What women want (and what they really think of your dating profile)


What women want

New to online dating? Check out our guide to writing the kind of dating profile that women really want to read – while still being true to you! 

Online dating for the first time can be challenging. There may be plenty of fish out there, but the sea just seems so big. For men especially, it can be hard not to get disheartened by the competition.

The good news is that there are some simple ways to structure your profile so that it’s more attractive to women, without having to change who you really are. Many women online receive a lot of messages, so they may only respond to those with standout profiles – those that make them laugh, think or are unique.

With just a little bit of effort and some well-thought-out messages, you’ll be making a date before you know it.

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Avoiding miscommunication

Most online daters are smart, interesting, attractive singles looking to connect with other like-minded individuals. So it’s important not to say anything that could be misconstrued as too eager or overly forward. In the same way you wouldn’t leer over a woman and stand too close to her at a bar, you wouldn’t send a dirty message to a complete stranger online, unless your intention is to freak them out completely.

Since it’s hard to convey tone and nuance in written communication, take care to try to come across as friendly and approachable, without being aggressive or lewd. Sometimes that will mean adding an emoticon; sometimes it will mean avoiding one altogether.

Here are some things men say when they’re trying to get a woman’s attention – and how women interpret them:

He says: ‘I’m a fun-loving guy who loves to party, be out with my boys, and generally have a good time.’

She hears: ‘I’ll ignore your texts while I’m out drinking with my friends and then call you when I’m hammered at 3am.’

He says: ‘I’m looking for a girl who’s up for anything, who wants to have fun and be spontaneous.’

She hears: ‘I’m not looking for a serious relationship; I just want to hook up and have casual sex with no commitment.’

He says: ‘Hey! Great photo. Look at those big, beautiful… eyes ;)’

She hears: ‘I’m making an unoriginal joke about your breasts because I’m too immature to focus on anything else.’

He says: ‘Hey, what’s up?’

She hears: ‘I’m too bored to come up with an original message, and I’ve sent this identical first message to 30 other girls.’

He says: ‘I’m really charming, outgoing and confident and I can talk to anyone.’

She hears: ‘I’m arrogant and I only like talking about myself.’

Profile dos:

  • Keep it simple: Keep your profile brief and concise. No one  has the time to scroll through pages of badly written rants on climate change, so keep your sections no longer than about three sentences, and try to keep the information simple.
  • Stats vs. starter topics: You want your profile to include a nice balance of the basics – age, occupation, location, interests, dealbreakers, etc. – and the kinds of things that are unique and personal to you. Be sure to include your hobbies, the people in your life that have been the most influential and the place you most want to visit. Funny stories, witty anecdotes and little insights into who you are and the kind of person you’re looking for also help.
  • Give them something to ask about: A good profile will feature little clues as to who you are and what makes you tick. Other users are then able to pick up on those things and mention them in the context of your future conversations. Use the “five things I can’t live without…” section to drop hints about things that interest you – whether it’s music, yoga, the mountains, or your nephew. Be specific and avoid clichés.


Profile don’ts:

  • Don’t take yourself too seriously: It’s very easy to feel like you’re responding to questions in a job interview. Try, wherever you can, to inject a joke or some humour into an aspect of your profile, or at least to appear like you’re able to talk about yourself without making it sound like you’re too self-important. It’s easy for women to get turned off by someone who’s only interested in themselves.
  • Don’t appear too eager: Appearing too eager, either in your profile or in the way you send messages, can be a turn-off to women. That’s because eagerness is so closely linked to neediness, which is a really unattractive quality. If someone hasn’t messaged you back or responded to you within a certain period of time, let it go. Don’t keep writing back and asking for a response – you’ll only come across as desperate.
  • Clichés: Do your best to avoid using clichés to describe yourself and your interests. Remember the goal is to stand out from the crowd so don’t list your qualities as ‘nice’ and ‘funny’ – describe yourself as ‘genuine’, ‘optimistic’, ‘witty’ and ‘intellectually curious’. When it comes to interests, try to think beyond the usual activities that everyone enjoys, such as spending time with friends and being outdoors. Be more specific. What do you like doing with your friends? Where do you spend the bulk of your time outdoors? Is it the countryside, the beach, the gym, or the food court of your local shopping centre? No matter how generic the interest, there’s a way to spin it so that your take on it sounds interesting, engaging and something that the reader wants to learn more about.
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Who should I be?

