It’s time to write

Posted on July 5, 2011

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After completing steps one and two, you are now ready to do the actual writing of your profile.

Go through the two online dating sites that you’ve chosen and see what kinds of questions will be required of you. Each site is different so you’ll want to take notes on the kinds of questions and the amounts of writing you’ll be asked to do.

Match.com has you fill out a brief questionnaire (and gives you the option of writing 250 word expansions on the answers you’ve chosen) and then has you write a longer, more detailed profile at the end. eHarmony has you fill out a very lengthy questionnaire (think the Myers-Briggs personality test kind of questions) but then has you compose answers to five specific questions for your main profile.

Once you’ve got a feel for what you’ll need to do for each site, look over the paragraphs your friends gave you. Look over the list of traits you created about yourself. Then, get started!

Don’t worry too much about whether or not you phrase things in the exact way you’d like the first time you write. You will have opportunities to go back, re-read, proofread and revise before your profile will become accessible to the public on the website. It’s important however to just get started, as that tends to be the most difficult part.

Once you’ve answered questions or have written the required narrative about yourself, let it sit for about 24 hours. This will give you time to detach a bit from what you’ve written. Once you’ve taken a step back from your profile, go back in and read everything you’ve written about yourself. Of course you’ll want to fix any grammar and spelling errors, but really be critical of the way you’ve phrased things.

“I just want to have a good time,” may have been written innocently, but it isn’t a good description for someone who is looking for a real relationship. “My kids are the most important thing in my life,” may seem like a noble thing to say, but this makes it seem like you don’t really have any emotional room for a partner. Think about what someone reading your profile would think of you and make sure to present the real you in the best light possible.

Some tips to keep in mind as you’re writing and revising:

-If it’s not part of your main profile (ie: when you are given the opportunity to write explanations about your religion, hobbies, etc), keep things very short and concise. One sentence is more than enough. You can always write more or explain more in your main profile.

Be thoughtful in your responses but don’t overanalyze. When you meet someone for coffee and he/she asks you a question about yourself, you won’t have days to think about it, mule over the best response and then deliver your answer. That’s not the way we communicate with each other. Be thoughtful about how you respond to questions about yourself and the things you are looking for in a partner, but don’t pressure yourself to go into too many details.

Let people know who you are but leave some room for mystery. With some websites, like match.com, you are given a generous limit of 4000 words to write whatever you feel is important to share with others. Frankly, 4000 words is really too many. People don’t need to read your autobiography to know if they want to get together with you. If you give too much information, you’ve eliminated one of the funnest parts of dating-getting to know someone else. Ideally I think 1500-2000 words is best for your main profile.  Some people, men especially I’ve noticed, try to write as little as possible. Writing too little isn’t good either. People want to know if you are worth their time and before they make their decision, they’ll need to know some information about you.

Don’t be too specific when describing your ideal match or perfect date. Many dating websites ask you who you are looking to date. Be honest about what’s absolutely important to you (ie: religion may be a non-negotiable) but don’t get too detailed with physical characteristics or income or your fantasy partner. It will be a turn-off when people see that you’ve already ‘chosen’ who you are going to be with (whether this person exists in reality or not). You will seem inflexible and superficial and will lose out on a lot of great dates this way.

And, quite honestly, who you think may be the best match for you many times is not. Have a basic idea of character traits and other things that matter to you, but leave some room to be surprised. Had you told me I would end up marrying someone from a different culture, race, religion, language and country than my own, I would never have believed you. You, too, may find that someone you’d never even considered is a perfect fit for your personality. 

Remember, the most important thing is to actually get started. Bribe yourself shamelessly to finish your profile if you need to and then give yourself a generous reward when you have both sites completed. Getting your profile up is the first major step but there’s much more to be learned about the art of online dating. So stay tuned for more…

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Posted in: Online Dating