How Can I Determine Which Information on My Dating Profile Is Too Specific?

I’m a 28-year old woman and just like most of your readers, I’ve had good luck in life in general but not so much with men. I hope to meet him and get married within the next 3-5 years and I purchased your FTOO package and followed your advice regarding being specific and telling stories. So, I’ve written an approximately two 200-word essays about me and my ideal partner on Zoosk and I already have men writing to me about the details in my profile which means I probably did it right.

However, a guy wrote to me and told me that I’m writing too much and I should just keep people guessing. My response to him was “Well, I think specific details are good for starting conversations but thank you for your feedback.”

I’m writing specific stories but I’m not revealing my exact workplace location or any other personally identifiable information. One of my lines in my profile is that “…but since then I’ve settled down with a research position at a local university where I make viruses for gene therapy”. Initially I was hesitant about including the part about making viruses but I did anyway. A guy who claimed to be a public servant for the federal government wrote to me saying that I should not include such information on a dating site because someone could take advantage of me and start a biological warfare. He went on to explain that the government has enough shit like terrorism to deal with so another biological warfare is not needed. My gut reaction is that this guy is a jackass who thinks he knows what he’s saying but doesn’t know enough about my work to make such comments and he’s insulting my intelligence for being so gullible.

So, my question is, where do I draw the line on being too specific? Other than not revealing your personal information of course. Am I also right to ignore these guys who make such comments on my profile?

Yijun

Yes, this guy is a jackass, for a number of reasons.

    a. He offered an unsolicited insult of your profile when he could have ignored it.
    b. He has no idea what you do for a living, so he’s talking out of his ass.
    c. He seems to think that ISIS is on Zoosk to gather intel and extort you into giving away our federal secrets. We can attribute many things to the various national crises facing our country now; dating apps are certainly not one of them.

Good riddance.

For our other readers who may have gotten Finding the One Online or hired one of my professional profile writers at e-Cyrano to attract better prospects, there is NO SUCH THING as a profile that’s too specific.

Every single line is like a fishhook that you dangle in the water to catch someone’s eye.

Every single line is like a fishhook that you dangle in the water to catch someone’s eye.

  • “Once, all the capillaries in my eyes burst when I was SCUBA diving off the Great Barrier Reef.”
  • “I’d treat your parents to a weekend in Vegas (with Cirque du Soleil tickets!) for babysitting our kids while we were in New York.”
  • “You think Sunset Boulevard holds up but cringe when watching Sixteen Candles.”

(Yes, these are all real things that could be in my profile.)

Now, there’s some school of thought that says to remove these specifics because you wouldn’t want to eliminate someone who isn’t into SCUBA or Vegas. God forbid a great guy hasn’t seen Sixteen Candles!

My answer: who cares?

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Comments:

  1. 1
    Ashley

    I think the reason to NOT be too specific is you take all the mystery out of getting to know you once you do start going on dates. What the hell are you gonna talk about if he already knows everything about you? Add details but leave out the specifics for when you meet in person.

    From, someone who had enormous success with online dating and is now in the best relationship of my life 🙂

    1. 1.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      That’s a straw man argument if there ever was one, Ashley.

      The idea that a well-written 200-word essay will render you speechless on a first date is laughable.

      There’s a lot more to me than 200 words. I’m assuming there’s far more to you as well.

      From, someone who teaches other people to do this for a living and has written over 1000 online dating profiles.

      1. 1.1.1
        Sum Guy

        Isn’t 200 words like only half a page, if even?

        Tell me people are not serious that is “too much” to read.

        Deoending on the OLD site you are on, little non-specific and generic profile info reeks of a bot (fake profile) to me.  I skip those.

         

        Id say if your looking for a quality guy, which always have options, good pics to get him to click and a profile that will intrigue him and make you stand out from all the other good looking successful women.

        And you know what that thing is? You, a price if true you that you don’t need to fake, that makes him say she’ll get me because I’m that kind of crazy too.

