One description that you should never use in a singles profile

Nov 22 09:48 2007 V. Berba Velasco Jr., Ph.D. Print This Article

Learn how to avoid an all-too-common mistake when writing a singles profile

You see them all the time.  I estimate that about 10% of all the singles site profiles I’ve seen say something like "I'm a fun-loving gal..." as the very first line.  Many others include similar statements early in their profiles,Guest Posting though not necessarily at the very start.

I don't wish to offend anyone, but doesn't that sound kinda meaningless? It seems to me that such statements doesn't really tell you anything; after all, who doesn't enjoy having fun? People may have different ideas of what fun is, but virtually everyone enjoys having a good time.  Such statements strike me as empty padding, and nothing more. It sounds like the kind of thing that people write when they don't have much to say. Usually, when I read such a statement, my eyes glaze over and I find myself skipping ahead to the next profile.

Am I off base here? Am I being unduly harsh? Maybe, but I don't think so.  Instead of saying that you love fun, why not talk about what you enjoy doing instead? After all, one's opening line (or "lead," in journalistic parlance) needs to catch the reader's attention. A weak opening isn't going to thrill anyone, even if the rest of one's profile is written well.

Writing a singles profile is very much like writing a resume. In both situations, one is attempting to sell oneself and stand out from the crowd. Nevertheless, people often resort to trite, meaningless phrases such as "fun-loving" or "nice person" in their profiles. Phrases like these don't really communicate anything; after all, who wouldn't claim to be a nice person? And who wouldn't claim to enjoy having a good time?

Besides, when people read your profile, they’re typically looking for something they can use to start a conversation.  Merely knowing that someone is “fun-loving” doesn’t really help.  Why not be more specific?  Why not say that you enjoy bowling, or hang-gliding, or tap dancing? That way, you can attract people with whom you have common interests, and that helps get the conversation rolling.

What if the rest of the profile contains more useful information?  That certainly helps; however, it’s also important to capture the reader’s attention right from the start.  Moreover, I think people quickly learn that when a profile starts out with nothing but empty padding, then it’s usually filled with a lot more of that emptiness.  Don’t let them mentally pigeonhole you into that category.

When I raised these points in one discussion forum, some posters nodded in agreement. Several others responded with hellfire and fury, though. They exclaimed "Not everybody is a journalist, damn you!  Don’t be so judgmental." Boy, talk about venom.

I think that such reactions clearly miss the point. Sure, not everyone can write well, but that's beside the point. Ultimately, a well-written profile will communicate more and stand out from the crowd, whereas one that's filled with vague phrases or meaningless fluff won't grab much attention. Quality matters, folks. A boring or carelessly written profile says something about the person, just as a well-written one does.

Others said, "Are you saying that we should treat women like job applicants? This isn't an interview process, bozo!" I think this clearly misses the point as well. Sure, joining a singles site is not the same as a job interview; however, the two situations share some critical and common features. In both situations, one is attempting to sell oneself. One is attempting to distinguish himself or herself from everyone else. And in both situations, the quality of one's writing matters. A lazily written profile is less likely to garner attention that one in which more time and effort was invested.

One person chimed, "Who cares about quality? You should be the one who strives to learn about the other person, instead of judging them based on the quality of what they wrote." Again, I think that's horribly naive. It's like telling a job interviewer, "Who cares about the quality of my resume? You should make the effort to dig deeper and see my positive qualities!" (Yes, I know that some would be offended by these repeated comparisons to a job interview process. Please don’t get me wrong. I'm not suggesting that we should treat the opposite sex as job applicants. The two situations are roughly analogous though, and in critically important ways.  It would be foolish to pretend otherwise.)

So in summary… Strike the phrase “fun-loving” from your profiles.  Describe your specific interests instead.  That way, you will sound more articulate, and your meaningful descriptions can help get the conversational ball rolling.

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V. Berba Velasco Jr., Ph.D.
V. Berba Velasco Jr., Ph.D.

V. B. Velasco Jr is a senior electrical and software engineer at a small biotech company that provides ELISPOT analyzers, ELISPOT software, and serum-free media.

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