Dating Profile Guide

Online Dating

A Comprehensive Guide to Writing a Great Dating Profile

Amber Brooks

Written by: Amber Brooks

Amber Brooks

Amber Brooks is the Editor-in-Chief at DatingAdvice.com. When she was growing up, her family teased her for being "boy crazy," but she preferred to think of herself as a budding dating and relationship expert. As an English major at the University of Florida, Amber honed her communication skills to write clearly, knowledgeably, and passionately about a variety of subjects. Now with over 1,800 lifestyle articles to her name, Amber brings her tireless wit and relatable experiences to DatingAdvice.com.

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Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Reviewed by: Jon McCallister

Jon McCallister

Jon came to DatingAdvice in 2016 with more than 15 years of editorial experience behind him. He has experience editing, writing, and designing at numerous publications, including the Gainesville Sun. Jon enjoys researching emerging trends and seeking out the companies, organizations, and individuals making an impact in the modern world of dating. He excels at working closely with writers and editors to improve the quality of online content.

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Nearly one-third of all adults in the U.S. have used a dating site or app, according to a Pew Research study. These days, knowing how to write a compelling online dating profile is an important life skill. But getting your personality across in a digital format can be tricky.

What do you tell people about yourself? How do you catch a potential match’s attention? And what pictures will show off your best qualities?

Writing a dating profile doesn’t have to be a headache! With a few basic tips and a little attention to detail, you’ll attract the right dates and, hopefully, find the relationship you seek.

Profile Breakdown | Expert Tips | Challenges

Understanding the Aspects of a Dating Profile

To write a great dating profile, you need to understand each aspect of the standard online dating page. You should also know how people make swiping decisions. 

We see a lot of similarities across dating sites and apps. Once you know how these sections work, you can make your profile shine.

Profile Picture

As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words, and your profile picture tells your potential matches a lot about you.

OkCupid provided tips for taking the best profile picture based on a study of user behavior and preferences. Recent advice from eharmony highlights a lot of the same fundamentals.

  • Have a clear photo of your face
  • Don’t post group shots
  • Smile and look approachable
  • Add multiple photos

Whether you’re on a hookup app like Tinder or a site geared more toward long-term romance like Match, there are a few key tips for getting the most out of your online dating profile pictures

Your main profile picture should be reasonably high quality. It should show you as authentically as possible – no photoshopping, and no using old photos. 

You don’t have to show your entire body, but you should show at least the upper half. A smile doesn’t v hurt as far as making you look approachable and engaging. 

Bio

After your profile picture, your bio is the second most important section to tell your potential matches who you are. Just about every online dating platform includes at least a short bio section, and it’s important to make that space count.

The first thing that any guide to writing a dating profile bio will tell you is to avoid clichés and negativity. 

Bio

Don’t mention how you don’t like talking about yourself or don’t know what to write. Even if these things are true, it’s just wasting a potential partner’s time. 

Instead, focus on the positive and offer up some interesting details. Start with a strong opening line, and then tell prospective matches something unique about yourself. 

People love stories, so if you’ve got a wild, weird, or interesting experience in your background, your bio is the place to highlight it.

Keep your bio short and sweet, but provide just enough detail to show people that you’re worth a swipe or a fist message. 

If that seems intimidating, or you’re not confident in your writing skills, you can also work with a dating coach or even turn to AI tools like ChatGPT to get started.

Preferences & Dealbreakers

Some dating platforms have specific sections for users to describe what they’re looking for and what they specifically want to avoid. This could also be a subsection of your bio or “About Me” sections.

Preferences

Preferences and dealbreakers are a delicate topic. You should be honest about what you’re looking for and describe your ideal partner in broad terms. Again, keep it positive. You run the risk of raising red flags if your approach is too negative. 

It’s not an issue if you love blue eyes or red hair or if you prefer a petite woman or a tall man. It’s fair if you’re not looking for something serious or if you prefer a partner who can hit the hiking trail with you. But how you phrase your preferences matters.

