Not sure what to write in your online dating profile?
We put together tips to craft an online dating bio that will help you attract quality dates you’re actually compatible with.
- How to write a dating profile bio
- What to include in your dating profile bio
- What NOT to include in your dating profile bio
- Tips for dating profile headlines
- Words to include in dating profiles
- Dating profile bio examples
How to write a dating profile bio
Chris Gillis, a dating and image consultant, hosts a podcast with more than 2 million downloads called “Life Check Yourself” with fellow dating coach Marni Battista.
When Battista became single more than a decade ago, Gillis was her dating coach. She has since appeared on Dr. Phil and has been featured in Cosmopolitan, Glamour, and O, The Oprah Magazine, among other publications.
These are Gillis’ tips for writing a successful dating profile bio:
1. Be honest and authentic
If you exaggerate or lie about yourself, you’ll have to keep up that ruse or admit you weren’t being honest if you actually meet someone with long-term potential.
For example, don’t say you run marathons if you ran a half marathon 15 years ago. Don’t fudge your age or height or post pictures of yourself from 20 lbs ago.
“Remember that the goal is to attract someone who is compatible with you, so be true to yourself and don't try to be someone you're not,” Gillis says.
2. Keep it positive
Gillis says you should focus on the things you like about yourself and what you're looking for in a partner rather than referencing past negative experiences or the qualities you don’t want in a partner.
One dater on Reddit talked about seeing too much negativity on online dating profiles:
3. Be specific
A well-written and specific bio is more likely to attract potential matches who are interested in getting to know you, Gillis says, since it gives them a sense of who you are as a person.
Generic and overused statements, like these examples from Reddit, don’t give potential daters a sense of who you are or what you're looking for in a partner:
4. Use humor
Gillis says a good sense of humor can be attractive and make your profile more engaging.
“Inject your own personality in your bio with whatever it is you want to say,” he says.
Gillis suggests writing something interesting about yourself followed by a zinger or funny/sassy line.
“I love the beach but can bring a pop-up tent if you burn easily.”
“Small talk is the worst. Let's dive into the things that truly matter — like what actually happened to Carole Baskin's husband.”
5. Show, don't tell
Gillis suggests using descriptive language and anecdotes to give people a sense of your personality and interests, rather than just listing them.
For example, if you love to ski, include a brief sentence or two about a recent ski trip you took or your dream to travel to a specific ski destination.
Make sure your profile is well-written and free of spelling and grammar errors to make a good first impression and show you’re serious about dating.
This dater on Reddit said she had a hard time connecting with a match because of his poor spelling:
What should I include in my dating profile?
First, let’s review what your dating profile should include. Generally, you want it to be a reflection of your true self. More specifically, here are 5 things you should include in your online dating profile:
- What you're looking for in terms of values and dating goals
- A glimpse into your unique personality and hobbies
- Positivity! A bio that generates laughs is a plus
- Plenty of pictures of yourself; no group photos
- Pictures of your face, without sunglasses
Why men and women should include income in dating profiles
When I first ventured out into the new-again world romance after my divorce, I omitted my income on dating apps.
Well, for all the usual reasons: It is considered impolite to talk about money. I didn’t want to come across as being obsessed about a guy’s income. And, because my income is high, I didn’t want to scare off potential suitors.
However, some months into my dating venture I found that I wasn’t meeting guys I really dug — and that includes many qualities, including that they are professionally ambitious.
I usually dated men my age and older (check out our post on dating an older man). And in middle age, if you aren’t established or very well on your way in your career, the likelihood that will change is slim.
I wasn’t looking for a guy with many millions of dollars, and in fact preferred to date someone with a similar financial picture as my own, as I found we would have more in common (see below).
My career is important to me, and I identify best with men who feel the same. Being financially stable usually comes with professional accomplishment, even if the guy may earn less than me.
And so in the right-hand column of my OKCupid profile that highlights the key personal details, I changed my status from blank, to my six-figure income. Almost immediately I started meeting very interesting men. Lots of them.
