10 Tips on how to write a good Match, OK Cupid, or POF dating profile: Part 1- Men

How to Write an Effective Dating Profile

I’ve written or helped write roughly 20 dating profile pages on Match, Plenty of Fish, OK Cupid, and eHarmony. Most have done pretty well including some engagements and a few long-term relationships.

As I’ve said many times in the past, if you’re single, online dating should be part of your dating curriculum.

But, if you’re like most men, you receive something like one response out of every 30 emails you send. And no one contacts you out of the blue.

My response rate was roughly 1 out of 8, which is really good considering all my various faults.

Here are ten tips to help you up your response rate:

1. Search for men first, before you do anything

If you are a 35 year-old 5’8″, dorky Asian male, search for 25-35 year old 5’6″-5’10″, dorky Asian males. Why? Because this is your competition.

Click on their profiles.

  • What do you like? Do more of that.
  • What sounds lame? Do less of that.

Spend two days on this before you even start to post anything. This is the single most important thing to do and I’ve honestly never met anyone besides me who did that. Do the things no one else does and you’re ahead of the game already.

And yes, people will say this isn’t a competition but they will also tell you that supply-side economics works. It does not and online dating is a competition. Winner gets a date.

2. Write your profile as a response to a response.

Most men write their profile as if a woman will search through profiles, find them, and then try and contact them. That *rarely* happens. Most women put up a profile and then have to wade through an avalanche of emails or as my friend Kay put it: “OMG, Logan – why didn’t you warn me about all the emails I’d get!?”

So, write your profile as if someone liked what you sent her enough to check out your profile. Because 99.89% of your interactions will be:

email from you->read your profile->email to you
and NOT:
search-> read your profile->email to you

In other words, the profile supports the email, not the other way around. If you stop here, you already know more than the vast majority of your competition.

Want more? OK, moving on.

3. Tell a story

Because you listened to me, you went through roughly 100-200 profiles of your competition. And you saw that the almost everyone lists his/her attributes like a resume.

As I said, be different.

We live our lives through stories. What are movies, TV shows, even songs but stories? A resume is not a story. A story has characters, plot, cliffhangers, etc.

Write a story, not a resume. Why should she contact you? What will you two do? Make her laugh and want to find out how the story ends with her playing the part of the female lead.

4. Be fun and friendly

Sarcasm is difficult to pull off so avoid that. Similarly, do NOT be deep, because you will come off creepy. Think about meeting a girl at a party and her talking about famine in Africa. There’s a time and place for everything. This is not that time nor that place.

Instead, be witty, smart, and funny. If you are not witty, smart, and funny, take an improv class and learn how to be. This is crucially important for reasons far beyond putting up a dating profile.

Ask yourself, If I were a woman – that has the qualities that I’m looking for – would I be interested in the guy in this profile. If the answer is no, get to editing.

Look at this as a chance to be better than you were yesterday.

5. LOL and =) are persona non grata

Again, you’ve listened to me and went through your competition’s profiles, what was the most common thing you saw? Let me guess – a plethora of smiley faces and LOLs.

Two kinds of people use smiley faces and LOLs:

  • 14 year old girls
  • Men that cannot use the English language

If you are neither, do not use them. Because what you’re really saying is:

=) I hope and pray that you don’t take what I’m saying too seriously because *I* don’t take what I say too seriously for I am not a serious man. LOL Please take pity on me and see that I’m a genuinely good soul that wants you to pick me even though I am clearly not worth your time. =-) Please? LOL, just kidding (kinda).  :)

Please write me. =) I’m tired of living at home with my mom. HA – kidding! No really, I’m desparate. Help me.  :-)

6. Spell Check / Grammar check / Format check

“Desparate” is spelled “Desperate.” Pick up a Strunk and White while you’re at it. A grammatically-correct, explicative-free profile will – on that alone – stand out. Also, skip spaces between thoughts, also known as: make paragraphs. Otherwise your profile will look like one block of words that people will not want to have to wade through as if it were a collegiate textbook. Just as this paragraph looks like with three separate thoughts but no carriage returns.

7. Write one line as to what you are NOT looking for

Again, go through your competition. Tick off how many of them write what they do not want.

On my profile I wrote, “If you’ve cheated on someone before, no need to contact me.” Because it’s true. If someone has cheated on a boyfriend before, I have major issues with that. If nothing else, this shows you have some standards.

And if you see everyone else’s profile, they want to hear from everyone. You do not.

As an interesting note, one brown-eyed woman actually wrote me to say that she did cheat but that was when she was young. We ended up going on a few dates.

7a. On that note: Don’t just write about you, write about them

This is a high-risk / high-return move that women do all the time but men rarely do in their profiles. Describe your ideal girl somewhere in your profile. Is she tall? Blond? Busty? Nerdy? Working? etc.

