Secrets Of Profile Writing Revealed

Online Dating

Secrets of Profile Writing Revealed

Marion Winik

Written by: Marion Winik

Marion Winik

Marion Winik tells the saga of her dating misadventures in the new book "Highs in Low Fifties: How I Stumbled Through The Joys of Single Living." You can find more information at

Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of journalism experience to ensure DatingAdvice articles have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement. She has worked at The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The Gwinnett Daily News, and The Gainesville Sun covering lifestyle topics.

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

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 dating 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 in such detail, as they were too hot-button and could turn single guys.

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 profile 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 called OurTime. 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?

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