How to write an inviting dating profile

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Write an inviting dating profile

Writing a great dating profile is all about welcoming people into your world and the kind of relationship you’re offering. Susan Quilliam shares some of her top tips to help you write an inviting profile

When it comes to online dating, problems often arise before we even start. Forget the panic before a first date, we’re talking the panic that comes before you even put finger to keyboard. It’s easy to get writers’ block when tasked with selling ourselves in a dating profile. What should we say to grab interest? What will appeal or impress?

Happily, academic research (by Professor Eli Finkel at Northwestern University in Illinois) suggests that we don’t actually have to do any of that. Successful profiles – the ones that make readers want to get in touch – are not about selling yourself like your CV. The most successful profiles, in fact, are not all about us at all.

What matters is the welcome. A compelling profile is one that offers a verbal smile, handshake and invitation into our world and the relationship we’re offering. The profiles that provoke responses paint an irresistible picture of what it would be like to be with that person, so the reader imagines it and is charmed.

That doesn’t mean that you’re running an open house. Yes, you’re extending a welcome but only to the right people. The best profile invites interest but also filters and gently eases out unsuitable matches. It’s honest and clear about who you are. It doesn’t hold back on what you like and what you enjoy. It paints an enthusiastic, but realistic, picture of what the dynamic of a partnership with you would be and is specifically designed to turn away those who wouldn’t fit.

How do you do that? Here are the headlines:

  • Don’t start with who you are, start with what you want to keep. Pick the best bits of your current life, the parts you love and wouldn’t want to be without.
  • Think about what’s next. What lies ahead for you ideally? Travel? Children? Companionship? What sort of relationship will support your vision of the future?
  • Notice that I’ve not mentioned specifying your ideal partner. Tall, dark and handsome (or blonde, bright and wealthy) may be attractive traits, but people with those traits may not have what it takes to make you happy. Instead, reflect on what kind of partnership you’d thrive in.
  • Be specific. Use examples to draw readers into your world. Don’t just think, ‘I’d like us to take country walks.’ Whereabouts? Which routes? And where would you end the day, with fish and chips or a fine dining meal? Paint the picture. Make the movie.
  • Keep the filters. Be clear (though not cruel) about your deal breakers. Be proud, not shy, of who you are. Be honest – no white lies about age, height, weight and income. If you don’t appeal to the reader as you are, then you don’t want to hear from them.
  • Once you’re clear about the partnership that you’re looking for, start writing your profile. And make it welcoming. Don’t be negative and show lots of enthusiasm. Less you, more them – try to make the ratio of ‘I’, ‘you’ and ‘we’ roughly equal. Include less self-deprecation and more happy confidence.

In short, create a profile that draws in the people who what you want – and will want you!

Susan Quilliam will be appearing at the Institute of Art and Idea’s event The Greatest Adventure: Love in the Time of Tinder. Her workshop, How to find love online, is a whole hour devoted to helping you put those ideas into practice. The event takes place on 29-30th April and will be an enlightening weekend of debates, talks and workshops tackling technology’s impact on our relationships. Book your tickets now.


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