        1. Sum Guy

          i really need to tame my autocorrect, a piece of the true you, no price required

        2. Stacy

          @SumGuy

          Fortunately (but really unfortunately), when I was dating online, I had only a few words in my profile and still got tonsssssss of messages daily. Men will still contact you if they think you’re hot enough. Someone asked why so many women have profiles that are so brief – well, it’s because if you look a certain way, you don’t even have to make the effort.

          However, I think a well written profile can only produce advantages for anyone so I am not undermining that at all. Just keeping it real.

        3. Sum Guy

          Stacy

          Men will still contact you if they think you’re hot enough.”

          Why of course! 🙂   Are they the ones you want though?  Hoping you’ve found some good ones.

          Typically when I’m in dating mode there are at least 4-6 hot women that the search engine sends my way every day, and that’s just 45-55 year olds within 20 miles.

          I can’t contact all of them, so it’s the profile that makes the difference.

          Given my high response rate from women with fuller profiles, I think the very low response rate from two sentence “active” profiles is an indication they are bots or who knows, so I don’t even bother anymore with the two sentence ones.

    2. 1.2
      Alex

      I’ve actually used e-cyrano and it was wonderful. 200 words is not very much, and on dating sites that don’t have as much room to write, I’ll just cut out a paragraph or two.

       

      The LW sounds like she’s naturally good at writing profiles. Unfortunately, the random insults tend to come with the territory. I used my e-cyrano profile on match and got some of the same things (one guy told me I had bad taste in music and that he was discouraged because we matched on so many other levels????). The upside is that with a well written profile, you will get way more great responses.

    3. 1.3
      T

      I am a LoveU grad who wrote a truly specific, 1 in 10,000 people story that is a wall the right man had to scale. LOL   To make the story short, I am in the best relationship of my life! In my profile, the first line gave away the ending of the story: I talked about getting married and raising FFM (Future Fortunate Munckins) . Then, I launched into calling him Cuddlesaurus across the crowded bar, falling asleep on his chest like a contented cat while he watched football and I’m on my headphones reading, cooking dinners 5 nights a week together, having weekends open for each others’ friend and family.. and my favorite hook was making a spinach, avocado and pomegrante salad to share with a glass of wine after picking him up at the airport in heels and a trenchcoat.

      My point is, showing who I am as a girlfriend helps the RIGHT guys find me after 5 years of being generic “best friend, partner in crime, travel, puppies sunset,” like everyone else. The ones who have no intention of being my boyfriend or doesn’t like my quirky personality will steer clear, which is a GOOD thing.

      Another tip: I made the pictures fun by putting photos of myself in situations that we would be doing together (restaurants with exotic sushi, on a boat with my friends, BBQ with my family..) Tell a story, the specific guy who loves your personality will actually get to see you and be fascinated by the story he already wants to be apart of.

      1. 1.3.1
        T

        Regarding length: My profile pic was a picture of me in at a fundraiser in red dress… but I balanced the flashy with a LONG profile (think 1,000+ words) that someone had to read AND like AND respond to. Dates were further in between, 2 a month, but VERY QUALIFIED, VERY Intellectually and Emotionally FASCINATED men (vs. just attracted men) wrote me.

        For the right person, the 1000+ word was like a woman’s skirt: Long enough to cover the subject, but short and interesting enough to be fascinating.

  2. 2
    Sum Guy

    I agree with Evan, who cares.  The more you are you the more likely you’ll find someone who likes you.

     

    1. 2.1
      B. J.

      Clearly, it isn’t possible to write such a perfect description–long or short–that will satisfy everyone who reads it. If you are particularly interested in attracting a person who is also working in the science field, your description would make an excellent introduction. If you would rather attract a wider interest-group of respondents, you might like to consider how your examples might be working for or against your possible choices. Also, just a few interesting details should be adequate, because written introductions that are too wordy sometimes become a little tedious to read through to the end. You sound like you are basically on the right track, and I wish you luck with your future contacts.

