En español | For many people, a new year means making a fresh start on the relationship front — whether they're simply looking for someone to talk to, a travel companion or love.
After two years of the coronavirus pandemic, dating habits have changed. More people are dating digitally, using mobile apps and websites, in part spurred on by the pandemic.
Some apps, like Tinder, Bumble and Hinge, noted a surge in users at the start of the pandemic. Data tracker Apptopia reported that in July 2021 there were 1.2 million more people using the top 50 dating apps than during the same month the previous year.
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 may make you stand out from the crowd.
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.
Basic do's and don'ts for dating profiles
Most online dating profiles require 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."
Create a Winning Dating Profile
1. Think first. Make lists of your desires to help you 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. If you must take a selfie photo, 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 edit it before you post it.
9. Look at other people's profiles for inspiration.
10. Write your profile when you feel happy, which may be reflected in the content.
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, say you seek an active, nature-loving person.
Rebecca Nelson, 65, 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 like she's “active” and “adventuresome” and seeks “an emotionally intelligent and well-grounded partner” to increase her match chances.
She was generally pleased with the results, getting “more in-depth responses and messages than I might have expected,” Nelson 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 tell 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 tweaks 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.
"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.
Photos make a difference
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, images of yourself wearing sunglasses or anything that obscures your face, and selfies, which typically are of poor quality unless they're done with a selfie stick.
And if you have a pet, include it in a photo. SilverSingles’ studies show that including a cat or dog in profile photos catches the attention of other members.
Sheryl Jean is a contributing writer who covers aging, business, technology, travel, health and human-interest stories. Her work has appeared in the Chicago Tribune and The Dallas Morning News and on the American Heart Association’s website.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on January 14, 2021. It's been updated to reflect new information.