Selling Yourself vs. Being Yourself



The advertising industry has spent decades trying to walk the line between accurately describing a product and grossly exaggerating its benefits. Online daters face the same challenge – they want to describe themselves in glowing terms, but not give an impression that can’t stand up to reality.

Most of us know that it’s a false economy to lie in a profile. Your first-date rate might go up, but the number of second dates will stagnate. Conversely, under-selling yourself will lead to a woeful scarcity of first dates. So how do we find that happy balance between selling ourselves and being true to ourselves?

Branding isn’t bad

It may seem like something from a corporate dystopia, but evaluating yourself as a brand can help organise your thoughts. Jot down your strengths, and then cross out those that aren’t demonstrable. For example, you might think you’re good with children, but have you ever interacted with them? Give some examples.

Do the same with the activities you feel passionate about. People often say that they love the theatre or classical music, when they actually see about one play a year and own a ‘Best of Mozart’ CD.  Be honest about what you like and say why you like it.

Once you’ve got your pluses narrowed down, link them together into a coherent snapshot of who you are. Picture an internal board-meeting with ad execs trying to sum you up in a few lines. When you’ve got it nailed, use it as the basis for your profile.

Be expansive

An online profile isn’t the place to be enigmatic. Less isn’t more so give people what they want; which is information.  The reader will be hoping to find something in common with you, so don’t be shy about describing your life. It’s often the small details that count – you never know what things can reverberate with someone else.

If you’re struggling to bulk out the content, call on friends and family for help. It can be a bit cringey to ask others to describe your positive traits, but it’s worth it for a good profile.

Positivity pays

People only want to go on a date if it’s likely to be enjoyable. If you sound positive in your profile, readers will want to meet you in person. Check your profile for any negativity and remove it. Keep the tone upbeat and bright without being false. For example, if you’re naturally a bit of an Eeyore, make a joke about it.

Don’t ask, don’t get

If you want something from a prospective partner, don’t be afraid to ask. Similarly, if there’s something you really don’t want, then put that in too. There’s no point pretending to be all-accepting when you’re actually looking for something specific – say a Dutch-speaking vegan who enjoys naturist holidays. Again, it’s about being honest.

Do you find it easy to portray yourself in your profile? Do you h

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