  3. 3
    Tammy

    It takes a lifetime to know a person. Why would you seek out a relationship if you think you’ll run out of things to talk about on the first date? When you meet the right person you should never run out of things to talk about. That’s kind of the reason we’re all out here doing this dating thing.

  4. 4
    GoWiththeFlow

    Yijun,

    It sounds like your new profile is working and men are contacting you.  The thing is when the net you cast into the ocean is better at catching fish, not only do you get more of the good kind, you also get more of the bad kind as well.  In your case, cranks and malcontents who think you want their opinion on your profile.  Don’t respond to messages from these guys.  Hit delete and block them if necessary.  You don’t owe them a response.

    1. 4.1
      Sum Guy

      GWTH

      so true

      I gotta respect women who do OLD, getting angry cranks criticizing you out of the blue; as a guy the most I get is ignored or flaked/ghosted on.

      At worst it’s confusing but mostly just the nature of the medium.

      1. 4.1.1
        SS

        So well said.  It can be terrifying.

  5. 5
    Noquay

    First off, ISIS doesn’t need the OP to figure out a bioterror weapon. Look this stuff up on line. However, most folk do not have sufficient science background to understand her description of her work. I avoid specifics such as workplace, that I don’t live in the town listed in the profile per se, or any other descriptive info that could allow someone to suss out where I live. By necessity, my dating pool is well outside my area. However, I am quite noticeable in this small town so all a dedicated stalker would need to do is ask a local; which actually did happen, hence the really good awareness skills and large protective dog. There is Google maps and the number of mixed race female PhDs here is exactly one. What I do try and get across is who I am; not a skier like most in this state, but a serious athlete nonetheless, that I’m well read, very educated, artistic, kind, giving, and self reliant. I want to attract peers while nicely discouraging the incompatible without resorting to a list of “must haves”.

  6. 6
    Helene

    I agree that detail is good – “show don’t tell” – however I’m not sure that mentioning viruses in any shape or form is the best bit of detail to include – it is not a word with positive connotations! You will forever more be “virus girl” in his mind…. For women, I’m not sure that discussing what you do for a living has any place in a 200 word profile anyway, given that men don’t really care what your line of work is – they’re not going to decide to contact you or not based on your job, so why not use your 200 words to better effrct?

  7. 7
    Yijun

    I’m the OP. Just letting you guys know I have a boyfriend now. His pick-up line was “Are you looking for a safe vector to be transfected in your life?” So brilliant. I just had to respond.

    1. 7.1
      Yijun

      What I wanted to say was I’m so glad I ignored that jackass and followed what Evan said in the FTOO package. If I took that virus part away, my boyfriend wouldn’t have come up with such a brilliant pick up line and we might never have met. To think I would’ve ruined my chances just because of some idiot’s “advice”.

      1. 7.1.1
        GoWiththeFlow

        Yijun,

        Congratulations and thank you for letting up know.  I often wonder what the LWs wind up doing.  Glad you followed through on Evan’s advice and it worked out in the end.

      2. 7.1.2
        Nissa

        Awww that’s cute.

    2. 7.2
      Katie

      This is adorable <3

    3. 7.3
      Jeremy

      At least he didn’t say that he wished he was helicase, so he could unzip your genes.  Nerd humor…

      1. 7.3.1
        Katie

        You must be differentiation because most guys are all the same.

        1. Jeremy

          I got lots of degrees, baby.  99.5 of them.  Does that make me hot?

           

          Ok, sorry, done now.

    4. 7.4
      Sum Guy

      Yijun

      So glad for you and exactly!

      that weird/unusual bit of us we put out there…makes the best connection and can separate the wheat from the chaff

       

      your story is kind of like mine, except she reached out to me on an  esoteric to most topic in my profile

  8. 8
    Willowandy

    I see you have written about meeting somebody, so this is mainly directed to other readers – for my part: Don’t cut down on detail. When using dating websites, I’d focus on the ones who wrote more. I find it refreshing as not that many did. You can basically indicate you have a brain on board, you are willing to put in effort and have an attention span :).

    (Beware that there is a higher probability of people identifying you if you are that specific about your job.)

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