5 Tips For Writing A Better Dating App Profile

Category: Advice

Author: Aria Vega

At this point, dating apps are so ubiquitous that they’re almost passé. This year marked Tinder’s 10-year anniversary, which inspired a wave of wistful essays measuring the app’s impact in hookups, heartbreaks, and save-the-dates. Occasional happy endings aside, writers overall voiced frustration and exhaustion with the endless swiping, casual harassment, and the stubborn emphasis on appearance. The honeymoon appears to be over.

A decade ago, the runaway success of Tinder and the rise of competitors like Bumble helped to cultivate a widespread belief that dating could now be as easy as getting a pizza delivered. But as time wore on and the novelty wore off, “The Apps” – as they became known – evolved into an easy scapegoat for our collective woes about “modern dating”, even before the coronavirus pandemic intensified our reluctant reliance upon them. It was almost as if the headaches of analog dating had simply been converted into digital ones.

“A decade ago, the runaway success of Tinder and the rise of competitors like Bumble helped to cultivate a widespread belief that dating could now be as easy as getting a pizza delivered.”

Sometimes I feel like an outlier when I consider my wild success with dating apps over the past eight years. I matched with my college boyfriend two weeks after making my first Tinder profile in New York. When I moved down to Atlanta a few years later, I made my first new friends on OkCupid. Right now, I’m part of a writing group with folks I met on the queer dating app Lex, and I met my gorgeous girlfriend on Hinge in the spring; someone who makes me feel like I’m done with dating apps for good.

I used to think I was just lucky. But after all these years of downloading and deleting The Apps, I’m now able to single out a few key strategies that helped my success rate gradually improve. To be totally upfront, I know my knack for wordsmithing gives me a major edge. But you don’t have to be a professional writer to make words your allies as you navigate the chaotic maze that is online dating. These are my best tips for building a profile that lets the best parts of you shine through.

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1. Show me, don’t tell me

It’s easy to fall into the warm embrace of clichés when describing ourselves, because the whole endeavor already feels trite. But try to resist the temptation to write that you “don’t do drama” or that you’re an “open book” – and don’t leave your profile blank and ask people to message you what they want to know, either. This isn’t an interview! People want to gauge your interest, and feel desired.

Instead of saying that you’re “laid-back”, write that most cats like your vibe. Instead of saying you love “adventures”, describe the one you’ve always wanted to take and post a picture of a recent one. Leaning on overused descriptors wastes your one opportunity to set yourself apart and it sends the signal that you’re not really invested in the process. You can say a lot about yourself with less than a paragraph.

2. Ask your inner circle for insight

Even if you’re looking for new connections, you’ve probably already got some great people in your corner who can help you out. Your parents, your partner(s), your siblings, and your closest friends have some very keen insight into your best and most interesting qualities. So why not ask a few of those folks to point them out to you?

This can be an enlightening process, even if you’re not preparing for a long stretch of swiping. We show slightly different sides of ourselves to everyone, and this exercise can help you to better integrate those identities and get a stronger sense of how you’re perceived by others. But our most authentic character traits are apparent to all, so you’ll likely notice some similarities in the answers you receive. Be sure to include those qualities first and foremost.

3. Let your suitors self-select

It’s incredibly helpful to articulate as clearly as you can what kinds of relationships you’re looking for, beyond what you’re able to choose in the preferences. This helps prevent you from wasting time with people who have incompatible desires, and also to draw the attention of a potentially good match. It works even if you’re open to a wide range of connections. If you’re looking primarily for sex and/or casual dating, but remain open to a monogamous relationship with the right person, you can say exactly that!

“It’s incredibly helpful to articulate as clearly as you can what kinds of relationships you’re looking for, beyond what you’re able to choose in the preferences.”

Again, just writing this out can help you find clarity that you might not have had before. For me personally, writing about my emotions and experiences is always the fastest route to understanding them more thoroughly, and my love life is no exception. Only be as vulnerable as you’re willing on a public profile, of course, but be honest and straightforward nonetheless. The people you’ll want to meet most appear much more readily when you do.

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4. Describe your ideal first date

When you match with someone you’re really excited to meet, where will you want to take them first? It’s ideal to give this some thought going in, so that if you click with someone right away, you can smoothly transition offline. Plus, date ideas are a great conversation starter, and can be a subtle way to suggest genuine interest.

Floating two different options in your profile would be best, as it lets folks express a preference while also painting a fuller picture of how you like to kick back. Bonus points for including accessible options like a seated activity, or something low-stimulation. Maybe skip the sassy one-liners about chivalry and feminist women picking up the tab.

5. Opt for the apps that give you prompts

It’s totally okay if writing a compelling copy about yourself doesn’t quite come naturally, or if all the tips in the world won’t make you feel confident about what you’re putting out there. The apps themselves seem to realize this is common, as more of them are supporting their user base by designing the profile template around various prompts, like “a random fact I love is…” or “I could probably beat you at…”

In fact, dating apps are starting to let you bring more of yourself to their interfaces, beyond what text and a few photos can convey. Hinge recently debuted a feature that lets you respond to prompts vocally, giving potential matches intimate glimpses of the texture of your voice and the accent of your speech. If an eclectic taste in music is among your charms, the Spotify widget on Bumble gives users a miniature cross-section of your streaming history. Not to sound like one of their cheesy slogans but there really is an app for everyone. I hope these tips can help you find who you’re looking for!

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