Online dating profiles don't get much love.
As a writer, facilitator, and someone with an appetite for depth, love and authenticity, however, I see the online dating profile as a sacred document. It is an opportunity for us to crystallize who we are, what our heart longs for more than anything in this life, and where we are at in our development as a human learning to relate to our own needs and vulnerability. It allows us to define our current place in the extraordinary dance of love, intimacy, sexuality and relationship. All of this, of course, in the service of drawing in a profound connection.
I mean, from both a writing perspective and a soul development perspective, this is very juicy territory.
And yet, as anyone who has had the good fortune of browsing the various online dating sites knows, the majority of profiles are not treated with the level of intention I am describing.
Over years of online dating, I grew accustomed to seeing homogenous, superficial profiles that steered clear of depth and substance. Often, there was a subtext of "I don't like talking about myself" - "I just want to look normal" - "I just want to be accepted" - "It's easier to be shallow and sarcastic than real" - "I don't really know who I am, or what my needs are."
Then, occasionally, I would see a profile written by someone I knew - with the same homogeniety and emptiness of the majority of other profiles, and it blew my mind. Why? Because I personally knew that person was extraordinary - that they had beautiful gifts, a story, wounds and dreams all uniquely their own. And yet in their profile, there was little indication of their incredible soul - they came across as just another humdrum person.
To be fair, this is all very normal. People write mediocre online dating profiles because they are either uncomfortable talking about what really matters to them, or haven't done the introspection required to know what exactly that is.
My purpose with this post is, however, to encourage you to not be normal in this instance. I am going to go out on a limb and assume that, if you've gotten this far, you may be looking for something beyond the mediocre. I am not writing this post for people that just want a simple superficial connection (and I'm not saying there is anything wrong with that at all, either, it's just a different topic altogether). I am writing it for those wanting something more - A LOT more - the kind of connection that touches and nourishes their soul at the deepest level.
If that is something you want, you would be well advised to approach your online dating profile - a central component of your journey if you are single and using it - as a sacred document. It is a love letter from your soul to the universe saying "This is who I am. This is what I want. This is where I am coming from. This is where I am going."
When the person/people you are aligned with see it, their heart will open, their jaw will drop, and they will be writing you asap, because your realness spoke directly to their heart.
Let's talk about how this can be done....
A FILTER & A LOVE LETTER
Your dating profile serves many functions, but two of the most important ones are that it filters out the people who are not in alignment with you (the overwhelming majority), and speaks directly to the kindred spirits (a very select group) who are your matches.
Most people don't make this distinction, and consequently hold some of the most vital parts of themselves back so as to not scare anyone off by being too much or too unusual (aka authentic). The problem with this is twofold: by holding back, not only do we attract all the duds that we actually WANT to scare away with our authenticity, but in addition to that, we are withholding the very things that would draw in our true match(es).
Allow me to illustrate:
In the past I had an online dating profile in which I shared that I am essentially a loner. I have a handful of very deep friendships that I cherish, and am by no means antisocial, but I'm not a person that needs or desires the stimulation of large social situations on a regular basis (I value depth and quality over quantity). And in a serious relationship, it's important to me that whoever I'm with actually be similar - someone who is a bit of an outsider, in a healthy way. That way we aren't clashing, and are actually complimenting each others' need for space and breathing room from mass consciousness.
I had many people write me specifically because of that admission, thanking me for talking about a trait that they were actually ashamed of in themselves, and how good it felt for me to acknowledge and validate it as something I cherish. Those were some of my type of people - at least to a certain extent - and I created a magnet for them by simply sharing my truth.
AND, at the same time, I also scared off the people who would be completely turned off by that part of me - which is exactly what I wanted to do: cut through the mass and focus in on the people that really make sense for me to connect with.
Describe your deal breakers, describe the standards you hold for yourself and those around you, and for a potential mate.
This may all seem very obvious, and it's simple so it should, but it's very important: show yourself, who you really are, where you are really at, what makes you tick, and your truth will act as a filter and a love letter - your honesty will be a magnet that draws the right one in.
A STARTING POINT
At this point, I'm guessing that at least some of those reading might be feeling like it's time to give their dating profile a makeover, but still wouldn't know where to begin.
