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Date & Relate
by Sara Hodon

Is Your Online Dating Profile Working for You?

Everyone’s looking at their bottom line these days—major corporations, small businesses, families, etc.—and determining where to cut corners.   One of the expressions I’m hearing a lot is “value added”.  As in, “What value does this product/service add to what I’m/we’re doing?”  In other words, “What am I getting out of it?”  Just like in the business world, your time, money, and energy is valuable, so when it comes to online dating, you may want to ask yourself “Is my profile working for me?”
Once you have your answer to that, here are a few more questions to consider:


> Are you getting all you can from your profile?

> Are you meeting the kinds of people you could eventually see yourself with long-term?

> Did you post the best photo of yourself?

> What sites have you had the most luck with?

> What sites have the most expensive memberships?

Think of your profile as your advertisement or business card.  Its job is to represent you in the best possible light.  If you don’t feel that it is, it may be time to take a look at what you’re including in the text and make some changes.  For example, I usually like to present myself as a fun, independent, caring, “willing to try new things (within reason) and up for anything” kind of girl.  I think that keeping it general and breezy helps to keep the options open.  If you make your profile too specific, you may turn off potential dates by coming across as too picky.  Once, after a particularly draining and frustrating streak where it seemed that I was meeting one loser after another, I edited my profile, all right:

“If you can’t handle a mature, independent woman who knows what she wants out of life, or aren’t quite ready to give up the partying and serial dating, please don’t respond.”

Chirp.  Chirp.  Not surprising that the silence was deafening.   I actually felt bad for the poor souls who were brave enough to reply to that one, because that’s not me at all.  Sure, I am mature and independent, and I do know what I want out of life, but I’m a lot more laid back than that profile seemed to imply.  So, once I got over being mad at men everywhere, I went back to my more laid back but friendly text.  It still took a few more tries before I met someone worth seeing regularly, but at least the profile sounded like me. 
As far as having my profile help me meet someone I could see myself with long-term, I have to say, it works!  Though it’s important to put your own unique spin on what you say, don’t spend hours agonizing on how you can stand out from everyone else.  Sometimes just adding one quirky trait about yourself will take care of that for you.  Just think about all of those other Tom, Dick, and Harrys (or Mary, Susie, and Janeys) who like long walks on the beach, dining out, snuggling on the couch, or road trips on the weekend.  Yawn.  Of course you like all of that stuff—who doesn’t?  But you also know how to juggle.  Or you play the banjo in a bluegrass band.  Or you moonlight as a cartoonist.  Bingo!  Not only have you found your special “something” that sets you apart from everyone else, but you’ve definitely found an ice breaker for your first conversation.  The guy I’m currently seeing told me that saying “I’m a writer” in my profile jumped right off the screen and made me more “intriguing”. 
I’ve been using the photo that’s posted with this column as my default picture for almost two years now (my appearance hasn’t changed that much).  It’s probably one of the best shots of me.  It’s a head shot, so you can see what I look like.   I was going for a fairly cute and flirty pose and I think it shows that I like to have a good time.  Definitely include a photo that’s flattering, and one that actually looks like you.  How many times have we met someone we’ve been talking to online only to think “This guy/girl looks nothing like their picture!”  Getting that reaction in a positive way is good, being turned off is definitely not!
Finally, take a look at the dating sites you belong to.  Depending on what you’re looking for relationship-wise, you may want to cancel some of those memberships.  If you’re just trying to meet new people and not necessarily looking for a commitment, why not sign up for one of the free social networking sites? You might have the same luck for a lot less money.   Though I’ve tried many of the different dating sites, I have to say I’ve had the most luck with Yahoo Personals.   I was using regularly for awhile, but I always come back to Yahoo.  Sometimes you have to scroll through the offerings pretty thoroughly, but you can almost always find someone worth contacting. 

It may sound like finding love is a lot like business, and it is, in a way.  After all, you’re making an investment—whether it’s your time, your energy, and definitely your emotions—and you want to be getting something out of that investment.  So why not start by creating the best marketing tool—your online dating profile?


Date & Relate is published every Thursday by Online Dating Magazine columnist Sara Hodon. She can be reached at

Related Links:
> Online Dating Profile Tips
> Writing a Personal Profile Ad that Works
> Online Dating Profile Pet Peeves Part 1
> Online Dating Profile Pet Peeves Part 2

> - The best approach to find the one. <

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