This last point was of interest to my friend Farnoosh Torabi, the financial expert and author of the fascinating When She Makes More: The Truth About Navigating Love and Life for a New Generation of Women (the paperback of which was recently released).
Torabi advocates for high-earning women to disclose their finances early in a relationship, in an act of transparency that allows for any resentment to be worked through early in the courtship.
After all, the chances of divorce in couples where the women earn more than their husbands is double that when the inverse is true.
Why high-income women should include their salaries on dating sites:
1. Sharing openly about my income says a whole lot about me — including that I’m not in the market for a sugar daddy. Torabi writes:
Emma Johnson disclosed her income in her online dating profile after not finding guys she was interested in to date. As soon as she disclosed her six-figure income, quality men started to contact her. “I’m a single mom and freelance writer,” she told me. “If that doesn’t scream poverty, I don’t know what does.”
2. Successful middle-aged men are usually divorced, paying alimony, and really, really upset about it (including the very progressive, feminist ones I hang out with). I told Torabi:
“The divorced guys I date love the fact that I’m financially independent because they’re so angry that their ex-wives stayed at home, so angry they’re paying alimony. In their opinion they think, ‘She was lazy. I wanted her to get a job. I didn’t want her to stay at home.’ ”
3. Take shame out of the equation. You are professionally successful, so why hide it? Of course, if a guy is threatened by your success …. I don’t even need to finish that sentence.
4. If you’re passionate about your career, you want to discuss business with your partner. The man I’m dating now is also independently employed. One of the main things we connect on is business, which I find incredibly hot.
5. Successful guys like to talk about work and business with successful people. Including women. Including women they date. See above. Flip the equation. Not rocket science dating advice.
6. Take one for the team. Yes, there is still a contingent of successful men who are truly intimidated by high-earning women, and openly seek a homemaker with a low IQ they can manipulate. More commonly, I find, are men who are quite progressive and respect women of all incomes, and are perhaps unconsciously influenced by centuries of socializing that makes them squirm at the notion they may be the lesser earner in a relationship.
In the spirit of pushing the tide forward, I say: Ladies, include in your profile your real income. Do not hesitate to share your professional success. Do it for yourself. And do it for women everywhere.
Online dating mistakes: What not to include in your profile
eharmony advises: “Never lie. Ever. Don’t lie about your height, age, or weight: you’ll be found out soon enough. Don’t pretend to have a better job than you do or that you’re more prepared for long-term commitment than you currently are.”
The site also warns against saying disparaging things about online dating: “Insulting the method — or the people using the method — of finding love that you’re currently giving a try is a huge turn-off,” eharmony says. “You’ll come across as condescending and judgmental. Don’t bite the hand that might be feeding you your soulmate.”
Gillis says these are some things you shouldn’t do in your online dating profile:
1. Hide kids if you have them
“Being upfront about being a single parent can attract the right people who are looking for someone with similar life experiences and values,” Gillis says.
Learn more about dating as a single mom and dating as a single dad.
2. Focus too much on your children
While you shouldn’t pretend like you don’t have children, you also don’t want to make them the primary focus of your profile. Gillis says you should show your personality and independent interests.
3. Put up too many walls
“Don't be afraid to open up and be yourself, but also be mindful of how much personal information you're sharing online,” Gillis says.
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4. Lie or exaggerate
“This will only lead to disappointment later on when your date finds out the truth,” Gillis says.
5. Complain about past relationships
“Nobody wants to date someone who is bitter or still hung up on their exes,” Gillis says.
6. Use cliche phrases or generic language
There are a million online daters who “love to laugh” and are “down to earth.” Be specific about your likes and interests to find the most compatible matches.
7. Post old or low-quality photos
Gillis says you should use recent and clear photos that accurately represent how you currently look.
“Avoid using group photos where the person has to play ‘Where’s Waldo?’ to figure out which one is you,” he says.
9. List too many demands or requirements
Having high standards is one thing, but listing a lot of specific requirements can come across as picky or arrogant. Your matches don’t want to feel like they’re on a job interview.
