyone who’s online dating has experienced those who SAY they’re single but really aren’t. They are attached in one way or another. If you’re lucky they will tell you once you start chatting, but many aren’t so upfront about it. Married? In a relationship? Living with your partner? Then you SHOULDN’T be online dating! If you’re having problems, or you’re bored and looking for something to pass the time, DON’T waste other people’s time. If you are really looking to get out of your relationship then clean up your mess before getting someone else involved. If you encounter someone like this then run for the hills!!

The red flag is that the person acts more like a “pen pal” than someone who actually wants to meet you in person. If they do meet you they avoid public places. They also only talk to you at certain times and it’s rarely in the evening or on the weekend.

Red Flag 5: Stretching the Truth about Body Type
Most people stretch the truth about their body type in their online dating profile. Whether it’s their height or weight or physique, it’s typically untrue. Well, people want to show their best selves right? The thing is, you need to show your TRUE self! That’s why I discourage posting professional pictures in an online dating profile. In my top do’s and don’ts of online dating profiles, I mention that you are the product that needs marketing. Your picture is your logo and you need to have a good one. I suggest three pictures – one head shot, one body shot (that shows your true body type) and one picture demonstrating you doing something you love. Good and honest pictures go a long way to getting you the partner who will want you for you!

The red flag is that person doesn’t post full, clear body shots or the pictures look out-of-date.

BONUS Red Flag: Financial and Employment Status
Typically, people are looking for someone with some stability. You are misrepresenting yourself when you aren’t honest about what you do and what you have. This is common with people who are “in between jobs” or unemployed or have a not so sexy job title. You need to represent yourself in a way that is honest! Lying will get you nowhere fast because the truth comes out sooner or later.

The red flag is the person who avoids basic questions about their occupation or living arrangements. Also, someone who brags TOO much about what they do or their possessions is looking for validation. I once dated a guy who drove an expensive car but was unemployed and living in his parents’ basement. Also, someone who asks too many prying questions about your finances and personal financial information OR who asks you for money is a BIG RED FLAG – RUN!

Online dating is a great way to meet new people but just be aware of the red flags and make sure to take it offline as soon as possible so that you can get to know the REAL person and not the image they show online.


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Suzie is the founder of, an award winning blog about being single, dating and relationships. The blog showcases the many adventures we have and how challenging, but also exciting dating really is because single isn’t a bad word and dating really can be fun!! With experience comes wisdom and she also shares some lessons learned along the way helping others through her consulting services. She also co-hosts the SexLoveChat Podcast and Twitter chat discussing current topics about sex and love. You can also find Suzie as a guest expert on various television and radio programs.