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Dating Maze #344: Creating the Perfect Profile
Dating Advice 344

Dating Maze #344: Creating the Perfect Profile

Increase your likelihood of success in online dating sites.


Dear Rosie & Sherry,

I’ve been subscribed to a prominent Jewish dating website for the past two years. I try to be selective about the women I send requests to. But I invariably receive the same reply: "I reviewed your profile and decided that we aren't a match."

I know I must be doing something wrong and need to change my profile. I would like to find a wife! What do you suggest I do to get better results?


Dear Larry,

There's more to successful online dating than an appealing profile, although that's an important element in the process. We have some pointers on how to write a profile that will get the results you want, and we have other suggestions for how to increase the likelihood that someone you contact will consider you as a potential dating partner.

The image you present to others begins with your display name. This has the power to turn someone on or off. Sometimes, attempts to be witty or funny don't have the desired impact. What imagery do the following display names evoke: "Isweat5," "swinger2011," "GoldenGodess," "want2havefun." Do any of them sound like someone looking for a serious relationship that will lead to marriage?

The first rule is to use something that triggers a neutral or positive image like "Mike2011," "nicestableguy," or "like2smile." If you can’t think of anything creative, it’s better to play it safe with a bland name.

We also suggest staying away from names like, "Singledad4kids" or "BigYankeesFan" – unless you want to attract someone who specifically seeks the quality you're emphasizing.

It's crucial to use a flattering, well-focused photo.

Now for the photo. Many people underestimate the power of their photograph on a dating website. While photos don't convey a person's true essence and can only give the viewer a general idea of someone's appearance, the reality is that they play a huge role in the decision whether to find out more about another person. That's why it's crucial to use a flattering, well-focused photograph, preferably by a professional photographer. Take a series of shots and have a friend help you choose the best one.

For the photo, you should be well-dressed and nicely groomed – for men that means getting a haircut and shaving off stubble, for women a flattering hairstyle and makeup. Look directly into the camera and smile. Keep your dog, your children, or other people out of the picture, and don't use any props. These are all needless distractions.

Before the Boxes

Now for the actual profile. There's an important step prior to filling in the blank boxes: You need to clarify who you are and what you're looking for, and then find a way to express this so that you'll appeal to the kind of person you want to meet. Take some time to write down the qualities that characterize the type of person you are, as well as the values that are important to you, where you are in life and where you see yourself in the next one-to-five years.

Next, specify the qualities you would like in the person you marry. When you're done, edit your list down to no more than five of the most important qualities that define you as a unique and interesting person, and another five that describe the type of person you are looking for.

Express confidence without sounding too full of yourself.

Now, take some time to turn this information into a few flowing, readable paragraphs. Remember that your goal is to get another person interested in learning more about you as a potential date. An overly long description is unnecessary. Your description should focus on qualities that make you sound unique, appealing and marriageable. It's important to express confidence and comfort with who you are, without sounding too full of yourself. Instead of using cliché adjectives like "dependable" or "reliable," give an example of how you display this quality. Mention the elements of your life that you feel a prospective date should know in advance, such as your children or your willingness to relocate (but don't overly focus on these). Check for spelling and grammar, and then show it to someone you trust to give you their honest reaction.

A little bit of humor can make your profile more appealing, but it's important to think about the effect your profile will have on someone who reads it. Self-deprecating or sarcastic comments usually backfire. A potential dating partner doesn't want to read how hard it is to write about yourself, that your friends made you sign up for the website, or that you appreciate their taking the time to read your profile. If you mention money or looks in the profile, you may be viewed as being overly materialistic or superficial.

Don’t make any negative statements about past relationships, or anything you wouldn't feel comfortable revealing to someone on the first couple of dates.

Making the Connection

Once you post your profile, it’s time to review profiles of potential dating partners and decide which ones to contact. Try focusing on finding women who have the personal qualities you're looking for, rather than those who appeal to you simply because they have a nice photo, live in your area, or are in the right age range. You're more likely to get a positive response from someone whose lifestyle and goals are similar to yours, and who is looking for someone with qualities like yours. A woman who's very different than you (in terms of age, religious orientation, looks, education, employment or lifestyle) will probably not feel you're compatible and will turn down your offer (or not answer you altogether).

Your initial email is as important as your profile. It should be in a way that piques her interest. Tell her why you liked her profile – are you both cat lovers? Hockey fans? Hope to move to Israel someday? Did you like how she expressed herself? Remember that if you're too flippant or pepper your letter with innuendo, you won't be taken seriously. Similarly, a letter that is too generic or contains spelling or grammatical mistakes conveys the impression that you don't really care about making a good impression.

If you follow these pointers, you are more likely to get an interested response from one or more women who are in the ballpark for you. You can then exchange emails that tell a little more about yourselves. We suggest using email as a tool to help you decide if you have enough in common to meet – don't get into "dating" over the Internet by exchanging lengthy emails for weeks. If your correspondence flows, and she seems like someone you'd like to meet in person, check out each other's references and then arrange to meet.

We wish you success in navigating the dating maze,

Rosie & Sherry

October 9, 2011

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Visitor Comments: 5

(5) Sara, October 14, 2011 11:39 PM

some key elements from what Rosie and Sherry said

AGE! If you are 50 and messaging women in their 20's, you can tweak your profile all you want but you likely won't get far. Also, I know I am listed as MO liberal in the NYC area. I don't bother with men who are not also MO and/or don't live in the area. Finally, the first contact is indeed important. Send a girl a message like, "hi how ru?" is NOT appropriate. This is not a text and I don't know you. This sort of message is disrespectful. WHY are you interested in my profile?? I DONT want to have to ask. If you really only care that she's pretty, you better find something you like besides that! Women want to be more than a pretty face, contrary to what the media would have you think.

