It's hard to write your online dating profile, isn't it? Even if you're a professional writer, when it comes to putting pen to paper about yourself (or fingers to keyboard, as the case may be), that's where things get a bit trickier.
Many people immediately think to themselves, "I should write what I think people want to hear. I want lots of people to be interested in me, after all!" I beg to differ. While, of course, it's nice to be liked, you don't want to lose yourself in the process of trying to fit into some arbitrary mold that you think others want to see. Take for example the lines, "I'm just as comfortable in a black dress and heels as I am in a t-shirt and jeans," or "I'm just as happy out on the town as I am at home with a movie and a glass of wine." Do these lines actually tell us anything? No. They simply cover all the bases. To me, it reads, "I am trying to show you that I'm versatile so that I don't exclude anyone or turn anyone off."
While it may seem counterintuitive, I'll come right out and say it: It's okay to turn people off in your profile! It's more important to be the real you… not the version of yourself you think people want to see, and not the version of yourself who attempts to appeal to every single person on the site. Just be yourself. That way, you know when someone shows interest, it's because he or she likes the actual things you said, not just that fact that you were being inclusive.
It's okay if you don't run marathons, ski, travel to Antarctica, skydive, or camp. I don't! I personally would choose playing trivia, riding the stationary bike at the gym, shopping online for shoes, or even doing crossword puzzles over camping any day of the week. A bit nerdy? Maybe. The real me? Absolutely! So if someone out there is a hard-core camper and wants to go every weekend, then we wouldn't be a good fit, and I'd rather them know that at the get-go.
Even my own online dating profile didn't appeal to the masses. It appealed to the people who were comfortable with the fact that I love a good pun as much as I love a new restaurant. I'm not sarcastic in the least, and I'm not thrilled if I have to eat at a burger joint. And you know what? That's okay!
I have a challenge for you: If you're currently on an online dating site, and your profile contains one of the "all-inclusive" lines, change it into something that better represents who you actually are. And if you're thinking about joining an online dating site, remember that it's okay to share your interests in bird-watching, chess-playing, beer-making, and whatever else you do for fun. Yes, you may turn someone off. But you may also turn just exactly the right people on.
Erika Ettin is the Founder of A Little Nudge, where she helps people navigate the world of online dating. Her services include: writing unique profiles to get you noticed, helping to choose your best profile pictures, writing one-of-a-kind emails to get someone's attention, and planning dates. A Little Nudge has been featured in The Washington Post, NPR, Talk Philly, Good Day Philadelphia, JMag (JDate's online magazine), and Ask Men. Want to connect with Erika? Join her newsletter for updates and tips.