A clever reference to Parks & Rec, a funny quote, a meaningful tidbit about your creative hobbies, some insight into your personality type — these are all pieces of info that could very well lead other dating app users to swipe right on you. You may know what kinds of things can attract matches, but do you know what not to put on your dating app profile? Fortunately, I spoke with two experts to gather their input — because being aware of which types of things may hurt your game can obviously be just as valuable.
Your profile is supposed to provide an accurate, attractive snapshot of who you are and hopefully, entice fellow swipers to want to know more. Since what you write and the photos you upload can have a serious impact on your success, experts agree it's important to carefully consider what you do and don't include.
"First impressions are everything, on dating apps and in life," says Erika Ettin, dating coach and founder of A Little Nudge. "If you're looking for your dream job, would you just slop together a resume? It's the same thing."
There's no right or wrong way to approach your dating app profile, and the most important thing is to set yours up in a way that feels authentic to you. So, if you have a cute selfie you want to share, or you feel like it's important to share your political beliefs, then by all means do you, OK? However, if you're looking for a little extra guidance, here are some tips to take into account.
Rants & Complaints
According to Ettin, negativity can suggest that you're burned out, bitter, or generally pessimistic — which are hardly the types of qualities that are likely to inspire a right swipe. That means you probably don't want to use your dating app bio as a space to vent about something.
In fact, a 2010 study of 248 adults published in The Journal of Positive Psychology revealed that optimists are generally perceived as more attractive than pessimists.
"If you're thinking something negative, turn it into a positive," she advises. "For example, turn 'not looking for a player' into 'looking for a committed relationship.'"
Too Many Emojis
Emojis can be a super fun way to add some personality to your profile — but it is possible to have too much of a good thing, so use them in moderation. For one, not everyone interprets all emojis the same way (so your potential matches might misunderstand the message you're going for). And even if someone can figure out what you're trying to get across, it'll probably take too much time and effort, which may lead them to get frustrated and ultimately swipe left.
"The goal is to catch someone's attention in a short amount of time," Ettin tells Elite Daily. "Using too many emojis causes someone's eyes to glaze over because they don't want to have to decipher each one. If you're going to use emojis, use them sparingly and not just in one long list that no one will read."
Photo With An Ex
Let's say you come across a super flattering pic, but it just so happens to include your ex. As a general rule, experts say it's best not to upload it to your dating app profile. There's always a chance that your match may either assume it's your former boo or flat-out ask who it is, in which case, things could get awk. Or worse, it could send the message that you're not over them.
"What new partner already wants to be compared to an ex?" says Ettin. "And this also suggests that this person is still a part of your life."
But what if you really love the pic? In that case, Meredith Golden — a dating coach and dating app expert/ghostwriter — recommends just blurring or cropping your ex's face out.
"Just exercise good judgment," says Golden.
So, if it's a group shot with a bunch of other people, it's probably fine. But if it's just you and your ex on a romantic getaway, you'll likely want to skip it — even if you do look like a total smoke.
If you want to do this in a humorous way ("matches must have seen every episode of The Office), then go for it. But if you plan on seriously laying out your standards, you may want to think twice.
When you write things like "must be at least 6 feet tall" or "don't bother messaging me if you have a cat," potential matches may automatically rule you out for fear of rejection. Plus, you could come across as close-minded.
"The point of a description is to provide topics as a cheat sheet for the other single to initiate and/or engage in conversation," says Ettin. "So, don’t waste prime bio real estate on saying what you don’t want. Use the space to help the other single engage with you. Provide good material and you will get the benefit of easier conversations that have a higher chat-to-meet ratio."
If you really feel strongly about not dating someone above a certain age or under a certain height, Ettin recommends taking advantage of the specifications and filters that are built into certain apps. That way, you will only be shown matches who meet your preferences, and you can use your bio to share what you have to offer someone instead.
When in doubt, you can heed Golden's rule: "If you wouldn’t say it in public, extend this same judgment to your profile," she says.
"There’s a reason you don’t walk into a Starbucks and say, 'If you voted for Trump, I can’t ever sit next to you.'"
Only Group Photos
Having a group pic or two can offer a glimpse into your social life, but experts warn that only including photos with other people can make it really difficult for other users to figure out who you are. That's why Golden advises making sure there's at least one photo of just you — ideally the first or second one in your profile.
"No one takes the time to play 'Where's Waldo?'" adds Ettin. "Plus, the friend is always more attractive to someone. Lose-lose."
It can be tempting to twist the truth a little bit, but experts agree that this can do more harm than good. Whether you claim that you're younger or taller than you actually are, or pretend you have a potentially more impressive occupation, your match will inevitably find out the truth eventually — and then they're bound to have a major issue trusting you. That's not exactly starting a relationship on the right foot.
"Don't waste your time or others' time by lying," says Ettin. "Sure, you might get more responses, but for the wrong reasons."
If, for example, you falsely indicate that you’re 5'10" when setting up your profile so that more people who filter by height can see you, Golden notes that it’s super important to ultimately come clean in your bio by stating something like "height is really 5’4", didn’t want you to miss out on seeing me."
"I like to work hard and play hard." "Fluent in sarcasm." “I only swiped right for your dog." "Looking for my partner-in-crime." These are the kind of over-used dating clichés you want to avoid, according to experts.
"They tell us nothing about you," explains Ettin.
Instead, focus on highlighting the hobbies, skills, talents, and interests that make you stand out.
"If a stranger could write the same profile, it's too generic. Instead, write about the things that make you who you are. You don't need (or want) to attract everyone; you want to attract the people who think you're the cat's meow because of your uniqueness."
Too Much Personal Info
For safety reasons alone, it's best not to put to overshare info in your profile. Not to state the obvious, but it's not best to leave your phone number, address, and other contact info out of your bio — you'll probably want to build up some trust with someone before revealing those details. You may even want to be careful about revealing the exact school you attend or the company you work for until you've gotten to know your matches a little better.
Not only that, but Ettin adds that leaving something to the imagination can actually pique your matches' interest in you.
"Let someone be curious about you vs. giving it all away," she says.
Nothing At All
This might go without saying, but make it a point not to leave your bio totally blank. You might think you can rely on your pics to attract potential matches, but believe it or not, many people really do look beyond those before deciding whether to swipe left or right.
According to Ettin, when you don't put anything in your bio, it may come across like you're not really that invested in the process. So, use that space to shed light on who you are and what's important to you. You definitely don't need to write a lot — in fact, this is a case where it's all about quality rather than quantity.
Böhm, R., Schütz, A., Rentzsch, K., Körner, A., & Funke, F. (2010). Are we looking for positivity or similarity in a partner's outlook on life? Similarity predicts perceptions of social attractiveness and relationship quality. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 5(6), 431-438. doi:10.1080/17439760.2010.534105
Erika Ettin, dating coach
Meredith Golden, dating coach