The fact is, much of what you find on most profiles actually tells you very little. When you see a profile that says, “My friends would describe me as…” you can usually expect the usual series of adjectives that include reliable, attractive, honest, dependable etc., all of which are probably true but don’t really tell you what makes the person unique—or uniquely attractive.
Often, all you need to pay attention to is the first thing that someone puts on their profile:
I’m a Christian woman. I’m not perfect and I have my faults but I know the difference between right and wrong and try to live my life that way. I don’t drink or do drugs and wouldn’t date a man who does. I like the smell of rain, barn dancing, slow drives in the country and long evenings in front of the fire.
Believe it or not, you’ll find lots of profiles like this on dating sites, profiles in which the very first sentence tells you everything you need to know. The writer has placed her values front and foremost, and it’s fairly clear what kind of relationship she’s looking for—and what kind of man.
Not all profiles are that obvious though. You certainly might find plenty of profiles that say that the single behind it likes Britney Spears or Christina Aguilera, choices which speak volumes about their musical taste and makes clear that there’ll be no fighting over the music collection if things don’t work out. But how someone writes can reveal as much about who they are, where they’re from and where they’d like to go as what they write.
It’s often possible to spot a number of small signs that give a clue to the writer’s background, personality and most important, compatibility.
There are two kinds of profiles: those with spelling mistakes and those without. And it’s not just the misspelled words that tell you about the writer’s writing skills—or their ability to use spellcheck—it’s also the use of numbers instead of letters, dodgy punctuation and missing capitals.
This happens a lot in online communications and there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with skipping spelling rules (although it’s always best to follow them, if only for the sake of clarity). But a tendency to leave writing laws in the dust does say much about the person doing the writing—and whether you’d make a good match.
In general, people who write “4 u” instead of “for you”, tend to be young, trendy and… a bit lazy. They’re more comfortable with SMS messaging and online chatting than sitting and writing words in full.
That’s fine if you’re the same. If you can’t understand why “too” has three letters instead of two, especially when you can write it “2”, then dating someone who’s “looking 4 u” could work out just fine. But if you’re infuriated at people’s inability to write properly, then dating someone who likes to take the shortcut to creating sentences might not be for you at all
When you’ve seen a lot of dating site profiles, you’ll quickly notice that just about everyone online seems to be looking for a date with a sense of humor. The Internet is not a good place for po-faced dullards to find their other halves.
Unfortunately, few profiles seem to show the qualities their writers are looking for. Most people tend to take a pretty straightforward approach to creating their profile. That’s not entirely their fault. There aren’t many great jokes that begin “About Me And My Match” and even Chris Rock would find it a challenge to be funny in the small amount of space you can find on most dating site profiles.
That means that on the one hand, it’s not a good idea to hold a lack of wit against someone you see online. They might be a scream in real life and your date might be filled with unending laughter but when it comes to getting across their humor on their profile, they could have just come up a bit short.
On the other hand, if you do see someone who looks good and has a profile that makes you smile, send out an email as soon as you spot it. If someone can make you laugh with what they squeezed into their self-description, imagine how much fun the date will be!
It would be great if you could judge the level of someone’s integrity just by seeing what they write on their profile. But it’s just not that easy. No one ever writes in their self-description, “I’m unreliable, unfaithful, deceitful and selfish. I’ll hit on your pals, stand you up on dates and if you think I’m really going to hang around for a long-distance relationship, you can think again. At the first sign you’re getting serious, I’ll be heading for the hills.”
No one ever writes that, but you might find ages that seem at odds with the look in the picture, income ranges that are pitched way too high for someone who works in catering or retail, or occupations that just don’t seem to match the level of education.
Now, it’s perfectly possible that there’s a perfectly good explanation for what to you looks like a strange discrepancy. But if you’re already raising questions about your potential date’s integrity, do you really want to enter into a relationship with them—and begin by having to decide whether you believe their answers?
Trying to read between the lines of the information you’ve got on a dating site profile isn’t easy. But with so little to go on before you send out that first email and so many people to choose from, you’ll find yourself doing it without even noticing. In all, the best policy is to trust your instincts. If something someone writes gets your goat, the best policy is to give them the elbow. If you find yourself attracted to the wit in someone’s self-description, then shoot them out an email and see what they say back!
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