10. Get too sexual
Unless you’re specifically looking for a hookup or something more casual, keep your profile PG.
“You want to attract people who are interested in getting to know you as a person, not just for your physical appearance,” Gillis says.
11. Use offensive or discriminatory language
This will turn off a lot of potential matches and can also get you banned from some dating platforms.
What is a good headline for a dating profile?
Gillis says some of the profiles he finds most funny or endearing have headlines that read like: “Top 5 Reasons You Should Date Me,” followed by photos that correspond with those reasons.
“If it's a photo of the person at their martial arts or wrestling club, they list that they can protect you, take you to travel the world on fun tournaments, or better yet, be a professional cuddler (since that is basically wrestling),” Gillis says.
He also likes when daters use visual aides like this:
Or funny movie-like reviews on why they are a great catch:
He offers these other examples for specific types of daters:
“If you're over 35, then it's time to forget about young girls and date a woman who can recognize the signs of stroke.”
“I'm not hot enough to be a bot.”
Gillis says it's OK to have fun with your headline if that's your personality, like making light of how silly online dating can feel:
“Photoshopped photos where the person is in some ridiculous situation (rap battling Eminem or accepting the NBA championship trophy with your favorite hometown team) or with a celebrity will almost always at least catch a person's attention,” Gillis says.
If you have an interesting name, he says you can use it to your advantage:
“If your name is Margo: ‘Getting lost in the supermarket as a kid was scarring. When my mom called out my name, everyone would yell out POLO!’”
These are some more headlines eharmony suggests:
- “You’ll never believe why I moved to ___.”
- “Seeking someone to do ___ with.”
- “Willing to lie about how we met.”
- “I am sweet, ambitious and thoughtful.”
- “I solemnly swear that I am up to no good.”
- “Looking for my Netflix & chill.”
- “I have an MBA, love tacos, and am looking for someone to play video games with.”
Words to use to describe yourself in your profile
Gillis says using certain words in your headline or About Me can help you attract the right people to your profile. This is what he says the following words communicate about you:
- “adventure” or “explorer” – You’re spontaneous and love to try new things.
- “passionate” or “driven” – You’re ambitious and do things with purpose.
- “kind” or “compassionate” – You have a caring and empathetic nature.
- “fun” or “lighthearted” – You have a positive attitude and sense of humor.
- “family-oriented” or “homebody” – You have a strong sense of family values and desire for a stable home life.
- “fit” or “health-conscious” – You’re committed to taking care of yourself and living a healthy lifestyle.
- “creative” or “artsy” – You’re interested in the arts and have a unique perspective on life.
- “intelligent” or “well-read” – You love to learn and expand your knowledge.
- “independent” or “self-sufficient” – You’re confident and resilient.
- “responsible” or “mature” – Your partners can depend on you.
- “nurturing” or “caring” – You like to take care of people.
- “flexible” or “adaptable” – You’re willing to work around busy schedules and don’t need a lot of attention.
- “balanced” or “well-rounded” – You strike a good balance between work and play.
- “open-minded” or “non-judgmental” – You are open to different types of people and relationships.
- “enthusiastic” or “optimistic” – You have a positive attitude and are willing to take risks and try new things.
- “supportive” or “encouraging” – You understand and support the needs and goals of a potential partner.
What to write about yourself on a dating site
Gah! This can be so overwhelming. Worse than a resume or LinkedIn profile. Here’s what our experts say about dating profile decorum:
1. Keep it short
“Keep it short,” says Sandra Schwartz, founder of HerNorm.com, which helps women understand men.
She says if you put everything about yourself on your profile, there might not be anything interesting left to say when you decide to talk to each other online and in person. Just highlight the important things.
2. Tell people what you are looking for
Also, make sure to let them know what you are looking for, says certified sex educator Suzannah Weiss.
“You want a line about what you’re looking for so that you can weed out people who aren’t looking for the same thing,” Weiss says.
She says it doesn’t have to be as direct as saying you’re looking for a relationship — though it can be.
