When online dating first got started, all you had to market yourself was your all-text profile. There were no photos posted; it was just you and the words you chose to try to seal the deal.
Filling a blank screen with the right words could be torture back then. It still can be — but there’s relief in sight. If you’re struggling to meet your character count in a way that really captures why you’re a great catch, stop trying to write a standard online dating profile and go for something entirely different. Here are three ways that make creating your profile a very fun and exciting endeavor — and give you ample opportunity to communicate what really makes you tick. Follow this advice and you’ll craft a profile that stands out from the pack and helps you meet your special someone that much sooner.
How about a memoir?
They’re burning up the bestseller lists. Why not craft your own memoir-style profile? Take some meaningful childhood memories, throw in a mildly embarrassing (but mostly just adorable) anecdote or two, have the confidence to be humorously self-effacing… and you’ll give your prospective match an irresistible first peek at you. That beats long lists of your favorite songs, movies, TV shows and books any day. Or phrases like “Down-to-earth guy seeks nice girl.”
“Memoirs are written in a very personal and revealing style. The goal is to communicate an experience so vividly that readers feel they are right there with the writer,” says Jena Ball, who teaches memoir writing in online classes offered through her school, The Nature of Writing. “If you can write this way for your online profile, prospective dates will naturally be intrigued and want to know more about you.”
Make sure you cover who you are now, of course. Revealing your childhood nickname may be endearing, but it’s the adult you who’s looking for a date. And don’t get overly confessional: sensationalism sells books, but dating and too much information, too early, don’t mix.
Try a travel guide
If you’re passionate about collecting passport stamps, take your prospective dates along on an armchair trek with you. Share some of your favorite stories from the road — the ones that have helped to shape who you are and what you find most important. Let people sense your spirit of adventure and fantasize about how much they’d enjoy being in some exotic or down-home locale with you.
“Travel says a lot about who you are as a person. It’s not always necessarily about where you went, but why you went,” says Craig Guillot, whose stories and photographs of far-flung locales have been published in numerous newspapers, magazines and travel anthologies. “The real you comes out in stories like this. The difference between someone who travels to Paris for a week and someone who travels to Guatemala for a week often says a lot about the individual’s personality and what drives him or her in life.”
Be sure to balance information about your everyday life against your exploits in faraway places. Remember, in this travel guide, the ultimate destination is your heart — and you’re looking for someone who can make it fly without ever leaving home.
Who wrote the blog of love?
It seems as though everyone’s keeping a blog — and the format adapts perfectly to whatever personality you want to project. Maybe you want to make your entries snappy and smart-alecky. Or go for a slice-of-life, stream-of-consciousness effect. Or dig deep and write about your passions and priorities at this moment. Or mix and match all those styles to show off all the facets of your personality.
After all, it’s your personality that’s making the pitch here. That’s not something any of us can easily capture in two dimensions… but we can offer enough glimpses of ourselves to make the right person say, Hey — I’d like to know more!
So don’t worry about covering every one of your interests and addressing every non-negotiable you’ve got on your list. There’s time for that later. Right now, you just need a profile to get you started — and to get someone started on becoming interested in you. Pick the style that suits you best and hit that keyboard with confidence. Your unique approach to writing your profile — rather than the “I can’t believe I’m doing this!” school of prose — will go a long way towards attracting the right match for you.