Not Sure What To Put In Your Dating Profile? Here’s What The Experts Say

In the modern dating world, your online profile is your match’s first impression of you. So it’s critical that it be an honest and accurate depiction of who you are.

By Caitlin Shaw4 min read
shutterstock 1207098985 (1)
Shutterstock/Svitlana Sokolova

Quick disclaimer: I’m not here to write your online dating profile for you. I’m also not here to criticize your current profile or advise that you re-write your prompts. This article should serve as a guide for those single ladies out there who aren’t sure what to include, or not include, on their Hinge, Bumble, or other online dating profile. If you take away a single lesson from this article, let it be this: remain as honest and authentic as possible in dating introductions of any form, whether online or not. I promise it will elicit the best results! 


According to research, there’s a 15% uptick in online dating activity during the fall and winter months – making “cuffing season” not just a social phenomenon but actually a real human behavioral pattern backed by science. Studies show that an increase in testosterone during this season leads to an increased sex drive and desire for a romantic partner. That being said, now more than ever is the best time to perfect your dating profile.

1. Do Be Yourself 

It sounds cheesy, but being yourself is arguably the most important tip that dating experts give – whether it’s on your dating app profile, on a first date, or 9 months into a relationship. If you find that the type of man you’re attracting is far from what you want, you may not be putting the most authentic version of yourself on your profile. Consider the types of photos that you’re posting. Do they accurately represent you? Do they teach the other person important things about you other than what you look like? Also consider what you’re including in your bio. Is it too brief? Is it too generic? Let your unique personality be highlighted throughout every aspect of your profile. 

be yourself all the time

2. Do Get Specific

A common misconception in the online dating world is to make your profile vague so that you can appeal to many types of people. However, dating experts actually advise against this, claiming that, nowadays, there are too many dating app users for this to be an effective strategy. With over 45 million U.S. dating app users, it’s absolutely critical to stand out. Try to be as specific as possible – outlining what you’re looking for in a partner, what you hope to gain from using the app, what kinds of things you like to do, what your interests are, and even your political views. Many women shy away from spelling out what kind of relationship they’re looking for on their profile, but know that part of finding the right match is weeding out the wrong ones. Being specific in your needs and preferences from the start can help you avoid going on a lot of bad first dates. Remember that your goal should not be to appeal to every man who encounters your profile; rather, it should be to find the right guy for you.

3. Do Include Photos (of Yourself and Your Pet!)

Whether you like it or not, including photos is an essential part of creating a strong dating profile. It may sound superficial, but the fact of the matter is that looks are important in dating. In fact, a study from eHarmony discovered that those with 4+ photos on their profile received increased interest from matches compared to those with fewer photos. Make sure that your photos are up to date, accurately represent your appearance, and are good quality (though they don’t need to be professional photographs). Experts advise having your first image be a solo shot so your potential matches can clearly identify you. It’s perfectly fine to include group photos on your profile as well, but don’t make them the first thing a potential match sees. Experts also suggest including a photo of your pet if you have one. Research shows that having a photo with a pet on your profile can significantly increase your chances of finding a match.

puppy love

4. Do Showcase Your Interests

This can tag along with the “be yourself” tip, but showcasing your hobbies, passions, and interests is a big part of teaching someone about you, making it a must-have on your dating profile. Whether it’s a short sentence in your bio about what you like to do in your free time, or a photo of yourself engaging in an activity that you love, include it. Chances are that you’ll find matches with similar interests, or at a minimum, that it’ll be a conversation starter between you and a match who wants to learn more about your featured interest.

5. Do Keep It Short and Sweet

Dating apps are not a place for you to publish your autobiography or divulge your latest diary entry. Experts advise keeping your bio and prompt answers short and sweet for a variety of reasons. Firstly, people don’t want to read a novel when they come across another person’s profile. Highlight the parts of your personality that you believe are most important for a stranger to know about you. Secondly, keeping it sweet can mean ensuring your tone remains light, upbeat, and friendly. Not only do people not want to read long bios, but experts discovered that a concise but interesting bio has more potential to leave a match curious and therefore more likely to reach out. So don’t forget to leave a little bit of mystery in your profiles to leave them wanting more!

schitts creek alexis excited laptop


Now that we’ve covered the profile must-haves, it’s time to address the don’ts. It’s equally as important to know what you should include on a dating profile as it is to know what to avoid. 

1. Don’t Lie

This should be self-explanatory, but it’s still critical to mention. You should never lie on an online dating profile for the same reasons that you should never lie to someone in person. Starting any relationship, especially a romantic one, atop lies is a recipe for disaster. You should even steer clear of strong exaggerations or anything that is not 100% truthful. Not only is it awkward if a match catches you in a lie, but they likely won’t trust you and will end up becoming disinterested if you aren’t truthful with them. 

2. Don’t Brag

It doesn’t matter if you’re an Olympic gold medalist, a CEO, or have a list of awards longer than the dictionary – your dating profile is not the place to brag. Arrogance is one of the biggest turnoffs in relationships, especially if you’re meeting someone for the first time. It’s perfectly fine to be proud of your achievements, but keep them to yourself and close family or friends, rather than broadcasting them to a complete stranger on the internet. This lesson applies beyond just matching with someone on a dating app – a first date is not the same as a job interview. 

3. Don’t Be Excessively Sarcastic

Everyone loves a bit of humor, but know that sarcasm can be very hard to read through a screen. It can be even harder to interpret if you don’t know the other person’s sense of humor. Keep this in mind when you include jokes or humor on your profile. Sarcasm can easily come off the wrong way (overly negative, rude, etc.) and deter potential matches. That being said, if sarcasm is an integral aspect of your personality, include it but *with caution.*

sarcastic comment friends chandler

4. Don’t Be Negative

In general, the human reaction to negativity is not a good one. Stay away from negative and hate-filled language on your dating profile. Instead of focusing on things you dislike, try highlighting places, foods, activities, etc. that you do enjoy. A good practice is to ask yourself how you’d feel if you saw “X” written on someone else’s profile. If you’d be filled with disbelief and disgust, then it’s probably a bad idea to include it on your own. 

5. Don’t Use Outdated or Highly Filtered Photos

Earlier, we discussed how integral photos are to your dating profile, but it’s important to make the distinction of what kinds of photos. Experts encourage adding only recently taken photos that are not edited or filtered. Avoid including images of yourself in a hat, sunglasses, or other disguise, as it can be difficult for a potential match to figure out what you look like. Remember that the purpose of a dating app is to initially connect with someone in a casual online setting but then to eventually meet them in person. If you inaccurately depict yourself online, your match will feel misled and confused when they meet you in real life.


Closing Thoughts

Come back to this list of 5 Do’s and 5 Don’ts when writing your online dating profile. If you’re struggling with how to improve your profile and these tips aren’t doing the trick, try writing a hypothetical profile for a friend or even a TV show or movie character that you know well – this exercise may spark ideas for how to write your own. At the end of the day, the most important thing you can do for your dating profile is to be yourself! 

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