12 Online Dating Profile Mistakes You Have to Stop

Not getting as many online dating messages or responses as you’d like? Well, the problem might not be you or what your sending in your message. The problem might be your online dating profile!

Your online dating profile is your chance to showcase who you are to other potential singles. It’s like your resume, commercial, or whatever you want to call it! If you don’t have your dating profile squared away, though, you can’t expect to get much in the way of responses to your messages and you can’t expect other single men or women to reach out to you first.

If you don’t have an online dating profile at all yet, we highly recommend you start by reading our how to write the perfect online dating profile guide first. And if you need a side of inspiration to go with your main course, ensure you’ve thumbed through our real dating profile examples. That guide will get you completely squared away with what needs to go in your profile. But, before you publish it, make sure you come back here and be sure that you aren’t making any of these online dating profile mistakes.

If you’re serious about finding love and want to get the most responses and messages, pay attention today. We’re going to walk you through the 12 biggest and most common online dating profile mistakes that are killing your game and ending your chances to meet someone special before you even get started.

profile screenshot from jdate

1. Having a weak headline

Your headline is the first thing that anyone looking at your online dating profile is going to see. If it’s weak, chances are they’re not even going to take the time to read the rest of your profile. If it’s strong, you can hook them in and get them interested in finding out more about you. The guide we linked above in the intro is FANTASTIC for walking you through how to come up with an awesome headline. There are even some examples that you can take word for word or tweak a little bit to be perfect for you.

Just make sure that you don’t gloss over the online dating profile headline. It’s a lot more important than you think even though it’s only one line.

2. Not filling out your dating profile at all.

The ability to commit and follow through…not being lazy…What do these two things have in common? They are traits that most people are looking for in someone they want to date. What do you automatically think about someone when you see they haven’t filled out their online dating profile? Either they’re not serious about the process, can’t follow through to complete something, or they’re just lazy.

If someone can’t even take the time to complete a simple online dating profile, how can you expect them to put in any time or effort into meeting you and your potential relationship?

While these assumptions might not be true about you, it’s what people are going to think when they see you have an incomplete online dating profile. Take the time to finish your profile and put answers that are meaningful and show that you put a little thought into it. One word answers or “I’ll get to this later” don’t really do a whole lot for instilling confidence in someone that you are worth pursuing.

If you don’t have the time or the energy to commit to completing your online dating profile, you probably aren’t in a position where you should be dating in the first place.

3. Not having enough quality pictures.

People have to be able to see what you look like when it comes to online dating. With traditional dating and meeting people in person, you’re going to get to see all of that. The point of online dating is to try and mimic what you get in person, but deliver it online so that you can meet more people than you normally would be able to.

If you don’t have enough good pictures of you for people to see, you’re either not going to get many responses, or you’re going to get responses from people that think you are something that you are not.

How many pictures is good? We’d say anywhere from 3-10 is perfect. What makes these quality pictures? Your pictures need to be current (within the last year—ideally the last six months), clear (not taken with a terrible camera), and clearly show your face and your body. Be proud of who you are and if you’re not, then do what you can to change that and accept the things that you cannot.

Contrary to popular belief, people don’t just look at pictures when they are looking for someone to meet through online dating. What does upset people, though, is when they think they are talking to one person that looks a certain way only to find out that those pictures were being deceitful.

4. Being too generic.

“I like to have fun.”

“I love doing things with my friends.”

“I’m a great person.”

These are all obnoxiously generic statements that should be left out of your online dating profile or expanded upon.

“I like to have fun with my dog at the dog park.”

“I love doing things with my friends like going to the movies and seeing concerts.”

“I’m a great person”….Okay this one just sounds conceited and needs to be scrapped from your dating profile altogether.

You see how by just going a little further you were able to tell someone so much more about yourself. There are way too many generic profiles out there online, and if you don’t put in a little bit of effort, you’re going to disappear into the mix of those. Stand out a little by putting some detail into your dating profile. A little will go a long way.

5. Being too picky about what you’re looking for.

It’s completely okay to know exactly what you want in a partner. But, you need to understand the difference between wants and needs. Wants are things that you’d prefer to have while needs are the deal breakers that you can’t live without. On your dating profile, it’s okay to list some of your deal breakers in a nice way. But, don’t list your wants as you might end up excluding someone amazing who just doesn’t meet one part of your criteria.

“I won’t date someone who smokes or doesn’t attend church regularly.”

These are most likely deal breakers and totally fine to put on your dating profile. You’re not trying to win a popularity contest. You’re trying to find someone you’re compatible with and surprise, that is not going to be everyone.

“I won’t date someone under 6 feet tall. You also better have a great job, enjoy hiking, and have traveled to at least a few different countries.”

Yuck. While these are certainly things that you could hope for or want in a partner, they’re probably best left off. What happens if someone comes along who is over 6 feet, travels monthly all over the world for their great job, but hasn’t tried hiking yet. They’re now not going to send you a message, but we’re pretty sure you’d take them in a heartbeat.

Leave the list of wants off of your profile. It’s okay to put the deal breakers, but don’t get excessive. Having a list that is too long (even if it is all deal breakers) can make you seem too picky and turn off a lot of great people from messaging you.

