How to Write an Online Dating Profile
In celebration of February, the unofficial month of love, we recently published this blog on the top dating sites for seniors. So now that you’re considering taking the plunge into online dating like so many other seniors (recent studies show that the over-60 age group is the fastest growing demographic for online dating), it’s time to start working on your online profile. Once you’ve picked the site that you like best and spent some time reviewing other profiles, set aside some a few minutes, take a deep breath, and start with the basics.
1. Username/screen name and email
It’s always a good idea to practice cautious optimism in the world of online dating, no matter what your age. Most of the people you will meet on these sites will indeed be exactly who they say they are, but, like in any new relationship, it’s good to exercise a degree of discretion. Set up an email address just for your online dating purposes and make sure it does NOT include your full name (you can set up a free account through Yahoo, Google, or Hotmail). Eventually, you may switch over to your regular email address for correspondence once you know someone better, but for now, protect your identity.
Put this into practice for your screen name as well; avoid including your last name, or anything that gives away too much of who you are “in the real world.” If you have a sense of humor, your screen name is a fun place to exercise it, but do err on the side on restraint. Keep in mind, you will be judged by the username you establish, so consider that before you list yourself as “Bored_Betty” or “DesperateDon.” You can simply use your first name and a random set of numbers and letters, or even something that has to do with one of your favorite hobbies.
2. Profile Picture(s)
Using a good profile picture can take much of the pressure off describing yourself in your profile; just be sure to be honest and representative of who you are today. A good-looking picture from your younger years may attract a flurry of online attention, but the truth is sure to come out when you finally meet in person. Set realistic expectations about who you are and you’re bound to find someone more compatible to the real you than from a connection established on a slightly fudged image.
Resist the urge to post an awkward “selfie” in the bathroom mirror; instead, have a friend or family member take a nice, smiling photo in good lighting or even outdoors. Remember that these are often used as small thumbnails, so a closer photo is preferable. Once you have your basic profile pic established, beef up your profile with additional pictures that show more of who you are and the things you enjoy doing. Again, being honest will help you attract someone compatible with you in the long-run, so only post that photo of you completing the 10k if you still enjoy the occasional walk or run.
3. About You
This is your chance to give your “elevator pitch;” in other words, what are the few things you would say to summarize yourself if you only had the time it takes to ride to the top of a tall building? Keep it positive and upbeat, fun and flirty, as opposed to a historical review of your entire life. The main purpose is to attract others with similar interests; you can get more into your life history once you know the person better.
Similarly, avoid leading with negative generalizations or phrases that hint at emotional baggage. Instead, think about the type of person you would like to meet, and then describe some of the characteristics about yourself that would make you a match. It’s helpful to write this section in a Word document or email draft so that you can spell check before copying and pasting it into your profile.
Taking the time to craft a complete, honest profile increases your chances of connecting with people most like you, and once you have the basis of a strong profile established, you can continue to build and add more photos and key things you learn about yourself as you go.