Put the focus on the things you like, and communicate the areas you’re not willing to compromise on without passing judgment on those traits.

Example: “I’m looking for a partner who can share my goal of hiking the entire Appalachian Trail.” 

That can be a lot more intriguing and engaging than talking about what body type such a partner might have. 

Quiz Questions

Not all dating sites and apps have icebreaker quizzes or public quiz questions, but it’s a common tool for helping singles start a conversation with low stakes. 

If you’re on eharmony, OkCupid, Hinge, or another platform that includes a Q&A section, thinknof the questionnaire as an opportunity to show your personality.

eharmony question: why do you think you're single

Take the time to consider your answer to the questions posed, even if they seem a bit silly. “Would you give it all up to live on a sailboat?” is an old standby on OkCupid because it provides important information about spontaneity and lifestyle.

OkCupid has thousands of questions you can choose to answer or skip, so the ones you choose to highlight in your profile will say a lot about you.

It’s a good idea to choose a mixture of hard-hitting questions and lighthearted topics. Look for anything that could spur a good conversation. 

OkCupid question

If you’re politically active, make sure to include questions about your opinions and beliefs. But don’t use it as an excuse to preach!

For more open-ended question sections, choose questions that get to the heart of what you want in an ideal partner. Maybe answer a few simple questions that will give a potential partner the chance to start an interesting conversation. 

For example, “If you could spend one day anywhere in the world, where would you choose?” 

5 Tips for Crafting a Good Profile

It isn’t enough to know what each of the sections of your dating profile communicates to potential matches — you also need to know how to make the most of your profile as a whole. 

These tips will help steer you in the right direction when it comes to attracting the right partner, regardless of what you’re looking for.

Be Honest About Your Intentions

It never pays to lie about yourself. In fact, if you’re dishonest about your intentions on a dating site or app, all you’re going to get for your trouble is a lot of wasted time. 

Whether you’re looking for something serious or your next hookup, be upfront about your goals.

Being honest about what you want is a major green flag. You might end up with fewer swipes and messages from the general pop, but you’re more likely to get matches that actually align with your dating goals. 

Showcase Your Personality

Your profile should give people a glimpse of who you truly are. But, of course, you should try to put your best traits front and center. 

Regardless of the platform(s) you choose for your online dating journey, you’ve got to stand out and make an impression. It’s worth taking the time to ensure you make the impression you want to make.

Personality is attractive

If you love to joke around, include some jokes in your profile. If you’re into comic books, make references that fellow fans will recognize. 

Lifestyle is important to mention as well. Pet owners should make sure to include pictures of their fur babies. Talk about what being a pet owner means to you. 

By showing what makes you tick, you’ll attract the right kind of partners.

Provide Conversation Starters

Online daters can stumble when deciding what to say in the first message to a potential match.

You can help your matches by offering a few conversation starters in your profile. This doesn’t have to be complicated or cheesy. It’s just another way to showcase who you are and what your life is about.

  • Ask me about…
  • I like ___, how about you? 
  • What’s on your travel bucket list?
  • Do you have any local recs for someone new in town?

If you’re really at a loss, you can use some basic conversation starters that you find online, but it really works best if you personalize things. 

Keep in mind that you don’t have to put your conversation starters out there as questions. Instead, you can include quotes you like or add a unique photo to get people talking.

Choose Dynamic Photos

You should definitely have more than one profile picture in your dating profile. Unless you want everyone to assume you’re a catfish.

Most online dating platforms allow for three or more photos. That’s an opportunity to show different sides of yourself. Don’t just use a bunch of bland, portrait-style pictures. Instead, use your allotted photo space to show yourself in action.

Photos tell a story

If you love the gym, get a friend to grab some photos of you lifting weights. If you’re an incredible home cook, include some shots of you in the kitchen or holding your favorite weekend bake. 