“Try painting a picture of the kind of relationship you want — for example: ‘Looking for someone who will go hiking with me, then snuggle under the covers afterward,’ or ‘Looking for someone to co-parent a cat with,’” Weiss says.
She says you can make it easier for people to ask you out by suggesting a date activity in your bio.
3. Talk about your interests and hobbies
This can give potential matches an idea of what you like to do in your free time and what you're passionate about. You can also keep it fun and list some of your favorite foods, musical artists, and movies.
Janell O’Leary, head dating coach at EliteDatingManagers.com, a website that helps people with their online dating profiles, suggests ending your prompts with a question for people to reply to:
“For example, a sentence about liking music/cooking/travel, then ‘What's your favorite recipe/song/next destination?’”
4. Your job and career
Briefly explain what you do for a living and what your work schedule might be like. If you don’t have a lot of time for dating, be upfront about it to avoid getting matched with someone who isn’t flexible.
5. Your goals and aspirations
Talk about where you see yourself in the future, in your relationship, career, family, etc. Do you want kids? Do you want to live in the same area long term or travel the world? Including this information allows you to weed out non-compatible matches.
Dating about me examples
Says Schwartz: “The shorter the introduction the better, as it leaves your reader more curious about you. For instance, you can say:
“Founder of a website. Yoga enthusiast. Loves traveling to different and far away places. What’s your story?”
Relationship coach Michelle Devani agrees and offers this sample dating profile:
Four things I couldn’t live without:
My iPhone, my face mask and shield, my best friend, and of course cocktails.
What do my friends say about me?
Romantic, caring, passionate, creative, and friendly.
The three things I’m most thankful for:
1) Getting to travel to countries I love visiting.
2) My great friends and loving family.
3) Doing a job that I love.
This is from Starbuck’s own dating profile:
I love love love my work as a collaborative writer, helping others tell their amazing stories. Seriously, best job ever. (Athletes, entertainers, overcomers…) I’m grateful for my beautiful community (ask me!) & I have a lot of energy for life. I love being active outside for a few hours each day—walking, skating, swimming. Have I done standup? Yeah … I have. Was I recently recruited to do roller derby? Also yes. (Still deliberating this one … because not being injured is my favorite.) I try to love folks on the world’s margins the way Jesus did. Wall of heroes in our kitchen includes Jesus, MLK Jr., Oscar Romero, Bree Newsome, and Colin Kaepernick. I’m looking for character and for someone who’s giving back. And he’ll be a man of faith.
Gillis offers this as an example of a good dating profile bio:
“Hey there! I'm a fun-loving and adventurous person who loves to travel and try new things. I'm not saying I'm the best catch out there, but I'm definitely an upgrade from your ex. I'm also a huge animal lover and enjoy hiking and exploring the great outdoors. I'm a nurse and I'm passionate about helping others and making a positive impact in the world. In my free time, you can find me reading a good book or trying out new recipes in the kitchen.. I make a mean grilled cheese. I'm looking for someone who is kind, genuine and has a sense of humor. Bonus points if you're a travel companion and food lover too! I'm looking for someone who can keep up with my wit and sarcasm, and who's not afraid of a little cheese. Bonus points if you're a fan of dad jokes too, because I've got plenty to go around.”
Gillis says in this example, the person gives a clear sense of who they are and what they're like, both in terms of their personality and their interests.
“They use specific examples and anecdotes to give a sense of their personality and interests,” Gillis says.
He says this is an example of a bad dating profile bio:
“I know online dating is a shot in the dark, but my friends are making me do this. I'm just a normal girl looking for a normal guy, unlike my ex. I like to go out and have a good time, but also like to stay in and watch movies. I'm not really picky and will pretty much try anything once. So, if you're interested just message me and we'll see where it goes.”
Gillis says this bio is poorly written and unspecific. The person doesn't mention their interests or what they're looking for in a partner.
“A well-written and specific bio is more likely to attract potential matches who are interested in getting to know you, as it gives them a sense of who you are as a person,” Gillis says.
Check out more online dating profile examples.
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