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Negative Nellies Need Not Apply

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Have you ever read those online dating profiles where the person sounds intelligent and generally interesting… until that fateful last line? I’ve seen them all:

  • Cowboys fans need not apply.
  • If you’re looking for a fling, look the other way.
  • No drama, please!
  • If you’re into country music, forget about it.
  • If you’re a cat-lover, move right along.
  • Don’t write to me if you’re not looking for a serious relationship.
  • Douche bags need not apply! (Taken from someone’s actual profile… I can’t make this stuff up.)

In doing a quick search of one of the large online dating sites for men ages 25-50 within 20 miles of 20001 (my zip code), I found that 44 men used the expression “need not apply” somewhere in their profiles. And women? 125!

You might be thinking, “Is it really so bad to tell someone what I don’t want?” The short answer is: Yes. Let’s take the cat statement above, for example. While I may not love cats, I’m definitely not into negativity, so I’ll be turned off by a line eliminating a whole group of people for one trait. Instead, it’s better to show people what you do want rather than what you don’t. So in this case, rather than calling your cat hatred to everyone’s attention, just write about how you’re looking for a dog-lover because perhaps Fido is the main man in your life right now, and you’d like to change that.

By including one of the above lines in your profile, you come off as negative, or even bitter. “No drama, please” screams, “My last relationship was full of drama, and I am SO over that.” “Douche bags need not apply” is not only a pretty disgusting expression, but also says to someone, “This girl’s been burned one too many times and she is jaded about this whole dating thing.”

Take a moment to reread your profile, and if something comes off as negative, try to turn it into a positive. Here are two examples:

Negative: Cowboys fans need not apply.

Positive: I love football, but be careful because I may have to tease you about your team sometimes. (This line also serves as “email bait,” enticing the reader to ask what team you like.)

Negative: Don’t write to me if you’re not looking for a serious relationship.

Positive: I’m looking for someone who is ready for a meaningful relationship.

When people read about you, they are likely to remember the last thing you said, so make sure the end of your profile comes across as confident, intelligent, and, most importantly, positive.  Negative Nellies need not apply!

Erika Ettin is the Founder of A Little Nudge, where she helps people navigate the world of online dating. Her services include: writing unique profiles to get you noticed, helping to choose your best profile pictures, writing one-of-a-kind emails to get someone’s attention, and planning dates. Want to connect with Erika? Join her newsletter for updates and tips.
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3 Comments »

  • Margaret says:

    That is real good advice! I had not been aware that women statistically tend to be more negative, perhaps it’s because they write more or want to be understood more? Personally I love sarcasm and a thing like oh-I-can’t-live-without-Dolly-Parton (say) would rather get my interest. However, yes – so much comes over so negative,even if not intended as a slap to the reader’s face. I notice that in everyday life. Sometimes I comment on an initial observation that then turns out to be a WRONG observation.. and my, how to apologise and go into the But-I-thought.. a total nightmare. It’s a tricky thing to say what you want and be interesting – I tend to read between the lines, occupation and such and then ask questions and then see whether the answer is interesting and sparkly.
    My 16-year old son says it in the words of his generation: haters will hate. So: lovers will love, right? (Please picture the flowers, pink ponies and rainbows and such around this post yourself, ok.. oh and music: 10h nyam cat)

  • Gertridge Poch says:

    ■Cowboys fans need not apply. Just come right in, you’re welcome to skip the line.
    ■If you’re looking for a fling, look the other way. That’s the direction where my little black ball I rolled up after picking my nose is flung.
    ■No drama, please! Comedy, horror, action, suspense, okay… Sophocles, go to the end of the line.
    ■If you’re into country music, forget about it. I say it, because you can’t forget about him if you’re into country music. That’s why you’re into country music in the first place.
    ■If you’re a cat-lover, move right along. Herd your cats out of here already, up to chicago if you want to even. The Great Cat Drive of 1868.
    ■Don’t write to me if you’re not looking for a serious relationship. Write to my flung fling instead.
    ■Douche bags need not apply! (Taken from someone’s actual profile… I can’t make this stuff up.)== this I totally believe. The prez and owner of PoF says in his welcome page, “blah, blah, blah, but if you are a jerk, we’ll get rid of you, blah, blah, blah”
    well, that’s a nice how-do-you-do by the owner of a basically social website. I hate that guy with all my might.

  • Heidi Cooper says:

    Nicely written, thanks!

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