Anyone who’s tried online dating can tell you there are a few different kinds of profiles you come across over and over again. In fact, these profiles are so similar we’ve nicknamed them. Here are some of the worst online dating personas and ways that you can avoid becoming them:

The bore

The bore is the guy who hasn’t put in any thought to creating his profile. His page lists his job, his generic interests (going out with friends, sports, films) and provides no insight into his true personality – assuming he has one.

How to avoid being him?

List one thing you’re really passionate about and be specific. Instead of saying you like sport, talk about your favourite team or tell a story about a time your dad took you to a match. Your dating profile tells the story of your life – make it an entertaining one.

The comedian

The comedian’s profile features nothing but jokes, sarcastic comments, winky face emoticons, and throwaway gags. There’s nothing of substance on his profile because he’s too busy trying to get people to laugh.

How to avoid being him

Using humour is a great way to draw people in to your profile – but you have to give them something to see once they’re there. Show off your sensitive side with a paragraph about someone who’s influenced you, or talk about something you’re really passionate about in a way that’s genuine. Making people laugh is great but you want to ensure they know you have a serious side too.

The posho

This guy makes money and wants you to know it. He has a great job and lots of cash to spend. He says things like, ‘I have great taste and appreciate the finer things in life.’ His profile shows him lying on the beach in the Caribbean, sipping cocktails at a fancy lounge, and skiing in the Alps. He’s showy, ostentatious and a little full of himself.

How to avoid being him

When you’re posting a photo of yourself doing any activity, ask yourself if it’s really representative of who you are. Does it show you doing something you genuinely enjoy or do you just think it makes you look cool? The key to avoiding these kinds of profiles is authenticity – don’t let status or money get in the way of showcasing who you really are.

Remember, you’re being matched at a deep level. Present a superficial version of yourself and you risk being matched with women who are only interested in the artificial version of yourself that you’ve created.

The guy who tries too hard

This guy really, really wants to meet someone and isn’t afraid to show it. His profile is full of waffly paragraphs about being a romantic, wanting to meet someone special and earnest spiels about how he’s looking for someone to ‘complete him.’

How to avoid being him

There’s a way to be truthful and honest without coming across as too earnest or needy. Have a friend take a look at your profile to determine whether you sound like you’re trying too hard. Keep the text brief and to the point.

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Don’t forget to make her laugh

A sense of humour is one of the most desired assets in a potential match. Women are attracted to men who can make them laugh and who can be a little bit self-deprecating. It’s a wonderful tool for putting people at ease, lightening the mood, and not taking anything too seriously. Pique interest by including funny anecdotes about yourself or things you’ve experienced on your profile. Come up with thoughtful, creative ways to express yourself and give those viewing your profile an excuse to laugh – you’re virtually guaranteed to attract women.


Here’s an example of a fun, witty way to get a girl’s attention. Being specific is a great way to stand out – rather than saying ‘I love to cook’, this user has elaborated on a dish that he’s particularly fond of making.

The biggest turn-offs

There are a few things that tend to raise immediate red flags. Here are some turn-offs you might want to leave out of your profile:

  • Bad photos: Steer clear of fuzzy or unclear photographs, or those taken from far away. Before posting a photo, ask yourself whether it makes you look like you have something to hide – even if you post it with innocent intentions, it can come across as suspicious or dishonest.
  • Bad grammar: Apart from making yourself sound unintelligent, poor grammar usage and misspelled words make you look like you haven’t put any attention into your profile, which in turn gives the impression you’re not really invested in meeting someone.
  • Expressing strong opinions about race, religion or politics: Give someone a little time to get to know you before unleashing your views on Middle Eastern politics or the Conservative party.
  • Too much enthusiasm: Don’t go crazy with the exclamation marks – you do want to be taken seriously, and you DON’T want your profile to be mistaken for a 17-year-old’s Facebook page.
  • Just… too much: Keep your profile brief. Avoid presenting too much information about yourself. It’s better to stick to a few basic facts about your interests and values, and to leave the rest for later.

With a bit of luck, you now have the tools to create a fun, warm and witty profile that allows people to get to know more about you. Remember to relax and enjoy the process, as it’s designed to be a genuinely enjoyable experience.

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