Online dating: Negative Nellies need not apply
Have you ever read those profiles where the person sounds intelligent and interesting… until that fateful last line? I’ve seen them all:
- No drama, please!
- Cowboys fans need not apply.
- If you’re looking for a fling, look the other way.
- 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.
- If you’re not into fitness, we are not a match.
- Douche bags need not apply! (Taken from someone’s actual Match.com profile… I can’t make this stuff up.)
In doing a quick search of Match.com for men ages 30-45 within 20 miles of my own zip code, I found that 36 men used the expression “need not apply” somewhere in their profiles. And women? Over 100!
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. Instead, it’s much better to show people what you do want rather than what you don’t. So in this case, rather than calling your intense cat hatred to everyone’s attention, just write about how you’re looking for a dog-lover because perhaps Scruffy is the main man in your life right now, and you’d like to change that.
By including one of these lines in your profile, you come off as negative, or even bitter. “No drama, please” screams, “My last relationship was full of drama, so I don’t want a repeat performance.” “Douche bags need not apply” is not only a disgusting expression, but also says to someone, “I’ve been burned one too many times, and I’m 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. To take 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. Go Eagles!)
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 committed 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!
This article was also posted in JMag, the online magazine for JDate.com.
-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. A Little Nudge has been featured in The Washington Post, NPR, Talk Philly, Good Day Philadelphia, JMag (JDate's online magazine), and Ask Men. Want to connect with Erika? Join her newsletter for updates and tips.