Online dating can be difficult for anyone. But there’s one particular aspect of dating sites that can feel quite daunting if you happen to tend toward shyness: The online dating profile.
You haven’t even met any online daters yet, and already you have to talk about yourself a bunch. If you don’t like talking about yourself, wording your online dating profile can be even more intimidating than picking your profile photos.
It might feel awkward, perhaps even difficult to find the balance in understanding what makes you sound attractive and what makes you sound like a self-absorbed bragger.
The good news is that, as much as what you’re writing in your online dating profile might sound to you like you’re bragging, it’s most likely not going to sound like that to any of the men or women reading your profile.
But if you’re not used to talking about yourself on a regular basis, it can be difficult to even get started on this task.
The reality is that you’re not going to get anywhere on online dating sites until you get going on this initial step.
So here are four tips for creating a great online dating profile, even if you hate talking about yourself.
Start with some browsing
One of the best ways to get over feelings of intimidation when it comes to creating an online dating profile for yourself is to look at some examples from other people on the online dating website of your choice.
Obviously, you’ll be looking at profiles from people of the opposite gender anyway as you seek out potential dates. As you do this, though, try paying attention to what types of information in their profile stands out to you.
You might notice that some online dating profiles seem lacking in helpful information, and maybe you’ll find yourself wanting to know more about the person. If this happens, take note of it and remember what info you wish those users had included.
This is the type of info to make sure to include in your own profile, even if it goes against your personality to disclose your achievements, personality type, deepest interests, or most fun traits for the whole world to see.
You can also try doing a bit of browsing among profiles of people who are the same gender as you, if you need more examples. This can be a great way to see what sounds good and what might sound not so good on your own online dating profile.
If you do try this, though, be sure to be on your guard against things like envy and the trap of comparison.
Enlist help from a friend
If you’re still cringing as you try to think about what information you should include about yourself in your online dating profile, it might be a good idea to seek a friend’s help.
Pick someone you trust and who knows you well, like a close friend or a family member you get along with well. Then, ask them to help you make a list of information about yourself to include in your profile.
They’ll be able to tell you about your sense of humor and personality traits from an outside perspective. If you’re struggling with things like picking a profile picture or wording profile headlines, a trusted friend is a great resource.
Even if the friend or family member you enlist isn’t super familiar with the online dating world, give them a chance to help. They should be able to help you come up information about you that other people would want to know.
This can be especially helpful if you struggle with low self-esteem and just aren’t sure how to make yourself sound good. You might even be surprised to hear how highly your friend thinks of you.
As long as you trust them, they should be able to help you come to an honest understanding of just what has the risk of sounding self-centered and what sounds like fair game for an online dating profile.
Write a couple of online dating profile drafts before you put it online
There’s no need to agonize forever over what details to include in your online dating profile, but that doesn’t mean you should just whip something up quickly to get it over with.
One thing that might be particularly helpful if you’re struggling with shyness over putting yourself out there for the online world to see is if you first type up your profile information in your document-creator of choice.
Typing your information directly into the online form can feel very final and kind of intimidating.
It should feel a lot less final and intimidating to try out a few different approaches in a blank document first. If you feel like what you typed up sucks, you can just try again right below your first try, using the parts of your first try that didn’t suck.
You can even try a few different versions and ask your trusted friend for feedback on which one sounds best.
And then once you settle on a final draft for each section, you can just copy and paste it right into your dating apps of choice.
Don’t be afraid of bad ideas
People who write for a living know that not every idea they come up with is good.
I write screenplays, and it’s not rare that I get stuck on a line of dialogue or a plot point. So when this happens, I take the advice I once heard from Catholic screenwriter Bill Marsilii (who wrote the Denzel Washington movie Déjà Vu) and try to come up with twenty bad ideas.
Let the ideas pour out, without worrying if they sound lame or make you look dumb. You don’t have to use any of these, so there’s no pressure here.
If you try to come up with twenty possibilities for the thing you’re stuck on, chances are that at least one or two of them will actually be good ideas. In fact, you’ll probably hit gold long before you get to number twenty.
The point is, though, that you don’t need to be intimidated by the idea of talking about yourself in your online dating profile. This is one area of life where it’s not bad at all to talk about yourself a lot.
People who might want to date you are eager to get to know all they can about you. By taking the plunge and talking about yourself even when it feels uncomfortable, you’re helping them get to know the real you. And you’re getting one step closer to finding that special relationship.