Secrets of Profile Writing Revealed

Online Dating

Secrets of Profile Writing Revealed

Marion Winik Marion Winik • 9/25/14

Because I am a professional writer, I figured I’d be a natural at writing my profile for dating sites.

I tagged myself “Smart, Sassy and Sensual in Baltimore,” and I told my prospective suitors all about my career, my two grown sons, my young daughter, my religious preferences, my travels, my hobbies, my degree of fluency in various foreign languages.

I also admitted to my long-ago appearance on “Oprah” and my occasional indulgence in a cigarette.

I listed favorite movies, books and destinations – just like the website asked me to.

I showed my profile to a guy I knew who did a lot of online dating. He said to leave out details on kids living at home, religion and smoking.

I shouldn’t lie, he said, but I shouldn’t answer the questions on these topics, as they were too hot-button.

I followed his advice, put up a profile and waited.

The responses trickled in slowly, even when I changed my radius from 25 to 50 miles.

What was wrong? My picture was cute, I thought, and my qualifications were great. Weren’t they?

Come on! I was a writer who’d been on “Oprah.” Who doesn’t want to meet me???


“Something short and simple is going to

work better than a detailed inventory.”

A while later, my pretty and newly-divorced hairdresser friend Kit went on a 50+ site. She had just turned 50, so she was probably both the youngest and one of the best-looking people out there.

Even with those advantages, the avalanche of responses she got seemed incredible.

“Let me see your profile!” I demanded. What the heck had she said in there?

It turned out she had said almost nothing. She loved nature. She was a spiritual person but also a fun person. She would just like to find some friends.

Mine was about 20 times as long. Plus, I realized, mine was like a resume, mentioning rafts of achievements and professional qualifications that sounded braggy and intimidating.

What’s worse, mine was so specific.

If someone didn’t like The Grateful Dead or “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” or super-spicy food or margaritas, I could be ruled out on that basis alone! I was hanging myself with the details.

So my conclusion was, as in so many other areas, LESS IS MORE.

You too probably love nature, are a fun person and want to start with friendship, just like Kit.

Something short and simple like that – something the other person can pretty much project anything they want onto, at least at first – is going to work better than a detailed inventory of your personality, biography and work history.

You give up more info once you really start talking to him.

Anyway, gotta run. Goin’ for a spiritual hike in the woods with my new boyfriend. Have fun out there, kids.

Have you ever said too much in your online dating profile? How did you change it to get more responses?

Photo source: