Avoid Being A Bad Profile Example: Delete These 10 Phrases

Depending on how long you’ve been on Jdate, you can probably relate to that déjà-vu feeling you get when it feels like you’re reading the same profile over and over (and over) again.  Somehow, everyone is apparently wearing both little black dresses and flip flops, taking trips to Machu Picchu (did I miss a Groupon or something?), or simply “relaxing with Netflix and a glass of wine.”  Considering that it’s impossible for any of us to be exact physical replicas, why is it that every profile seems to use the same clichés as the last one? Let’s examine more closely…

10 Phrases You Should Delete from Your Online Dating Profile:

1.  I’m just as comfortable in a fancy dress (or tux for you gentlemen) as I am in jeans and flip flops.

This line is an attempt to show that you’re flexible and multi-faceted. We get the message. Most of us have a varied wardrobe. Rather than discuss your clothing preferences, why don’t you talk about the things you like to do? We can learn a lot more about you if you mention that you prefer a football game over a visit to an art gallery, regardless of what you’re wearing.

2.  I like to laugh and have fun.

My goodness… I hope you like to laugh and have fun! The point is that, unless you like to frown and mope around all day (which I also wouldn’t write), this line could be true for just about anyone.

3.  I can’t believe I’m actually on here.

This is a negative commentary on online dating. Others might interpret this as, “I can’t believe I’ve fallen this low. Only losers look for dates online, so I guess I’m a loser, too.” Online dating is a wonderful thing. Either embrace it or refrain from joining an online dating site until you can have a more positive attitude about it.

4.  I love traveling.

Again, there are few people who don’t love to travel. Instead, tell us more. Do you like to take active road trips across the United States, or do prefer to lounge on the beach in Cancun? These details say a lot more about you than a generic statement about travel.

5.  On a typical Friday night, I’m just as happy going out on the town as I am curled up on the couch with wine and a movie.

My response to this is similar to the one for the fancy dress/jeans conundrum, with this added advice: Stop trying to attract everyone. While it may seem counterintuitive, I’m giving you explicit permission to turn some people off in your profile. Think about it—it’s more important to be the genuine you than the version you think people want to see, or the version that tries to attract every single person on the site.  Just be yourself.  That way, you know that when someone is interested, it’s because he or she likes what you have to say, not just the fact that you were trying to be inclusive.

6.  My family and friends are important to me.

Another shocker! There’s no need to spell this one out because people already assume that family and friends are important to you, not the contrary.

7.  My friends say that I’m… (insert a list of complimentary adjectives).

Of course your friends would say all of these great things about you—they’re already your friends! This could also be construed as a way of trying to appear humble, which can backfire in two ways: 1) it can make you appear insecure (do you not think these things about yourself?) or 2) it still sounds like you’re bragging.

Naturally, this brings me to an important point about “empty adjectives.” An empty adjective is a descriptor that can’t be proven until someone gets to know you. For example, I might say that I’ve got a great sense of humor, but how would you confirm if that’s true? Maybe some people find me hilarious (usually the ones who love puns and wordplay), but others aren’t amused.

8.  I’m down-to-earth.

I would love to see a profile that says, “I’m kind of an airhead… but a sweet one.” This is very subjective, which again characterizes it as an empty adjective.

9.  I love life.

Just like #2, I hope you love life! Remember, just because you don’t use the line “I love life” in your profile, does not mean that you hate life instead. It simply gives you space to share the more interesting things that do make your life so darn great.

10.  I’m looking for a partner in crime.

Unless your name is Bonnie or Clyde, there’s no reason to include this overused cliché.

Now’s your chance: Take some time to review your profile, and if you find any of these overused, cliché phrases, it’s time to hit the backspace button, put on your creativity cap, and set yourself apart from the other online dating clones.

Erika Ettin is the founder of A Little Nudge and author of acclaimed Love at First Site. Her work has been seen on NPR, Talk Philly, The Washington Post, and more. To join her mailing list for tips and events, please join here.
27 Comments
  1. Bravo! I think you have described 99.999999% of the profiles out there (and I can add one more: “My kids are AMAZING!”). I’ve been told I have a very interesting profile, with none of these tired, obvious chiches. Unfortunately, I have not had too many nibbles, mainly because I am considered “geographically undesirable”… at least I hope that’s the reason. 😉

  2. Ismor,

    I’m glad you liked the article and agreed what what I said. I’m happy to take a look at your profile if you’d like a consultation.

    Best of luck!
    Erika

  3. How about photos of women with dolphins? For some reason there are many, many of these. Not sure what statement is being made…

  4. My favorite (least favorite) phrase I see all of the time is “I live life to the fullest.” Typically, in my experience, the people who write this are in fact not!

  5. What really turns me off is a man saying, “I’m a great kisser”.
    I just see him slobbering all over you!

  6. A phrase that shows up (far too) often and makes me skip the profiler if I see it is something akin to: “I love to walk on the beach at night with a good bottle of wine”. Soooo Common as to be insipid.

  7. My profile contains none of these and I took effort to craft it so that it would hopefully attract the kind of person I’m looking for. I’m a full member, and send out email often, but I get very few views and almost no emails. I know I’m not a gargoyle, so what could possibly be the problem?

  8. I totally agree with the one that says, “I can’t believe I’m actually here”. It makes everyone in the online dating world feel like a loser. I really hate that statement. It totally turns me off.

