Tips for Online Dating Part 1: Building a Better Profile


This is part 1 of a six-part series on tips for online dating. Go here for the rest of the series.

Finding a match online that has the potential to result in a serious relationship can be a daunting task for many people — before you even consider the stigma sometimes still associated with online dating. Many people eschew this style of meeting people after years of navigating page after swipe after bad date after face palm. These discouraged folks are usually truly looking for a serious relationship. And, believe it or not, many of them are male.

One of the most common themes I observe in males who are looking for a serious relationship through online dating is a lack of emotional intelligence (EI). Online, just as in-vivo, a lack of EI becomes apparent through one’s insecurities and ultimately dishonesty.

In this six-part series I share — and explain!— reasonable, rational tips to help men (seeking women) succeed at online dating. Take note that many of these tips can be used for anyone—straight, LGBT, male or female. The advice here relies heavily on honesty, boundary setting, effective communication skills, and realistic expectations. Blaming “everyone else” for not being good enough in the dating world (and in other applications of life), doesn’t help change results—instead, turn inward and do a self-check up on communication style.

Building a Better Online Dating Profile

Be Honest With Yourself
Proofread your profile twice before making it live. No, proofread it 10 times. If your profile features even a hint of dishonesty and you just happen to meet the one, don’t be surprised when that comment about being a Scrabble champion comes back to bite you in the ass. You might find yourself playing the game with her family years later, and end up losing because you don’t even know that qi is one of the best words in the game. If you’re not sure that it belongs on your profile, delete it and see “Don’t Overshare” below.

View Vulnerable Moments as Learning Experiences
Get comfortable with feeling uncomfortable. You may notice that the more vulnerable details you include about your life, the more you will tend to capture the attention of those who are looking past your profile picture. Vulnerable moments can help you learn about yourself in a positive and honest light as much as they can make you crumble on the spot. For more on this, check out Brené Brown’s TED Talk, The Power of Vulnerability.

Don’t Overshare
Yes, be vulnerable, but don’t give everything up right away. For one, you don’t want your profile to get passed up because it’s TL;DR (too long; don’t read). But more importantly, you want to leave enough mystery so that you are still learning about each other by the tenth date. If it helps, before you start writing your profile, make a list of things you want to deliberately keep in your “mystery box” for later.

Profile Pictures
Don’t overshare here, either. Limit your profile pictures to one of each in the following categories:

  • Face: Show a clear picture of your face from at most a few months ago (remember: honesty!). If you’re experiencing winter, don’t post your peak summer tan (even if you just returned from the BVIs).
  • Posture: Include a picture showing your complete posture, since most likely she wants to see this from you as much as you do from her—there’s no need to leave her guessing. I like to refer to dates between two people who have headshot-only profiles as facedates. If you are struggling with this, turning-inward is the first step to working on the root cause of such insecurity.
  • Social: A picture with friends or family can give off a sense of ease for first-time online-daters hesitant to meet people in person. If you just moved to a new city and haven’t explored the social scene much, or you are distant from friends and family, skip to a hobby picture.
  • Hobby: Add a picture of you actively participating in your favorite hobby. However, note that checking your abs out in the mirror isn’t a hobby, it’s just a skewed reflection. Use good quality pictures and limit your profile to four pictures. Ask yourself why you want to put up more than four strategically chosen photos if you get the urge to do so. If it works out between you and your lucky date, she’ll probably follow you on Instagram within a month or so anyway to see your amazing #nofilter photos.

Don’t Treat Your Profile Like a Resumé
Many of us are entrenched in our work lives and spend a majority of our hours honing the skills that bring us success in our professions. Why not apply these skills and tools to online dating? Although you won’t be negotiating a salary with your date, you both may end up getting great benefits. Take a humanistic approach to your dating profile. Tap into and work on your emotional intelligence. Yes, many people are attracted to high-paying salaries and elite educational institutions, but if you focus on the qualities that make you a well-rounded, organic, and mindful person — like your kindness, sense of humor, or something else — you can always filter your search results for the fancy stuff later.

Check back this week as we continue to dive deep into tips for online dating.

Tips for Online Dating

Marc Fernandez
provides therapy to individual, couples, and families at North Brooklyn MFT in New York City. Additionally, Marc is co-founder of a health and wellness blog called, aimed to help people self-educate on how to be the best version of themselves. Give North Brooklyn MFT a call at (718) 785-9718 if you think learning how to “turn inward” may be something you’re interested in
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