If you’ve ever looked at the blank space of that bit where you have to write about yourself and been daunted, then take some comfort in knowing you’re not alone. Most people struggle with effectively selling themselves on the written page, highlighting their best features. The problem is that the words we use when introducing ourselves or describing our ideal dates have a huge impact and that first impression is crucial in determining the types of people we attract.
So are the words you choose helping or hindering your chances?
We’ve taken a look at the sort of language being used by people in their online profiles and are offering them up here so that you can compare them with your own approach. A useful exercise might be to go through your existing profile if you’ve already made one, and highlight the adjectives and descriptive terms you’ve used. Is the picture you’re painting with your words the one you intend?
So What’s Useful?
It should be fairly obvious that positive language and connotations are better received by other online daters. Most people tend to veer towards projecting an extroverted personality as that is generally more attractive for people’s first impressions. This doesn’t mean that you should fake it if you’re not naturally outgoing, but if it doesn’t come easily you should think about how you can still frame things in a positive light.
When assembling your profile, think about descriptive terms for your personality, then pick examples of what you find fun, or what you are passionate about.
Words that really stand out for the right reasons: outgoing, friendly, playful, passionate, approachable, thoughtful, compassionate, comfortable, clever, creative, energetic, ambitious, intelligent, cute, fun, adorable, easy-going, happy, open-minded, adventurous, honest, caring.
What makes all these stand out? Well, they tend to be positive terms that most people would agree they would be looking for in a partner. Pick out the words that you feel most accurately reflect you and make sure to use them in your profile – but make sure to also provide examples of how they apply to you.
What’s Not So Useful?
Using the same approach as before, this time go through your profile and look or words that don’t support the description of yourself that you’re happy with. If you find any of the words below cropping up, then you may well be putting people off without realising it, and they need to be looked at again.
Words that don’t help: shy, clumsy, weird, cynical, insecure, morbid, anxious, jealous, aloof, sarcastic, awkward, self-deprecating, nervous, unusual, blunt, lonely, incoherent, messy, aimless, misfit, obsessive, lazy.
A number of these words are not necessarily negative in their own right but people reading them will often expect the writer to not have the highest opinion of themselves. This will colour their expectations of you, and not in a helpful way. The odds are that you are far more critical of yourself than anyone else would be, so choosing to highlight your positive aspects will help to temper your natural pessimism about your chances.
By and large we agree on many words, but there are also words that we all relate to differently depending on our preferences and experiences. Some of the words you use may be interpreted either way – and you could probably do with skimming through your profile with that in mind. These words can be very specific in meaning, so while that’s not necessarily a bad thing it may mean that you are specifically targeting people for who those word will resonate.
Potentially polarizing words: experimental, pragmatic, kinky, emotional, busy, sceptical, intense, spiritual, radical, sassy, spunky, eccentric, grounded, shy, reserved, forward, loud, stubborn, or mentioning any political affiliation.
To sum it all up, use the words that best describe you, and filter out the ones that muddy the waters. Be aware of the vivid image of yourself that you are painting and the impact it can have, for better or worse.