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Office Hours With Dr. Jim
by James Houran, Ph.D

In this column, "Dr. Jim" honestly and candidly answers your questions about dating, love and sexuality. He doesn’t tell you what you want to hear – he tells you what you need to hear. Dr. Jim is committed to offering you guidance based on responsible clinical practice and hard data from the latest scientific studies. Send Dr. Jim your questions today for consideration in an upcoming issue.

Online Dating Profile Tips

Quick Access:
Spring Clean Your Online Profile
What Should I Say in my Online Profile?

Spring Clean Your Online Profile?

It’s never too soon to do a little “spring cleaning” of your online profile. In fact, you should really update or revise your profile every couple months if you want to stay ahead of the online competition and get more attention and arguably more communications.

Change out or rotate your photos, update your account information, revise your profile to reflect last year’s accomplishments and any new goals and aspirations and dreams you have and reconsider your preferences for a partner. Include several supplemental photos that showcase different colors, moods and interests. Make your online profile an invitation as opposed to a personals ad. Then when you think you have sufficiently polished that online profile show it to several close friends of the opposite sex to get their opinion. Listen to their words of advice and guidance. Guys know what piques the interests of guys, and girls know what entices girls.

Keep your profile fresh and dynamic – after all, it’s a living document and testament to what’s attractive and desirable about you in the broadest sense.

What should I say in my online profile?

Here’s my recommended rule of thumb: Action words and descriptions speak louder and better than passive words and descriptions. Marketers, politicians, religious leaders and your parents all know that action words inspire and motivate better than thoughts conveyed in a passive and lack luster manner.

When you write about yourself, try to avoid the resume approach. The resume approach is a short (or sometimes not-so-short) recounting of your past and life story. A typical example might read something like this, “I am a life-long East Coaster with deep roots in my hometown...” Unless you’re a very gifted writer, this approach is too boring to use for online daters who have love on their mind and short attention spans to begin with. Plus, this type of information is often better left to share when you come to know someone on a more personal level.

When you write about yourself, also try to avoid the “what I don’t want in a partner” approach. Oh, this approach is not terrible if it’s done well, but it’s very cliché and thus won’t make you stand out among all the other profiles. Consider this typical example, “I am looking for a romantic partner in the East Coast. Don’t bother writing me if you’re married, unemployed or can’t appreciate romance…”

I recommend taking a bold and optimistic approach – and that is talking about the future and stating what you want. In fact, the other approaches noted above can be incorporated into this new approach if you simply can’t resist relying on them. For example, “As a life-long East Coaster, I see myself with someone who’s eager to explore the rest of the United States and the world with me; someone who’ll laugh with me but who’ll also hold me when I need to cry. And someone who appreciates great American diners!”

Profiles that are memorable use words that convey strong actions and elicit positive emotions. Talk about how you see yourself relating to your partner and what role they’ll play in your future. Talk about your ambitions and aspirations – those things in which your partner would share. In my view, online dating profiles are not resumes, writing samples or auditions. Online dating profiles are really invitations – an invitation for the right person to contact you and start this thing called life and love. So, make your profile inviting!

Related Links:
» Online Dating Profile Tips
» Writing an Online Dating Profile Ad that Increases Your Attraction

> - The best approach to find the one. <

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