(4) Joe, October 13, 2011 8:29 PM

An addition

Since space is limited I didn't really get to express another bit of advice. Dating sites are fine as a supplement to the old fashioned way, but they are not an effective substitute for it. Getting out and doing in your real life is far more effective. Working on building yourself up in whatever area(s) that needs it, builds confidence and poise. Nothing is more important than that when meeting someone. If you think of yourself as a shlub, you will project that impression unwittingly. Suppose for example, that you didn't think you were the best looking. Then you act embarrassed about your looks and it leads to a cascade. Since you feel like a schlub you dress like a schulb... and talk like one.... Now suppose that rather than cyber hoping, you spent that same hour surfing that site, each night - actually doing regular exercise - and seriously, like you meant it, dieted for three months. The average American would loose 30 pounds, have vastly more energy, feel much better about themselves and most importantly, feel like they can accomplish things. Even more important than being physically attractive, you will be emotionally attractive for having done so. Another example is working on the way you speak to people. If you have a tendency to be short with people, you get out of practice in listening to them. Practice being open and caring even when people are making you crazy. These things too cause a cascade - but in this case, a cascade of good things. Then when you meet someone in person, in the place Hashem puts them, you will have the confidence to step up and the skills to attract that someone.

(3) Adam, October 12, 2011 12:08 PM

Be optimistic

Larry. You only need one person to like the profile, it just has to be the right one. I take on Joe's comments above, but I disagree with this approach of talking about lowering standards, and how 30 s are normally single for a good reason. I've heard too many times this advice in the religious circles that the problem is superficiality. Yes it's true we are brainwashed by media and photoshoped fake images and often have distorted perception of reality, but I don't believe that telling a person it's their fault is helpful. Ask yourself if you have a narcissistic personality disorder, which is extreme, and if you do, seek help; otherwise you are just normal and normal people have an ego but it doesn't stop them getting married. Nobody likes being rejected or rejecting others, but it's gonna happen at least once unless you are lucky enough to find your bershert on the first date. Your soul knows what it needs, and will just feel right when it happens, you may have doubts but that's ok, because if you ask your intuition it will reassure you of the answers you seek. My advice is to be optimistic, understand that you just haven't found the one yet and know Hashem has a way of making anything happen. I do agree with Joe that dating shouldn't be dehumanizing. I know so many people despondent because they see things in terms of success/failure and every date is one more failure to them. Edison experimented 1000s of times, each time he failed though he saw it as one step closer to the light bulb. Rabbi Natan of Breslov says that each shidduch is a tikun making you more and more ready for the real bershert. Be open to experiences and see things as a learning experience bringing you one step closer. As the Lubavitcher Rebbe said 'think good and it will be good'. B'hazlacha!

(2) Anonymous, October 12, 2011 12:18 AM

Try Honesty

Many people do not realize just how dishonest their profiles are. Some of my suggestions are below. 1) Old photos- I have a friend that has not changed his dating profile photo in the four years I have known him. This is a form of dishonesty. He does not look the same as he he did when the photo was taken and this leads to false impressions and makes a date awkward. Use only photos taken within the last six months. Try to find a variety of photos that show your hobbies or activities. (One face shot, one full body, two activity photos for women AND men.) 2) Profiles are often incomplete- When screening people for dating the profile should be completely filled out. Leaving huge blank spaces does not make it easy for a potential match to learn who you are. 3) Avoid jokes, and humor on your profile. If you have a quirky sense of humor just say so. Don't actually write out a joke or fill your profile with puns. 4) If you have children please list them on your profile. Do NOT list their entire weekly schedule or talk too much about them on the profile page. Wait for a date or two. I don't suggest posting pictures with your children. 5) Avoid saying things such as, "I am really busy but I am looking for the one!" or "My life is hectic so I am looking online." or "Just checking to see if this website works." Use lines that show who you are excited to meet someone such as, " I work quite a bit but I am excited to take time off to be with a special someone." I met my husband at (totally free Jewish dating site) and we both had clear easy profiles with photos and each line filled in. We did not exaggerate or lie on our profiles. Our first date was easy and comfortable and we were married a few months later. Good luck!

(1) Joe, October 11, 2011 3:17 PM

Some other important things.

A few years before I met my beshert, and thank Hashem I have, I had tried a "prominent Jewish dating site." I know of several couples who have met that way and are now very happily married. For each one of them, I know many more, including myself, who were deeply unplussed by the entire dehumanizing experience. People get so invested with what they want, what they think they want and the slim hope of finding it in this way that they sabotage themselves and their psyches by ignoring basic facts about the process. First and foremost, these sites are no different psychologically than browsing an online catalogue. The role of the sites is to browse and browse we do. When we find an item we like, we send out feelers, but we ignore the fact that as we browse through so many human items, so are we just another item to the person on the other end. You are nothing to that person, yet by reaching out you feel owed something. Admit it. How many people did you turn down for whatever reasons that were just as superficial and bogus as the reasons they turned you down for? But worse than this is the number of clunkers on these sites that force a turn down out of hand reflex. Not all of them are still single because they were too busy finishing their residency in brain surgery and working pro-bono to help orphans. Most of the singles are single with very good reason - particularly as you get into the early thirties and older. All too often, if a profile superficially appeals, those reasons become all too apparent on the first date, when your hopes, briefly up are now dashed and you wasted money on a nice dinner that you enjoyed less than a trip to the MVA. Accept this truth and be yourself to the hilt. Make your profile an advertisement for the woman you do want and a warning for those you wouldn't. Don't let the cycle of cyber settling get you down and go out places where there are real women and not cyber projections of them to meet. I met mine in a bookstore.

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