“S/he’s got a great personality.”
Generally when these words are used to describe a person, it’s the universal way of saying, “Dude, s/he’s not hot.”
And those of us who fit into this category (notice I said “us”—more on that later) frequently decry the superficiality of our society, bemoaning that so much is judged by our outward appearance that the ‘great personality’ people rarely get a chance to display that personality, much less receive appreciation for their engaging humor, scintillating wit, brilliant creativity, or whatever else have you. So I figured an internet profile forum would be an amazing compendium of people capitalizing on allowing their great personality to be showcased prior to a face-to-face encounter which might ordinarily cause them to be overlooked. (My disappointment has been rather profound.)
I am one of those “average” ish people.
Certain features rank on the upper end of average (When the frizz is cooperatively tame, I have great hair, my eyes are lovely, and my collarbone—ever my favorite physical feature and a point of great vanity—protrudes just enough to make most speculative assessments of my weight quite forgiving), and other features rank on the lower end of average (My nose is large, round, and unflatteringly prominent; my figure looks far more like a rectangle than an hourglass; and my battle with acne rages on.) I am not ugly, but neither am I beautiful. In a crowd of people, I don’t stand out (whether for good or bad reasons). Rather, I just sort of blend in.
A male eye surveying a room full of people in a quest for an interesting-looking girl with whom to chat would neither light up with delight nor recoil in disgust when it settles on me. Chances are, it wouldn’t settle on me at all, but pass over, completely unaware that it was even doing so.
But I’ve got a great personality!
(Most of the time. When properly caffeinated. Adequate amounts of coffee are assumed in this assessment.)
I might not stand out in a room full of people, but I can definitely stand out in site full of profiles!
And so can anyone else. But this takes time, effort, and the knowledge of how.
How DOES one accomplish an engaging profile?
First of all, consider the name of the website: Plenty of Fish.
Users, in addition to associating themselves with slimy, gill-breathing, fin-fleshed creatures, are also going fishing.
So, basically, accept that IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT YOU.
When filling out your profile, two things must be taken into account:
*What you are looking for
*What other people are looking for
The second one is ESPECIALLY important—FAR too many people stop after just the first part.
Just like you, everyone else on this site is seeking something, whether it be a friend, a lover, or a long-term relationship. NO ONE on this site has created an account with the agenda of living up to your personal expectations. So while it is just fine for you to have some (I implore you to), PLEASE don’t fill out your profile with a checklist, as if a girl/guy should be honored to be found worthy of your attention by meeting all of your preset qualifications. Do we all have preset qualifications? For sure! But don’t expect anyone to be joining this site for the sole purpose of meeting yours.
Consider your Plenty of Fish profile to be similar to a job resume (with far more room for creative flair). In addition to evaluating if people are right for you, you need to try to convince people that YOU are right for THEM!
Here are some practical tips for how to do that:
1. Use Grammar (Good grammar is preferred, but mediocre is far better than none at all)
Does it have to be perfect? No. But most people are only going to take you as seriously as you take yourself (unless you take yourself too seriously, but that is another topic for another post). If you are unwilling to put the effort into using capital letters at the beginning of sentences and periods at the end, most girls will assume that you are just as lax in your relationships. This profile is part of your full first impression. It is the ONLY thing a person has to go off of as they assess whether or not they want to communicate with you. do u really want 2 come across as having know class? Proofread your profile at least once, and for the love of literacy, please double check the spellings of to/too/two, your/you’re, and there/their/they’re. (If you don’t know the difference, look it up and commit it to memory.)
2. Write stuff, not fluff
“So, uh, I’m new at this [who isn’t?] and don’t know what to expect, [not many of us do] but I’m giving this a shot because blah blah blah.
I’m a really laid back, nice person who likes to x,y,z, and If you want to know more, just ask.”
Sounds appealing, doesn’t it? I’m suddenly filled with questions about the scintillating individual who can’t think of anything interesting to say but yet expects for people to be interested. At the very least, give something people might want to ask questions about!
Your “About Me” section doesn’t have to be the novel that mine is, but neither should it be so vague or so short that people might wonder if you have something to hide.
3. Be Specific and Give Examples
Don’t just throw a generic list of generic interests at your reader.
“I love music, the outdoors, watching movies, working out, and spending time with family and friends.”
If I had a quarter for every profile that contained some variation of the above sentiment (most of them lacking commas), I wouldn’t need the second job I started yesterday. (Yes, it’s true, pretty much ALL of Minnesota likes music, the outdoors, watching movies, and hanging out. Go figure.)
What are some interests specific to YOU?
Better yet, how do you explore them? If you like camping, how often do you go camping? What is your favorite aspect of camping?
And for the record, EVERYONE loves music. I have yet to see a profile that says, “You know, I really dislike music; so if you are totally into music, we probably wouldn’t mesh very well.” Instead of writing that you love music, consider writing about what types of music you love or how you express your love of music: Do you sing in the car? Go to concerts every weekend? Roadtrip every summer to see your favorite band? There are certain commonplace interests we all share, but just because we both love music doesn’t mean we will ever want to hang out. Think about it this way: If you can’t write about your enjoyment of music that makes someone interested in enjoying it with you, it doesn’t need to be in your profile.
4. Mention things that might generate a conversation
One of the profiles that recently caught my eye mentioned an interest in debating conspiracy theories. It was so intriguing that I broke my personal rule about not initiating contact to ask him what sort of conspiracy theories he followed. To date, he is the only POF user who has offered to teach me apocalyptic survival skills.
What are some of your favorite things to talk about? Some of the strongest opinions you hold? Do you think the quality of television diminished exponentially when Firefly was cancelled? Is Folgers in your cup the VERY best part of waking up? Could Batman take Spiderman?
The possibilities are endless for expressing yourself.
I love a profile that makes me laugh (especially when it’s in delight rather than derision).
One user wryly notes:
“If you like the following things, we most likely have nothing in common: POF, Grown Ups or Grown Ups 2, the Kardashians, and short walks on the surface of the sun.”
People love to laugh. If you have a quirky sense of humor, this is a great venue to let it shine.
6. Avoid GUILT
You will never get the kind of attention you want by trying to guilt people into replying or meeting with you.
“I know most people won’t reply because they are too shallow.”
“If you are too selfish to be interested in me because I have a kid, good riddance.”
Yes, people actually say these types of things on their profiles. No, it is NEVER helpful. If you have anything similar to this on your profile, fix it immediately. Accept that you can’t challenge, manipulate, or guilt people into responding to you.( And there’s no need to insult people just because they decide not to pursue interaction with you. If you write on your profile that your only interests are working out, camping, attending heavy metal concerts, and racing cars, I probably won’t message you back. I have nothing against athletics, autos, or camping, but our lifestyles would be so different that we would probably not be able to share and enjoy each other’s passions much at all. It’s not an insult, nor is it a statement of superiority—just an acknowledgment of significant differences.)
So there you have it: Six simple steps for improving your profile. Take advantage of that great personality and display it proudly on your profile page! (And then laugh with me at the awkward attempts others have made. ^_^)
Next week, I will begin featuring “Hook, Line, and Sinker” profiles.
In the meantime, subscribe to this blog by registering your email address in the subscription box on the right. That way, you can receive notification when I post an update!