A common refrain I encounter here is that "I'm just not a writer" - and therefore it's not as simple as I am making all of this out to be. If you do feel that you are not a writer, and that's a significant block here for you, I would like to lovingly encourage you to call yourself on your own bullshit.
If you know how to write, you are capable of communicating through that medium. In most cases, when I see people who "aren't writers" tap into their true needs or desires and connect to what actually gives them energy, words flow with ease. This doesn't have to be a masterful work of prose - it just has deliver some information authentically. In my opinion the more raw and grounded the better. To get the ideas flowing, here are a few ideas that might help give you a sense of where to begin.
Let me begin by saying that in a broad sense, your dating profile is an opportunity for you to crystallize who you are, what gives you energy and what kind of relationship you want. Here are a few questions/prompts that might be helpful:
Tell us what gives you energy. Do you get energy from going and sitting alone beside the river, or seeing someone hug their child tenderly, or going to new high end restaurants? Do you yearn for deeply authentic connection more than anything, or would you prefer to just talk about your favourite bands and tv shows? Or are you fed by all of the above? It doesn't matter what it is that drives you and you crave in your life, what matters is that you share it!
This is the most obvious writing prompt I'll give here - one that you likely would have thought of yourself - though it is still useful to say it clearly: Define what gives you energy, and what does not. Go deep and tell us what really matters - around the lifestyle you lead, the partner you imagine, your purpose, whatever truly matters to you.
Tell us what lessons you are learning in your life. This might require a bit of reflection - but try to tell us where you are at in your journey: what are the big lessons you've been learning in your life, with regards to intimacy, or purpose, or self care, or creativity and inspiration. Again, it doesn't matter what this is specifically, and you don't have to go into painstaking detail, but by acknowledging the major lessons in your life - including those you don't wish to repeat - you're defining where you're at and what you are needing both for yourself and your matches.
Don't be negative. Leave the cynical, negative venting out of your profile. When someone complains about past relationships/experiences and brings that bitterness into their profile, two things are accomplished: They are immediately far less attractive (even more so to people who aren't used to toxic/dysfunctional relationships), and they show a lack of maturity (since they aren't owning their own role as the architect of their past relationships). I'm not saying you should pretend to be positive - just be real - and try not to indulge any cynical or bitter parts of you that might want to take centre stage - there are better venues for them to be expressed and processed. This is another obvious one, but I have to mention it because it's so important. Unless you actually want to project cynicism and bitterness to the world, I would encourage you to tread carefully in this area.
Tell us why you are single. This seems like it would be obvious, but given my anthropological research (browsing online dating sites), it rarely occurs to us to acknowledge why we are single. Are you single because you've been taking space to find out who you really are? Or is it because you're looking for something meaningful, that is actually a stretch beyond what seems to be showing up easily for you? Or is it because you are learning how to respect yourself, and that has meant saying a self affirming no more often than not? Or are you in the midst of a transition where what used to be acceptable isn't, and being single has somehow been a part of that?
This is really another angle from which to approach the topic of what lessons you are learning in your life right now - but specifically in the area of intimate relationship.
I feel it is important to acknowledge the lessons we are learning because our lives are not just a series of disconnected events - they are many chapters connected by an ongoing evolutionary process. And again, by defining what the big themes and lessons you are exploring right now are, you are helping both yourself and your future partner understand where you are and what you need.
Be You. If you are using any of the above points as as guide, this should automatically happen, but I want to emphasize the importance of you really showing your true colours in your profile. Don't censor or water yourself down - the more authentic you can be the more clearly those who align with you at a very deep level can see you and find you.
There is so much more that can be said about approaching online dating as a sacred practice (if you are craving more, check out my last post, which was part one of this series). For now I will conclude by emphasizing again what a profound opportunity it holds for us to fully claim who we are, what we want, and draw it in. I hope very much that you can use it in a way that rises above the normal and mediocre - to bring your soul's needs into focus and have an experience that nourishes you to the core and expands you in ways you haven't yet imagined.
About the Author:
Hi, my name is Miles. I am a writer & facilitator that helps people step into an aligned, beautiful and empowered life through conscious relationship work, emotional work, shadow integration and much more.
I am passionate about this work because when we step into alignment with our souls, pure magic happens - and I know of nothing more healing or sacred.