Women have no problem stating what they prefer and do not. Nor should you.

I would say do this after you’ve gone on a few dates though, as it does lower your responses but does raise the quality – at least in terms of what you actually want.

8. Make good use of pictures in your profile

If you don’t put up a picture, you should expect zero responses. After all, admit it, the women you like put up pics. So you must as well.

A friend of mine that does well on the boards and I disagree on the number of pics to put up; he puts up one good pic. I put up a dozen pics.

If you put up one, make sure that it’s really, really good – preferably of you in a suit. Because on your first date, you will not be wearing a suit so let her know you clean up nice.

If you put up a dozen, try to include the following:

  • One with you doing something you love.
  • One with you at a party – you can have fun. Do not over do this. Women like men, not boys.
  • One artsy shot – you can be artsy.
  • One showing off a good physical feature – tread carefully and see #9 below.
  • One with you and your mom or dad – come on, we love seeing people with their folks.

For all of them, I always like to write: “You should know, these pics are recent – just like yours, yes?”

Again, be fun.

9. Have a female friend check your profile

Have a female friend look over your profile and give you her honest thoughts BUT make it more than one if possible. Because not all women are the same; what one female friend likes, another may hate. So listen, consider all the facts, and then either take their advice or don’t.

Note that if you don’t have female friends to look over your profile, you’ve made some errors in judgement in your life. Just like with the Improv class, take this as a chance to be better.

A buddy of mine hits on every girl he meets regardless of how wrong they are for him. That leads to thinking of women as “other.” They are not “other.”

When Harry Met Sally was a movie written by Hollywood writers; it has the air of truth to it but no real truth to it. Men and women can and should be friends.

10. Give them a reason to write you

Do you love the 1960s funk music? Then say it. If you go though all the other profiles, you’ll sense something and you won’t be able to put your finger on what that is. It took me a while to figure it out but here’s what it is:

A palpable aura of BS masked by false bravado.

I’ve found on dating boards, just like in life, the truth is a powerful, powerful thing. People crave it. If you love making and eating chili to the point that it’s a major part of your life, say so.

I met a woman that made a killer white bean chicken chili that way. Truth is powerful. Don’t mask it. You may meet a person that says “Me too” and what is love, if not finding someone that says, “Me too!”

Good luck and let me know how it goes!

Thanks to my wife who lets me write things like this and was also kind enough to add:

11. Never use the lines: I work hard and I play hard, and I always have my passport handy.

…no you don’t. Don’t lie and don’t be say what everyone else says.

A Great First Date, early 2014

If you liked this entry, here’s some more dating stuff:

I wrote a book about first dates with information I just haven’t seen in other books that I learned from three solid years of dating in NYC.

It’s on sale at Amazon  on the Kindle  for $2.99 until the end of March 2014.

If you don’t have a Kindle or the Kindle app, it’s available as an ebook right now on every ebook platform including Apple iTunes and Barnes and Noble Nook – international readers should be able to buy editions from all three platforms in your country.

Click below for a sample for your ebook reader:

The Men Made of Stone - Logan Lo
 

Click below for a sample for your ebook reader:

The Men Made of Stone - Logan Lo
 

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31 thoughts on “10 Tips on how to write a good Match, OK Cupid, or POF dating profile: Part 1- Men”

  1. did u meet heartgirl thru one of these dating sites? (i forget)
    i tried match and all that years ago and nothing good came out of it, so i stopped.
    i haven't actively dated in a long time but i'm ok with that too. i have tons of friends and an active social life so i don't feel compelled to date for the sake of dating.
    are the rules different for men and women, hence part 1 and part… 2?

    1. Nope, we actually met in RL; although I do think that online dating is little different than RL except the manner in which two total strangers meet.

      The rules are different for men and women in this regard: women simply have a much, much, much better response rate than men. This is not to say that the dates are better – they just happen to get more feedback.

      On that note, think of it all as feedback. Good things almost always come out of feedback.

  2. on a side note, i had a dream that i had the opportunity to go somewhere cool… like, tokyo. and then i remembered my passport expired. so i was getting ready to board the plane and trying to figure out how i could get by with my old expired passport. so my match profile would definitely not say "I always have my passport handy" cuz i haven't gotten a stamp in over ten years.

  3. Hi there, I remember your ad on Match many years ago. Just curious, I'm not sure if this is too personal. Why did you prefer very young girls at the time? Is it because they are more fertile or more fun?

    thanks for the suggestions and comments. Very helpful. However, I think for those who only prefer Asians, these sites would not be too helpful. I have also noticed that there are differences in a person's income, like betweek okcupid and match. you'll find the "lawyers and doctors on Match and the starving film makers and artists on OKCupid.
    Anyways, we all should keep an open mind and give someone "average" a chance. Right?
    pictures and written words don't always seem to be what they make it out to be.
    Cheers and have a great Labor Day weekend. I think we all need it.

