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How to Make Your Online Dating Profile Stand Out

Over-50 daters should focus on quality photos, video and bio information for success

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​​In the real world, love can be hard to find, so daters are increasingly turning to the digital world instead.

Whether singles over 50 are looking for a long-term relationship, someone to travel with or just good conversation, connecting using apps and websites can expand the dating pool and make meeting people easier. But the way daters represent themselves online makes a big difference in who responds and how.​

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For many older adults, the pandemic and social distancing boosted the use of digital dating. Data tracker Apptopia reported that there were 1.2 million more people using the top 50 dating apps in 2021 than a year earlier, before the pandemic. That group includes many older adults. Roughly a third of U.S. adults age 55-plus have used an online dating site or app, according to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center. Furthermore, two-thirds of them had a relationship with someone they met through the platform, according to a 2021 survey by Choice Mutual, an insurance company.​

But dating when you’re over 50 is far different from dating when you’re 20. Taking the time to create an engaging online dating profile that contains a well-crafted bio with appealing photographs and maybe a video or audio message may encourage people to swipe right.​

Your profile is vital, says San Francisco Bay Area dating and relationship coach Maya Diamond, because it says who you are and what kind of relationship you want. “When you’re creating that in a thoughtful and intentional way, it can really help you find the right partner,” she adds.​

As always, use caution when interacting with others online. Don’t share personal data or financial information with others online and keep an eye out for red flags that could indicate the person’s profile is fake (see video below). Educate yourself about romance scams and how to avoid them.

Tips for writing an online dating profile

Most online dating profiles require you to use your real name and where you live, but nearly all other information is up to you.​

One basic rule is to be yourself, online dating experts say. “Don’t write what you think people want to hear; write about what matters to you,” says Sophie Watson, spokeswoman for SilverSingles, a dating site exclusively for people age 50-plus. “If you have a quirky hobby or get delighted by something silly, make a reference to it. Chances are there’s someone out there who will share your passion.”​

Avoid negativity in your profile, recommend experts. Focus on what you want in a partner and a relationship, not what you don’t want. Instead of saying you’re not interested in smokers, for instance, say you’re seeking an active, nature-loving person.​

Create a Winning Dating Profile

  1. Think first. Make lists to clarify what you want to say before you start writing.
  2. Add personality by weaving your interests and sense of humor through your profile.​
  3. Keep it short.
  4. Adopt a friendly, conversational tone.​
  5. If a dating site or app lets you create a username or headline, make sure it reflects an interest or passion, such as “Global Trekker.”​
  6. Photos of people being active and with pets do well.​
  7. Avoid selfies, but if you must include one, use a selfie stick for better quality.​
  8. Scour your profile for any grammatical or spelling mistakes. Have a couple of family members or trustworthy friends read it before you post it.​
  9. Look at other people’s profiles for inspiration.​
  10. Add a video message or audio greeting for extra depth and zing.​
  11. Write your profile when you feel happy, which may be reflected in the content.​

Rebecca Nelson, 67, began online dating several years ago after moving to Nashville, Tennessee. The retiree spent upwards of a week creating the perfect profile for several dating sites and apps, repeating key words and phrases like “active” and “adventuresome” and “seeks an emotionally intelligent and well-grounded partner” to increase her match chances.​

Nelson was generally pleased with the results, getting “more in-depth responses and messages than I might have expected,” she says. “I think it’s because I took such care with the profile.”​

Dating profiles should reflect your personality

The bio section should include enough information to reveal who you are, but keep it on the shorter side, so it’s not overwhelming. Think quality over quantity. “You want to create some level of intrigue and curiosity,” Diamond says.​

Nelson adapted OkCupid’s profile template for several other dating sites and apps, such as Bumble, Match and Zoosk, and regularly altered the profiles to shorten them or make them easier to read.

In answer to the prompt “On a Friday night, you’ll find me doing ...,” for example, she reduced her answers from six to three.​

Your profile isn’t a résumé, so you don’t need to list all of your degrees and jobs. Instead, include your preferences, like you’d rather walk on the beach than hike in the mountains. Keep the tone conversational and friendly.​

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“You’re not going into business with your date — you’re looking for someone to enjoy life with,” Watson says.

Not only can writing about your hobbies help you connect with others who enjoy similar activities, SilverSingles’ studies show that profiles mentioning hobbies like cooking, dancing and gardening get more messages.​

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Limit the selfies and include current images

Include photos in your profile, because they’re what people see first. Photos also are more likely to draw responses and start conversations by prompting someone to ask where an image was shot. In fact, eHarmony says people with four or more photos receive the most inquiries from matches.​

You don’t need professional photographs, but images should be attractive and poses should be natural and relaxed, online dating experts say. Don’t forget to smile.​

Make your lead profile image a solo shot. Other photos can include a mix of headshots, full-body images, and group and activity shots. If you say you like to cycle, include a photo of you biking. Avoid old photos that no longer resemble you and images of you wearing sunglasses or anything that obscures your face.

Do not use selfies — especially if they’re taken in a car, in a bathroom mirror or in bed. Selfies are typically poor quality unless they’re done with a selfie stick.

And if you have a pet you love, include it in a photo. SilverSingles’ studies show that including a cat or dog in profile photos catches the attention of other members.​

Embrace new dating profile features

Virtual dating, video messages and audio greetings emerged during the pandemic, when people weren’t meeting in person, but they’re sticking around as options for easing into dating. For example, eHarmony offers video dating, Grindr provides video chat and OurTime has audio greetings. ​

These are opportunities to talk about yourself in ways not available in other parts of your profile, such as what your interests are and what you seek in a partner. Suggest what you’d like to do on a first date. Be creative. Active dates and experiences, such as picnics, bowling or hiking, are hot.​

Video: Spotting Fake Online Dating Profiles

Editor's note: This article was originally published on January 26, 2022. It has been updated to reflect new information.

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