Seniors often hesitate to try online dating because they don’t feel comfortable on the platform. It’s too abbreviated. After living a full life — traveling the world, having a career, raising kids — a small text-box labeled My Story can seem laughably inadequate for singles over 50. How can you cram your life’s story into one or two paragraphs? What do you say to introduce yourself to date prospects you haven’t met in person?
While it’s not easy to sum up one’s history and personality in a few hundred characters, doing so will make you more attractive to romantic prospects online.
Dating sites facilitate meeting new love interests, but it’s up to you to make a good first impression in your profile. To help, we’ve come up with eight online dating profile tips (with examples) for mature daters in need of guidance.
1. Keep Your Bio Short & Leave a Little Mystery
I know it’s tempting to give your whole life story on your dating profile. You want everyone to understand who you are and where you come from — but you need to rein it in. No one wants a date who goes on and on about themselves before they’ve even gone out together. It’s too much too soon.
Yes, you absolutely have to describe yourself, but not down to the last detail. Leave something to be discovered in conversation. Zoosk member NotYoungStillRestless does a great job of summing himself up, saying, “I’m 52, and I still love to go out, exercise, drive my car too fast, and play my rock n’ roll too loud.”
It’s all about striking a good balance between not enough information and way too much information. Your dates don’t need to know you won a spelling bee in third grade. They do need to know if you have kids or grandkids. Instead of writing an autobiography or listing qualities, give online daters the highlights of your background, hobbies, and goals. Remember you want to pique someone’s interest, not overwhelm them with a complete psychological profile.
2. Use Spell Check to Ensure Your Grammar is on Point
Lissen, bad grammer make u look dum 2 a date. You’re all adults. It’s important to act like it by writing properly and checking your spelling. It may sound silly, but a misspelled word on your profile could be the difference between an inbox full of flirty messages and spending another Saturday night alone.
The data backs me up on this. In a study conducted by eHarmony and Grammarly, researchers found men with two spelling errors in their dating profiles were 14% less likely than men with error-free profiles to receive a positive response from the average woman.
If you want to up your odds of attracting a date online, proofreading your profile is a terrific way to start. At least then your date prospects will understand what you’re trying to say.
3. Give Details That Make Your Profile Stand Out
Dating profiles with vague lists and generic language are just plain lazy. Lots of people can (and do) say they enjoy watching movies or reading books. And if I hear one more guy describe himself as “laid-back and fun-loving,” I’m going to lose it. Instead of resorting to such clichés, successful online daters talk about which movies are their favorites, what they look for in a good book, and examples of times they’ve loved fun.
Bad example: “I’m an outdoorsy person.”
Good example: “I enjoy biking through rough terrain, fishing on the open ocean, and sipping wine under the stars.”
By writing about specific preferences or attributes, you make yourself stand out to online daters who have usually read so many of these things that they start to blur together.
4. Cut to the Chase & State What You Want
Senior daters don’t have time to waste on people who don’t want the same things they do. The beauty of online dating is that you can be upfront about your intentions (without being too sexually explicit). Whether you’re looking for a long-term companion or a casual date, you should make that clear in your profile so you attract the type of people who are right for you.
Sometimes the fastest way to get what you want is to tell people what you want. According to Time’s word analysis of online dating, “Women who found relationships used the word ‘relationship’ 16% more often than those who are still single.” Even more subtle language, like “heart,” “romantic,” and “children,” can also indicate your serious intentions and lead to more engaged responses from commitment-oriented online daters.
5. Post 4 or More Clear Pictures of Yourself
On a dating site, adding just one picture doesn’t cut it anymore. Singles see one uploaded photo and wonder why you’re trying to hide what you look like. According to eHarmony’s internal user data, four is the magic number for online dating photos. Members with four or more photos receive the most communications on the dating site. This makes sense because online daters often feel more confident messaging someone who doesn’t withhold information.
It’s best to mix up your photos, too, so you don’t look the same in every pic. Online daters should aim for a bunch of good-quality pictures of themselves engaging in a fun activity, visiting an interesting location, or wearing a fabulous outfit. If you have a picture of yourself doing all of the above, all the better.
Your photos often undergo the most scrutiny from online daters eager for some face time. It’s really important you add photos that show you in the best light. If you’re a guy, OkCupid found that looking away from the camera and not smiling yielded the best results (meaning, the most messages). We’ve written an in-depth article about how to have the best online dating photos if you’re interested in learning more.
6. Lighten the Mood by Telling a Joke
Online dating is not serious work. It’s not a job. It’s not brain surgery. You’re flirting with strangers on the internet. The tone should be conversational and peppered with good humor. If you can make your date prospects laugh while reading your profile, they’ll want to hear more from you.
It just so happens I recently wrote an article highlighting the funniest dating profiles (most of them intentionally funny) so you can read through that to get an idea of what kinds of jokes go over well on a dating site. Spoiler alert: murder jokes aren’t going to win you many points.
7. Show Confidence — Even Overconfidence — to Attract Attention
My sixth-grade English teacher would dock points from students who said anything negative about his or her work. She used to tell us, “Never admit your presentation isn’t any good. Stand up tall and say, ‘Get a load of this!’” By staying positive, we felt better about our work and got better grades as well. The same principle applies to dating.
Even if creating a dating profile makes you nervous, you should try to come off as confident as possible. Talk yourself up and focus on your strengths. Confidence is attractive; apologizing because you don’t know how to write a profile is, well, not.
In your profile, it’s better to keep your insecurities to yourself and, instead, appears overconfident about your dating prospects. According to research presented by the Huffington Post, “Overconfidence actually does boost a person’s chances of romantic success in a competitive environment.” Online dating certainly is a competitive environment.
Of course, you don’t want to go overboard with this ego-boosting tip. Harvard psychologist Dr. Craig Malkin warns daters: “If your confidence takes the form of being condescending and disagreeable, you’re not likely to have much advantage in romance.”
8. End With a Call to Action
Finally, the last sentence or two of your profile should spur singles to get in touch with you. It’s not enough to just be funny and original throughout — your dating profile should end with a bang and reinforce that you’re serious about meeting someone online. A simple call to action can improve your chances of making a connection online.
Bad Example: “If you’re interested, maybe I’ll hear from you sometime.”
Good Example: “If you’re looking for someone to make you the best cheesy pizza you’ve ever had, send me a message.”
Keep your tone flirtatious as you paint a picture of what dating you would be like. I always enjoy the ones that say, “Don’t be shy” or “I don’t bite” because it’s a playful and encouraging send-off. However you want to phrase it, the point is to nudge the person reading your profile into sending a message (or liking your profile) because you’re just too irresistibly cute to pass up. And, remember, it never hurts to end with a smiley face 🙂
It’s Never Too Late to Make a Good Impression Online
Don’t let online dating intimidate you. Once you understand what makes a dating profile successful (e.g. being specific, funny, and brief), it’s really easy to fill those blank text boxes with personalized details and amusing anecdotes. Hopefully, our expert advice and real-life examples have clarified what senior daters are looking for when they scan your profile — and have given you plenty of ideas for your own headline, bio, and pictures. Good luck!