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Dating in real life is hard enough, but when you venture into the world of online dating, you add an entirely new dimension to your dating game: the online profile.
And that profile can be surprisingly tricky to craft. “It’s hard for people to write about themselves,” relationship expert Bela Gandhi told TODAY. “Putting together an amazing online profile is something that is not necessarily easy.”
In fact, Gandhi, who is the founder of Smart Dating Academy, sees one particular mistake over and over again — a mistake that can immediately turn people off to your dating profile.
That mistake? Being too negative. If you include phrases like “Please do not contact me if you’re a gold digger,” or “Don’t bother if you’re just looking for a one night stand,” you’re not clearly conveying your wants and needs to a potential partner — you’re actually sounding negative and defensive, Gandhi explained.
“It makes it sound like you’ve made bad decisions,” Gandhi said. “Most normal, balanced people are turned off by negativity. The only ones you’re going to get back are people that aren’t turned off.”
Relationship coach Rachel DeAlto, one of the experts on Lifetime’s "Married at First Sight," agreed. “I always try to have daters avoid negativity at all costs,” DeAlto told TODAY. Instead of saying “Don’t contact me if you’re a player,” try turning the statement into something more positive, such as “I’m not looking to get married tomorrow, but I am looking for something substantial,” she suggested. Don’t be afraid to be clear about your desires, DeAlto said, but avoid harsh words and try to add a positive spin.
So what leads people to include those negative statements on their profile in the first place? Typically, it’s pain. Often, those people have been through disappointment or heartbreak, and are using that negativity as a defense mechanism. “They’re trying to protect themselves again,” Gandhi said. “It’s very human, but it doesn’t work in this medium.”
Of course, negativity isn’t the only red flag: Rambling on and on in your profile or choosing poor photos (think: too many group shots or bathroom selfies) can also leave a less-than-stellar first impression, DeAlto said.
Ultimately, though, positivity is key. “People are drawn to positive, healthy, confident people,” Gandhi said. And if you can convey those qualities in your online profile, you’ll up your dating game.