Choose photos that show you actually doing the things you love to do. This will make for a much more interesting dating profile.

Stay Positive!

All of us get fed up with dating from time to time, and life throws plenty of other frustrations our way. But a dating profile is not the place to vent about your disappointments and irritations! 

Don’t trash your exes or make cynical comments about the quality of local matches. This isn’t the appropriate space to air your grievances with the dating platform. 

Positive vibes only

Instead of being negative, talk about what you have to offer, what you’re looking for, and what’s going great in your life. A positive attitude is attractive. As the saying goes, you catch more flies with honey.

Navigating Challenges & Pitfalls

Even seasoned daters will run into some challenges and stumbles in the online dating scene. 

You need to know how to roll with the punches and avoid the worst of the pitfalls on dating sites and apps. This section will give you the tools to hold out for the right match instead of giving up.

Online Dating Fatigue

Gen Z has been vocal about online dating fatigue, but they’re not the only generation to feel the frustration. Pretty much since the advent of online dating, users have reported growing tired of the endless stream of profiles, first dates that never go anywhere, and “time wasters”—people who either don’t know what they want or are dishonest about it.

Burnout

A lot of Gen Z singles have switched to in-person methods of meeting new people, like book clubs and speed dating events.  

The good news is that you can find a wealth of great advice for fighting dating app fatigue. The most common tips include slowing down, getting more selective, and even taking a break from online dating. 

You can prevent online dating fatigue to some degree by managing your expectations

Whatever your goals for online dating are, you’re not going to find the right partner instantly. It’s going to take some work screening profiles, messaging potential matches, and finally making a date to meet up.

Set your expectations and check in with yourself regularly to assess how it’s going. You should make sure that online dating isn’t causing you more grief than joy, and take breaks when you feel yourself getting frustrated.

Safety Concerns

Online dating comes with a certain amount of risk, just like meeting someone new in person. 

Some risks, however, are exclusive to online dating. Catfish and romance scammers are, unfortunately, pretty common.

Online daters should check out tips for online dating safety. Expert advice can help you avoid the risks that can come from bringing your digital romance to the real world.

Safety

The statistics on online dating safety can be worrying, but basic precautions are your friend. 

My first tip is to not take anything at face value. If a profile looks too good to be true, it probably is, and you should be wary.

If the details on a person’s profile don’t match up to their pictures or messages, that’s a pretty major red flag.

When it comes to meeting in person, you should be just as cautious and careful. Spend some time chatting or exchanging messages with a potential date before you agree to meet in person. 

It’s even better if you can arrange for a video chat to get a better idea of what the person is like.

You should arrange to meet up for the first time in a public place, not an apartment or house. 

Even if you’re looking for a casual hookup, a public venue like a bar, a club, or even a park will give you a chance to feel the other person’s vibe. Then you can decide if you feel comfortable being alone with them. 

Rejection Will Happen

Dita Von Teese is credited with the quote, “You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches.” Very true.

No matter how awesome you are, no matter how great a catch you may be, some amount of rejection is inevitable in online dating.

Rejection

You’re not going to be compatible with every single person, and that’s OK. If you find yourself spiraling from a stream of “no,” look into resources to help you process rejection safely. 

Don’t let yourself fall prey to bitterness or the grifters who target disappointed singles.

If the resources for dealing with rejection aren’t enough, consider taking some time to work on yourself and focus on hobbies. Just by getting out there and making yourself happy, you’re likely to improve your social life, which will help you bring a healthier attitude to online dating.

Authenticity & Perseverance are Key to Online Dating Success

Whether you’re looking for a casual fling or the perfect partner for long-term romance, the key to success is a good online dating profile. 

Being authentic, showing off your best traits, and not overthinking it will lead you to the right match. It may take some time, but keep swiping, and you’ll find the right person with a great profile.

Now brush up your bio and start matching!