    1. Thanks for the comment!

      I should make this clear that I'm 39 *now* in 2012. For me to see my old Match.com profile, which I put up in 2006, I had to log in. Once logged in, Match.com computes my age as 39. When I was on Match, I was 33 looking for 25-30 year old women.

      Having said that, people like what they like. Let's assume that you know a gay man that likes other men. Would it be proper to say that he should "give women a chance?" That assumes we have a choice in whom we find attractive.

      I say we do not. We are attracted to whom we are attracted to and I can guarantee you that the "average" person – of whom I feel I am one – has their fans and detractors just as "exceptional" and "below-average" people have.

      Everyone has their own genre; you can search for that term on this blog and see what mine was, which happened to be 22 year-old pescatarians. You can see how those dates went and how it was not what I was ultimately actually looking for.

      (BTW, don't take this as snarky, I'm just trying to address your comment, which, again, I do appreciate).

      I hope you have a great weekend as well!

  4. If you want to know what NOT to do (as well as a laugh), simply head on over to http://www.okcenemies.com

    I recently talked one of my buddies into making an OKC profile. He's a smart, good lookin' guy that makes decent coin, but just isn't the best at meeting women (he's good at women meeting him, he says). During our discussion, I realized that, since signing up for OKCupid in 2009, over 50% of my dates have been OKCupid matches.

    If this pattern continues, most of the women I'll be involved with throughout my life will have been matches assigned to me by a computer. Whats up, future?

    1. I. Can't. Look. Away. I think I spent an hour on that site – very troubling. I cannot believe that most of them are real – you've got to think a good percentage of them are just trolls, no?

      As I said, I do think online dating is the future and there's really no reason for any single person not to do any online dating.

      Thanks again for the link; goodbye, productivity…

      1. Heh, I'd estimate less than 10% are troll posts, Unfortunately. Being an educated adult in NYC, I'm sure you're usually matched with women of some standard.

        I, on the other hand, live in Oklahoma, and profiles like the ones on okcenemies are very much the norm.

  5. Great tips, Logan! Everyone using online dating should read this! I used to be on OKC and went on one date.. I think I was a bit overwhelmed with messages and thought a lot of the guys looked creepy. My date in Carroll Gardens, well, we didn't have anything in common. But, I didn't give online dating a good shot. I must have not been ready. So true about honesty.. and stating what you don't want/ do want. Saves time on both sides. I probably kept things too simple on my profile and didn't state particular things about myself that would stand out!

    … I use happy faces a lot of Facebook and WordPress…. maybe I should tone it down. ;-) *Oops I did it again!*

    1. Thanks Grenobloise – I like to think that they're good.

      I would think that someone like you – attractive, young, blond – would have a lot of attention online. Still I do think that, if you are single or become single in the future, it should be something that you consider mixing into your dating life. As for that one date, everyone has their good dates and bad dates so one uninteresting date shouldn't kill the entire thing for you in the future, should you find yourself single again.

      Ha, I don't mind women doing the :) but the men that don't seem to know how to do anything but write those and LOLs irritate me and, it seems, many women as well.

    1. Sure. Say you write an email to someone that's making chili. You write her and tell her that chili happens to be your staple food and that you not only eat it constantly but make it constantly.

      She then goes to your profile where you talk about many a late night where you make chili. It gives a sense of veracity of what you said to her initially and then reinforces it. Moreover, it's one less thing to learn about you. She already knows you like chili and can read more about it and you.

      Does that make sense?

      That was a real example, BTW!

  6. Wow! great post.. With a standout profile it will surely draw second looks from singles that could be your potential mate. Hence, to draw an avalanche of responses from interesting singles one should take an effort to write a nice profile.

  7. Logan,

    Thanks for the article and some great advice. Some I already knew, but in hindsight, probably too lazy to implement fully. I’m now feeling properly motivated for a makeover.

    Thanks!

  8. Quick question – regarding #1, as a girl, what if you’ve already got your profile up and running but never bothered to look at other girls’ profiles?

    1. Hi Brooke! There’s this great quote I like from Justice Felix Frankfurter that goes, Wisdom too often never comes, and so one ought not to reject it merely because it comes late.

      That’s a fancy way of saying that just because you find out something late, doesn’t mean that you don’t act on it. Why don’t you go through some other female profiles and see what jumps out at you as lame and cool? You can always make small edits here and there, which is what you should do.

      Thanks for the comment!

