Online dating profile clichés to avoid – and how to write an original profile
Ever skimmed a dating profile and seen one or more of these lines?
- ‘I love to travel’
- ‘I’m laid back, easy-going, and love to have a good time’
- ‘I’m looking for someone honest, caring and kind’
- ‘I don’t really know what to write on one of these things’
- ‘My family is really important to me’
They sound pretty familiar, right? That’s because you’ve seen them, or their variations, on numerous dating profiles.
You expect to see one or more every time you visit a new page – the same old lines about looking for someone with a sense of humour, or how people notice their eyes, or about how they’re not too sure how to describe themselves.
It can get pretty boring reading the same clichés over and over, and after a while it becomes hard to distinguish one profile from another. ‘Which guy was this one again? The one who loves hanging out with his friends on a Friday night?’
By the same token, it’s extremely refreshing when you come across a profile that doesn’t feature these tried and tired phrases. When someone’s taken the time out to make their page even just a little bit original, it’s like water in the desert – a reminder that not everyone out there’s saying the same four things about themselves and what they’re looking for.
But why are these clichés such a turn-off, and how can you avoid using them in your own dating profile? After all, if your goal is to attract people, you want to create a profile that really stands out. And that’s going to take a little bit more thought than just posting a few pictures and talking about how you love to have fun.
What’s an online dating cliché?
When we talk about clichés, we’re referring to the same overused few lines people tend to use when talking about themselves on their dating profiles. They’re generic, obvious statements that appear time and time again in the profiles of men and women the world over.
Clichés are overused for good reason. More often than not, they’re true. Lots of people do love to travel, go out on a Friday night, enjoy a beer after work or work out at the gym. And it’s important to be honest about the things you enjoy doing and what you’re looking for in a date.
We’re not advocating that you start talking about your love of Russian opera or your time spent in a yurt in Tibet just so you can appear ‘original’. We’re just here to suggest other ways to say something that people will find familiar. Because, if you hear a cliché too many times, you start to doubt that it’s true.
The classic online dating clichés
- ‘Stop me if you’ve heard this one before…’
- ‘I’m equally as comfortable in jeans and a T-shirt as I am in a cocktail dress and heels’
- ‘The most important things in my life are my iPhone and my family… not in that order’
- ‘I love going out, but I’m just as happy staying in’
- ‘People tend to notice my eyes and my smile’
- ‘There’s no such thing as a typical Friday night for me’
- ‘I work hard and play hard’
- ‘I’m shy at first, until you get to know me’
- ‘I’m terrible at talking about myself’
- ‘I’m looking for someone who knows what he/she wants’
- ‘I’m looking for a partner in crime’
- ‘I’m looking for someone with a great sense of humour’
- ‘I like to have fun and enjoy life’
- ‘I hate playing games and I don’t want any drama’
It’s hard to tell what this girl’s really like because there’s nothing about the above to distinguish her from other users.
So what’s so bad about clichés, anyway?
Now you may be reading the above and thinking, ‘Well, what’s so bad about saying that? It’s true, isn’t it?’ You may even be wondering whether you, too, might have used some of the above phrases when talking about yourself online. But they can often be a turn-off for other users.
- They make you sound boring: Talking about how much you love the beach or how you’re looking for someone who can make you laugh gives others the impression that there’s nothing particularly special about you, and that you like the same generic things everybody else likes.
- They make you sound predictable: Dating is all about the excitement of discovering new things about a new person. All humans are complex, multi-layered beings with so many different characteristics. Don’t give someone the impression they can figure you out just by reading your ‘about me’ section.
- They make you sound like you haven’t put in any effort: If nothing else, clichés are lazy. A profile littered with the same old tired lines about your pets or your iPhone just makes the writer sound uninterested in taking the process seriously.
- They don’t get you attention: Users whose profiles are heavy on the clichés tend to get fewer messages and responses than those whose profiles show thought, originality and a genuine sense of humour.
How to say it better
While there’s nothing wrong with using a couple of these lines when you genuinely know them to be true, there’s almost always a better way to say the same thing. Here are a few ways to avoid writing the same thing as everybody else and make your profile to stand out:
- Be specific: Talk about your interests in detail, rather than generally. For example, talk about eating fish and chips by the ocean at sunset instead of just saying you love the beach. If you love working out, talk about training for a marathon or hiking in the mountains rather than just going to the gym. Don’t just say you love to read. Tell us about the last great book you read and why it made you think.
- Be cheeky: Make light-hearted references to those clichés you’ve been learning to hate. You could write something like, ‘I’m not into games. Unless of course you mean Scrabble… in which case you better bet I’ll beat you.’ Readers will be relieved to know you’re not completely oblivious and they’ll feel like you’re in on the joke.
- Be honest and sincere: If you really take the time to sincerely write about yourself, you may be surprised to learn you can come up with original, honest and meaningful things to say about yourself and what you’re looking for in a partner. Part of the frustration with clichés is they seem insincere or disingenuous.
- Tell a story: Give your readers a chance to get to know you on a deeper level by sharing witty anecdotes from your life. It doesn’t have to be anything too personal – just a few lines about a moment in your life that was important to you.
Here are a few examples of clichéd responses on dating profiles and ways in which to edit them to make them sound a little more original:
This user has listed a few interests that sound very generic – everybody loves doing at least one of these activities when they have time off.
Not only is this answer completely uninteresting, it’s also too short to get a sense of what they’re really looking for. Again – this user hasn’t spent much time thinking of a creative or unique answer, which is a turn-off.
This answer REALLY doesn’t give the reader much to work with, and makes the user look like they’re too lazy to come up with anything original or interesting. They also sound disinterested in online dating in general, which sort of defeats the purpose.
When in doubt, try thinking about the ways in which your friends would describe you – or better yet, just ask them! This response isn’t cliché because it comes across as genuine and sincere. So even though the words themselves are not drastically original, the user has clearly put thought and effort into crafting their response, which piques the reader’s interest and makes them want to learn more.
Last but not least
The most appealing thing you can do when creating your dating profile is just to be yourself. Let your guard down and let yourself push past beyond the words that come most easily. While online dating isn’t therapy, it is a great way to learn more about yourself and what you want in a partner. You’ll avoid being a cliché by being sincere, honest and open, and other users will notice and appreciate it.
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