    I also hate the line that says, “I love long walks on the beach”. Who actually does that? It is so made-up and unrealistic.

    I also dislike the line that says, “I’m looking for a partner and crime”. No, none of us is “Bonnie and Clyde”. So true….

  9. I am in compliance with the above profile rules because: I can’t easily go from jeans to a tux; I don’t laugh very often and hate when I see people having fun; I am on Jdate because no one I meet in person will even talk to me; I hate traveling because it requires me to risk getting bed bug bites; on Friday night I just like chatting on Jdate; I really can’t stand my family and I have no friends; My former friends used to describe me as someone that needs a mate that will take care of me like a mother; I hate life sometimes; and I am not looking for a partner that likes to commit crimes.

  10. How about, “I want to be a HUSBAND, I am looking for a woman who wants to be a WIFE”? Must I join the FRUM? Would they assign me a wife?

  11. Totally agree and I’d add to the list “no baggage please” and “no need for serial daters to reply”…after all, at this stage of “seek and find”, isn’t that what we all must do in search of great love 🙂

  12. As soon as i see “MY LIFE IS GREAT/PERFECT” I move on.
    #1) I don’t want to screw up her life.
    #2) Too much pressure

  13. What about the sentences “I have no baggage” and/or “no drama please”.

    Is there something wrong with my thinking that you can’t make it past 40 without at least some baggage. The women I have meet who demand “no drama/baggage” are the ones that seem to have the most. If I wanted “no baggage” and “no drama” there must be some robot out there somewhere who is also Jewish.

    Ben

  14. if all the people who say they like long walks on the beach actually did that, the beaches would be packed!! I’m guilty of using the ‘I love to laugh’ line, I better hurry up and change that sentence!! 🙂
    Thanks for your advice!

  15. I love to laugh! gosh you are so unique. Guess what, I love to breathe. Wow, how about that one?
    I also love to breathe! But worse of all is ” I love to cuddle.” aaarrrrggg! El creep- o, El cheap- o, El Jerk.
    Just be Yourself.

  16. Do you know what would help? If jdate didn’t allow people to write those 10 phrases! That would be a massive time saver!

  17. The one that gets me is..”My kids are my world”…
    1…Of course you love your kids
    2..When a woman says that…I wonder if there is time and room for me..and a real relationship…and whether or not I would always be last

  18. It’s funny that you mentioned all of those phrases. I can not stand someone telling me what
    to wear, such as that little black Dress. Has anyone ever gotten an email that the guy must
    partake in every sport known to mankind?? My answer to that……I have 11 summers at overnight
    camp. My idea of Hiking or Camping is a 5 star Hotel with room service!

    There is no way in Hell that I’m going to sleep under any stars at 67.

  19. Then there’s everyone’s favorite “I love to take long walks on the beach”….you’d think the beaches would much more crowded.

  20. Why is everyone so very picky and looking for someone who is absolutely perfect? Why does everyone refuse to settle? If a woman is looking for a husband, I will be very interested in her. Years ago, my mother told me about a woman who said “I will marry anyone”. I wish I had checked her out. I wish I could post my username here. At 71, in vigorous good health. Am I too old to marry?

    1. Thomas,

      No one is too old to get married. But is marriage the end all be all, or is it happiness? Just something to chew on.

      Erika

  21. I am so sorry I didn’t not agree with you on this subject ” family and kids” I met some date who didn’t care of having any kids and their family was not important to them as much as their job , their activities in the country club or others clubs ,their cruises around the world or the wonderful women they already met . Yes it is important in a profile to write ” I am a family oriented and I love my successful independent kids ” because for myself I would like to find the same feelings in a man I am looking for “

  22. Sorry, but while I agree with some of the over-used cliches, I don’t agree with all. A long walk on the beach–I used to love to do that at one time long ago, and some of my friends still do. As far as talking about one’s kids, family, or grandkids I don’t object to that. There are people who aren’t close with family, kids, or grandkids, and that’s okay. But those who indicate their pride in their kids or grandkids, or the importance of family are interesting to some j-daters, and indicates some positive personal qualities about that person. And when a person says something like, “I like to laugh and have fun,” it gives the feeling that the person is lighthearted and carefree, rather than a serious individual. There are some J-daters who would prefer the former, and others the latter.

    1. Gert,

      Thanks so much for your feedback! I agree that it’s important to come across as who you are, but specificity is key. Rather than, “I like to laugh and have fun,” which doesn’t say much, it’s best to show, not tell. So, writing, “I get excited every time I see a carousel, Rock Road ice cream, or my grandkids in a tutu” is much more descriptive. That tells me something!

      Thanks,
      Erika

  23. I just don’t see why women show pictures of themselves with their dogs or other pets. Looks so drippy!

    Blowing kisses in photos is inane! And people sitting in restaurants with food in front of them – can’t put my finger on why that puts me off. I suppose I want to know about their character and personality.

    1. Jeremy,

      Thanks so much for your comment. As for the pets, if the pet is an important part of a woman’s (or man’s) life, I do encourage them to pose with the pet in one photo. (Just one photo!) I do agree, though, that the kisses, “duck face,” etc are ridiculous. Men do their fair share of ridiculous things too, of course. 😉

      Thanks,
      Erika

  24. The best I can say about this is Where were you on January 14 1967? I’ll never forget where I was.

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