  9. I’m a big fan of what you said in #2. I never thought about it that way. But since you never know exactly what you’ll say to a woman when you write your profile, how does someone writing an about me the usual way (i.e.: i do abc, i like xyz) look different from someone trying to write their profile ‘in response to a response’?

    I haven’t seen crazy success with my online profiles and im pretty sure my profile isn’t doing the trick.

    Thanks alot for your advice

    1. Sure, that’s a fair question. Here’s an example message:

      “Brooke, so you say that you like the Stones? That may be the only issue – I’ve been a Beatles fan ever since I was 12. In fact, I have a picture of me at 16 wearing a Beatles shirt.”

      And, of course, on your profile, you do (a real example).

      Or you write something about your loving all things chili and then talking about that time you needed chili at 3AM and ran out to find some in your profile (another actual example from me).

      You become more multi-faceted this way.

  10. Hey Logan,

    I’ve had some troubles with online dating in the past and stumbled on your article looking for tips on how to spice up my profile to get more responses. There’s some great stuff here, but I had some extra questions I was hoping you could answer.

    Pictures are obviously one of the most important parts of a guys profile, the primary shot especially. What are your thoughts on using professional photography instead of something more “candid”? We’re about to do some really professional headshots at work as part of a marketing project and I’m debating whether it would be tacky to use as a profile picture on OKcupid considering the demographic that flocks there opposed to say, match.com.

    Income- These days, I’m definitely an outlier. I’m 27, successful, motivated, well educated, etc. The girls that are my “type,” and especially on OKCupid, fall into that sort of 22-25 range which is kind of starving artist central these days. Is it worth it to be candid and weed out the girls looking for a free ride after the fact, or should I essentially dumb it down. I’m worried that if i’m candid it’ll intimidate potential matches (or they’ll flat out think i’m lieing), but if i’m guarded about it, it then looks like i’m hiding something and probably pretending i’m not unemployed. Any strategies for the middle-ground?

    Your advice above is fantastic if you’re a young, fit, attractive guy who’s outgoing, loves football, and traveling. But you identify as a “dorky” asian guy. Obviously us introverts with more “home based” interests and hobbies need to step out of our shells a little bit to be successful in attracting the right people, but what do we do when our target audience is *also* typically shy, awkward, and introverted? A lot of the responses I actually get might answer a question I asked and not take the conversation forward any further or respond in a way open to expand on the topic. Any tips for writing more open messages without coming off as intimidating to the shy girls, sort of holding their hand to open up and add their own thoughts to the conversation?

    And finally, usernames. I know my username is terrible. The girls know my user name is terrible. Short of paying someone for professional profile writing, how do you come up with snappy username that is really going to draw people in?

    Thanks!

    1. Sorry for the late reply, Mike – I’ve been dealing with a ton of things in real life.

      I’m going to write an entry based on this comment soon and I”ll let you know when it’s out but in the meanwhile, a few short answers:

      Regarding the photography, I’m all for being different and standing out – that’s the point! Just try and make it look polished and not cheesy. The shot I use for my author’s shot was a professional picture with a black-background that I think was pretty good. But use a few different shots in a few different scenes and clothes.

      Do not dumb it down so much as find some commonalities; you can’t pretend to be something you’re not but the basis of all relationships is some kind of shared connection. That should be real. I pride myself on my nerdiness and I think it’s something unique that people find attractive.

      Speaking of which, I’m a dorky Asian guy. But I look at it as a strength rather than a weakness. Find the thing that is uniquely cool about yourself and highlight that. And if you don’t have anything uniquely cool, guess what, you should try and find something that you genuinely find interesting. I’m the only Chinese lawyer, fencer, wrestler I know. That’s not because I wanted to impress someone else, it’s because I wanted to entertain myself.

      There’s a lot more information in my book out on Friday – join our Facebook page for more information and dating tips!
      https://www.facebook.com/greatfirstdate

  11. I’m currently writing a profile, I have never done online dating before, but I would like to know exactly how much information is okay to include in a profile? My issue is that I am an ex-alcoholic and most dates tend to be in pubs or bars; how do I explain the fact that I cannot have a drink on the date? Whenever I go out to a pub and don’t drink, people always get this look like I’m boring or antisocial and don’t like to have a good time. Actually, it’s because I hate the effect alcohol has on me.

    1. I would leave out the ex-alcoholic part but answer simply and honestly if the topic organically came up.

      As for not going to a pub and not drinking, that’s a limitation. But there’s nothing wrong with that. We all have our limitations in life. I’m a short, balding, slightly chunky Asian man. It is what it is; I am what I am. I make no excuses for being what I am, only for what I do.

      You are what you are, so do what you do.

      The only thing you should ever be embarrassed of is not trying to be the best version of yourself you can be. And by admitting you’re an alcoholic and then dealing with it, that’s a good thing.

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