This is a guest post from expert Erika Ettin. She is THE Top Virtual Dating Assistant and Online Dating Expert. Erika Ettin is the founder of A Little Nudge, the preeminent online dating coach in the US, and “the new voice of online dating.” A Little Nudge has been profiled on NPR, the Washington Post, WUSA9, and AskMen.com. Erika is also JDate’s leading expert, has been a featured columnist on Philly.com, and her weekly column syndicated through the Chicago Tribune. Here’s the her advice about the phrases to avoid in your online dating profile.
Depending on how long you’ve been online dating, you can probably relate to the déjà-vu you feel when you’re reading virtually the same profile day in and day out. Somehow, everyone is apparently going from little black dresses to jeans in 20 seconds or less and enjoys both relaxing at home and going out. What does this really tell us, though? Considering that it’s impossible for any of us to be exact physical replicas, why is it that every profile seems to use the same clichés as the last one?
Let’s take a peek at Phrases to Avoid in Your Online Dating Profile:
- I’m just as comfortable in a fancy dress (or tux for the gentlemen) as I am in jeans and flip flops.
This line is an attempt to show that you’re flexible and multi-faceted. Most people get the message. Rather than discuss your clothing preferences and what they imply about you, why don’t you just talk about the things you like to do? We can learn a lot more about you if you mention that you prefer a football game over a visit to an art gallery, regardless of what you’re hypothetically wearing.
- I like to laugh and have fun.
Well, I hope this is true! The point is that, unless you like to frown and mope around all day (which I also wouldn’t write), this line could be true for just about anyone and says nothing specific.
- I can’t believe I’m actually on here.
This is a negative commentary on online dating. Others interpret this as, “Only losers look for dates online, so I guess I’m a loser, too.” This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Online dating is a wonderful thing. Either embrace it or refrain from joining an online dating site until you can have a more positive attitude about it.
- I love traveling.
Again, there are few people who don’t love to travel. Instead, tell us more. Do you like to take active road trips across the United States, or do you prefer to lounge on the beach in Cancun? These details say a lot more about you than a generic statement about travel. Same with cooking, being outdoors, and “playing hard.” Tell us what those things mean to you.
Phrases to Avoid in Your Online Dating Profile
- On a typical Friday night, I’m just as happy going out on the town as I am curled up on the couch with wine and a movie.
My response to this is similar to the one for the fancy dress/jeans conundrum, with this added advice: Stop trying to attract everyone. While it may seem counterintuitive at first, it’s more important to be the genuine you than the version you think people want to see, or the version that tries to attract every single person on the site. Just be yourself. That way, you know that when someone is interested, it’s because he or she likes what you have to say, not just the fact that you were trying to be inclusive.
- My family and friends are important to me.
There’s no need to spell this one out because people already assume that family and friends are important to you, not the contrary. Again, if you want to mention specific people, go right ahead! “I have a great relationship with my grown children,” tells us a lot more than “Family is important to me.”
- My friends say that I’m… (insert a list of complimentary adjectives).
Of course your friends would say all of these great things about you—they’re already your friends! This could also be construed as a way of trying to appear humble, which can backfire in two ways: 1) it can make you appear insecure (do you not think these things about yourself?) or 2) it still sounds like you’re bragging.
Naturally, this brings me to an important point about “empty adjectives.” An empty adjective is a descriptor that can’t be proven until someone gets to know you. For example, I might say that I’m funny, but how would you confirm if that’s true? Maybe some people find me hilarious (usually the ones who love puns and wordplay), but others aren’t amused.
Phrases to Avoid in Your Online Dating Profile
- I’m down-to-earth.
This is very subjective, which again characterizes it as an empty adjective.
- I love life.
Remember, just because you don’t use the line “I love life” in your profile, does not mean that you hate life instead. It simply gives you space to share the more interesting things that do make your life so great.
- I’m looking for a partner in crime.
Unless your name is Bonnie or Clyde, there’s no reason to include this overused cliché.
Now’s your chance: Take some time to review your profile. Are there any of these overused, generic lines in it? If so, it’s time to hit the delete button, put on your creativity hat, and set yourself apart from the other online dating clones.
Have you made other online dating profile mistakes? Curious to have your profile reviewed? Check out A Little Nudge to see what they can do for you.