As much as we wish life were a rom-com or something out of a Jane Austen novel (a Darcy, Wentworth or Knightly would do), the truth is that most of us are scouring the internet for love. From Hinge to Tinder, Bumble and the ultra-exclusive Raya, there’s no shortage of options for dating platforms. One thing they all have in common? You’ll need a profile to help you stand out. While it seems easy enough, the cascade of bad profiles you’ve scrolled through tells us it’s not as simple as it seems. We spoke with two dating experts to get the scoop on things they’d never have on their profile—plus the things you absolutely should include.
“Good Vibes Only”? No Thanks. 8 Things Dating Experts Would Never Have on Their Profile
1. Group Photos
A picture has the power to make or break your profile, so choose wisely. Sullivan recommends ditching the group photos—it gets confusing fast. One group photo is fine, but make sure the rest leave you easily identifiable—especially the lead image, which should be you showcasing something you enjoy.
2. Signs of Exes in Photos
Sullivan also advises that you shouldn’t include images of yourself with someone that implies they were an ex—no wants to see your baggage before the first date.
To stand out in the sea of potential matches, O’Brien tells people to avoid selfies as they tend not to perform as well. If you’re worrying about needing a pro photographer, though, don’t. Rope in a friend while you’re out doing things you love and add those images to your profile instead. “This shows more of your personality and gives daters an idea of what it would be like to be with you.”
4. Skimpy, Generic Bios
The bio provides valuable real estate to communicate your interests, personality and what you’re looking for. Having a hard time drumming up a concise one-liner? Imagine you work for an ad agency, O’Brien says. “Share what you want your potential partner to know about you in a catchy way. The assignment is to sell you. An example: ‘Introverted homebody with an occasional travel streak.’”
5. Absolutely No Details
We’ve all seen it. The profile that looks like someone couldn’t have put in less effort if they tried. Bad pictures only? * Shudders * Make sure to share enough about yourself so that people aren’t wondering if you’re secretly a serial killer.
“Profile must haves include your favorite activities, the area or city you live in, and what you’re looking for in a potential partner,” Sullivan recommends. Avoid vague, sarcastic comments and jokes, as well as traits you're not looking for—more on that later.
6. Embellished Facts
“One of the most important things you can do is display your true self and keep all details accurate on your online dating profile,” Sullivan says. Embellishments may seem fun, but in the end, they’ll only work against you. “Keep details such as height, age, location or occupation accurate, allowing potential matches to see the real you. You don’t want to create a false sense of who you are or struggle to perpetuate a lie.”
7. A List of What You Don’t Want
Being assertive (but polite and positive) pays off here. O’Brien notes that by being clear up front about what you're looking for will help the right people find you. “A really common mistake I see is sharing what you don’t want instead of what you do,” O’Brien shares. Positivity, she continues, is always more appealing. Sharing the negatives gives the impression of relationship baggage, which isn’t attractive. “For example, if you don’t want someone who is sarcastic or critical, you can say, ‘A sweet guy makes my heart melt.’”
8. “Good Vibes Only”
“It comes across as not being interested in the fullness of a relationship which includes being present for someone in good times and bad,” O’Brien elaborates. “I advise my coaching clients that if you see this on a profile, it’s often a sign the person may be emotionally unavailable. If you’re fully present and ready for a relationship, leave this phrase at home.”