Online Dating Profile Do’s and Don’ts

If you’re new to online dating — or can’t seem to get the hang of it — here are a few basic dating-profile guidelines for getting the most out of the experience.

Do: Use a current photo.

You don’t want a prospective date to use a photo from 1989. You shouldn’t either.

Don’t: Feature your friends in that photo.

Make it easy on potential matches by only posting photos of yourself. Group shots can be confusing and distracting — even when the other faces are blurred. Show good face and body shots. Let people see the real you.

Do: Highlight what makes you you.

Steer clear of generic answers and descriptions. Your profile is your first impression: make it count. What makes you different from every other person who can’t live without air, their family and their iPhone? What are passionate about specifically? What are your hobbies? Your cute quirks?

Don’t: Brag.

Sure, you’re a catch. You don’t need to rub it into profile-readers’ faces. Make sure you use humble language when writing about your accomplishments and passions. You don’t want to come across as pretentious or condescending to those who aren’t saving lives or climbing mountains in their time off.

Do: Be funny.

If you’ve got a sense of humor, make sure your profile reflects that. Read it aloud. Does it sound like you?

Don’t: Treat online dating like a joke.

While a funny profile is sure to get attention, a sarcastic one will attract the wrong kind. If your profile reads as insincere, your matches will assume you’re mocking the process and not seriously looking for love. Keep the tone light, still fill the profile with substance, and avoid a cynical tone.

Do: Be upfront about what you’re looking for.

If you want to eventually get married, don’t say that you’re looking for a friend. If you’re a marathon runner and really want to date a fellow athlete, emphasize your search for a partner in love and at the gym. Be honest. You have nothing to lose.

Don’t: Complain.

An online dating profile is not the place to vent about an ex or your online dating experience. A positive tone is an attractive one.

Do: Have a friend proofread your profile.

Some spelling mistakes will be forgiven, but a grammar catastrophe will quickly be passed over. Have a friend spell-check your profile and confirm that you’re accurately representing who you are and what you’re looking for.

Don’t: Have a friend write your profile.

A profile should be written in your voice and from your perspective.

Do: Be careful.

Don’t share identifying information in your profile. Don’t post a photo of you standing in front of your workplace, name-drop the cute coffee shop next door to your apartment, or mention which holiday your birthday falls on.

Don’t: Lie.

It’s one thing to be careful, it’s another to be dishonest. Don’t fudge facts or tinker with your bio just to impress. You don’t want to eventually disappoint a date when the truth inevitably comes out.