6. Writing too much in your dating profile.

Gosh, we’re picky, aren’t we? Well, we just want you to have the most success possible. We’ve already pointed out that you can write too little on your online dating profile. But, you can also write too much. A few sentences or even a paragraph on each question is probably plenty. Any more than this and you should really just look into writing a novel about yourself you can link to. Kidding, please don’t do this.

Make sure that you write enough to give them a taste of who you are, but you don’t need to put your entire life story. You can share some things that are personal, but don’t go overboard. Some things are better left to talk about in person. Remember, when you write something there is no backstory or voice inflection in the writing. This means that different people are going to interpret what you say differently. You could accidentally turn off a great candidate just because you put something that they misinterpreted.

Write enough, but not too much.

7. Neglecting online dating security.

It’s time for us to play the parent here for just a minute. You HAVE to make sure that you’re being safe when dating online. Don’t put any personal information in your profile that says where you live, where you work, or how to get in touch with you.

This is information that you want to keep guarded and only share with singles that you’ve talked to and want to get to know better. Even then, you’re probably not going to tell them exactly where you work or live until you’ve gone out a few times and know you can trust them.

If you haven’t read it yet, please read our online dating security guide. Not to sound dramatic, but it really could save your life. If you have friends (male or female) that are dating or dating online, we recommend you send it to them as well.

8. Not updating your dating profile.

Here’s a spoiler. Most of you reading this are probably not going to meet Prince Charming or whatever the female equivalent of Prince Charming is right away as soon as you start dating online. Sometimes it can take months or even longer to find that perfect person. You’re not looking for a new belt or a new pair of jeans; you’re looking for someone to potentially spend the rest of your life with. We think that’s okay if that takes just a little bit longer.

That being said, you are going to be changing as a person throughout the process. Your interests will change, what you’re looking for might change a little, and other details of your life will change. What you need to make sure is that you update your online dating profile accordingly. If you don’t, then you’re going to be getting responses from people who are not exactly what you’re looking for or who think you’re something that you’re not.

You don’t have to update your online dating profile every day. Once a month is probably plenty to at least give it a once over and make sure everything is still correct.

Read: How Often Should You Update Your Online Dating Profile?

9. Not using any sort of formatting.

“I love going to the mall with my friends I am also a Sagittarius, love guys that are tall and know what they want, my interests are helping out, volunteering, and working with shelter animals, 5’10, and I have blue eyes and I …..”

You get the picture of how annoying this would be to read through. When you’re writing out your online dating profile, use some form of formatting. Don’t write huge paragraphs with long run-on sentences. Write a few sentences and if you have to write more, make it a new section.

Anything over about three sentences should be its own paragraph/section. A lot of people look at profiles on their phones which have smaller screens. Any more sentences together just looks like an uninviting wall of text.

Also, use punctuation and complete sentences. It goes a long way to show that you’re intelligent and you care enough to put a little extra time into making your online dating profile look good.

10. Not considering your audience.

It’s important that you remember the purpose for writing a dating profile. It’s not to make you feel good about yourself or to scratch some proverbial itch you have. It’s to showcase who you are and lay the groundwork for conversations and connections.

What that means is that you should be writing with your audience in mind. Think about the types of people you want to attract and share what you think would be important to them. Additionally, make sure you’re writing properly based on the type of site you’re on.

For example, if you’re on a very casual dating app like Tinder, you probably don’t want to talk about your long-term goals in life and things that are a bit more serious. And if you’re on a serious dating app, talking about your wild party days and things like that is probably not ideal. Don’t lie and misrepresent yourself to play to your desired audience, but use some discretion with what information to prioritize.

11. Talking about your exes.

There may be a temptation to talk about what you DON’T want in a partner. And while that might seem like a good idea, it’s really not. Your dating profile should be a positive place that shows excitement about the future. If you rattle on about your exes or what you don’t want in someone, it tends to signal that you may have some emotional baggage or drama you haven’t worked through just yet.

If you want to talk about past relationships privately, that’s up to you. But don’t make it the first thing that other people are seeing about you.

12. Forgetting to have fun and express yourself!

Your online dating profile should showcase some of your personality and profile! If you like to have fun, show that. If you’re someone who likes jokes and likes to laugh, showcase that. Try your best not to make your profile dry and boring to read. Even if you don’t think you’re that exciting of a person, you can do your best to put your best foot forward.

We HIGHLY recommend that you scroll back up to the top of the page and check out our dating profile writing guide because it breaks down each section of a profile line by line and tells you how to write it perfectly. There are even some awesome example profiles for you to flip through.

Just make sure you take some time and really put some effort into your online dating profile. You can’t expect great results if you don’t take the time to put your best foot forward.

Photo of author

Author: Matt Seymour, MSF

Matthew J. Seymour is a dating industry expert with over a decade of experience coaching singles, reviewing dating apps, and analyzing trends within the industry. Matt is a published author with his most recent work “Get More Dates: How to Master Online Dating Apps” that hit shelves in 2023. With a Masters of Science in Finance (MSF) degree from the University of Florida and extensive knowledge of the innerworkings of the online dating industry, Matt frequently serves in an advisory role to some of the largest dating apps on the market. In Matt’s current role with Healthy Framework, he leads the interview team that regularly interviews key dating industry leaders, and leverages his financial knowledge and dating app experience to review and share what singles need to know to get the most out of dating online.