How Do You Overlook Bad Online Profiles?


Hi Evan,

As a result of reading Finding the One Online and following your advice blog I’ve become a much more savvy online dater. I have an engaging profile, attractive current pics and a positive attitude. But, the more skilled I’ve gotten at playing the online dating game the more frustrated I’ve become with the shoddy profiles that men post. I’ve changed but men haven’t. I’m still dealing with the same short, shallow, generic profiles and blurry, taken-in-the-bathroom photos. But now I have far less patience for these than I used to. I try to give guys the benefit of the doubt. I remind myself that these men haven’t had the benefit of coaching and are doing the best they know how. But, I still find myself incredibly frustrated and far more critical and dismissive. I don’t expect men to change, so how can I adjust my attitude so that I can be a more effective online dater?


Dear Cassie,

Ah, the curse of knowing too much, being too smart, and placing ahead of the curve.

Nope, can’t say I’m familiar with it – but some dead Greek guy once observed that “an unexamined life is not worth living”.

If this is the case, you can surely kill off most everyone on

…by letting your perception of these men dictate your feelings about online dating, you’re the one who loses.

The thing to remember is that perception is not reality, and by letting your perception of these men dictate your feelings about online dating, you’re the one who loses.

So let’s reframe:

A few months ago, a bright, creative, well-intentioned woman — let’s call her “Cassie” — has just about had it with online dating.

Her best dating prospect disappeared into thin air, and the only two emails she’s gotten this week came from fat men 25 years older who live two states away.

Yep, Cassie’s hit bottom, and she knows that SOMETHING has to change. And if she is, in fact, the main attraction in Loserville, there has to be something she can do to change her ZIP code to a more desirable, upscale location.

She goes back to this blog she’s been reading for a few years — some pretentious, know-it-all-guy with three names –   and while he seems to know what he’s talking about, she’s always resisted paying for his advice.

Why buy the cow when you get the milk for free?

…the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

But Cassie is bright. She knows that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. To continue on this online dating path the same way would be the height of insanity.

She finally breaks down and invests in this blogger’s program, Finding the One Online (a handsome 7 CD set, 180 page transcript, and 35 page workbook!).

It’s delivered to her within 3-5 business days, she downloads it on her iPod and listens to it in the car. And, much to her surprise, the material is really interesting — and much more thorough than anything he’s ever discussed on his blog.

Soon, Cassie has revamped her generic old profile, swapped out her photos for some active, smiling, updated pics, and has a much more proactive positive attitude about the whole endeavor. And, sure enough, men are paying attention.

The only problem is that she still feels like the mayor of Loserville.

She knows it’s irrational to feel this way — since, clearly, these men haven’t had any coaching. But she can’t help herself. The webcam photos, the “work hard/play hard” guys, the ones who cut and paste form letters with their phone numbers… it’s all too much. “How can I be less critical and dismissive?” she wonders aloud.

Here’s what you’re missing, Cassie.

3 months ago, YOU were the average woman… You’re living proof that amazing people can be really average-to-poor online daters.

You had old pictures.

You had a generic profile, filled with adjectives.

3 months ago, YOU were the average woman.

You had a bland way of emailing men.

You had a distorted perception of how online dating really worked.

Now imagine a guy like me sees your old pictures and generic profile…

Should I get angry that you haven’t marketed yourself better?

Should I dismiss you because you didn’t have anything original to say?

Should I get frustrated that my online dating “skill set” is superior to yours?

I think the answer is always “no”. Because you’re living proof that amazing people can be really average-to-poor online daters. And if you’d want a smart and savvy guy to give you a shot three months ago, it’s probably in your best interests to be a little more generous to the have-nots of

It’s a truism that I bring up all the time with private clients when they ask me for coaching, but think that the big problem is EVERYBODY ELSE.

I’ll say something like, “I totally get why you’re frustrated. All your observations about men and online dating are 100% true. But you know who’s going to be the same after 12 weeks of coaching? Men. So if men are the only problem here, we’re screwed. Literally the ONLY things we can change are how you’re approaching and understanding men, dating, and relationships. We can’t change men.”

Literally the ONLY things we can change are how you’re approaching and understanding men, dating, and relationships. We can’t change men.

Most of my clients get it very quickly.

So, I’ll completely defend you, Cassie, when you observe that 85% of men’s profiles are subpar. But I would also point out to you that, before you did Finding the One Online, yours was probably pretty average, too.

I can tell you that my wife’s profile was pretty average, too. She has a great personality, but isn’t really much of a writer. Nor did she quite understand why adjectives are such a bad idea for a profile.

From all I’ve observed after 10 years in the online dating business, I can tell you for certain that:

The best profiles are not necessarily indicative of the best people. They’re just the best writers/marketers who understand how to stand out and differentiate themselves. Is there a correlation between a great profile and a smart guy? Yes. But don’t assume that men who don’t have great profiles aren’t smart. It’s simply not true.

Similarly, there are millions of men who have short, generic profiles simply because they filled it out in five minutes and wouldn’t know what to do without considerable coaching.

They are not bad men. Or stupid men. Or uninterested-in-relationships men.

They’re just men, who are struggling, like you, to find an attractive person who ALSO has a measure of substance.

So please don’t get upset, Cassie, that collectively, men have a huge blind spot when it comes to online dating. Make the best of the situation by taking a chance on some of these average guys — and staying detached from the outcome.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

But if you quit — after all you’ve learned — I guarantee you that your Finding the One Online skills will not pay off.

Who knows, your future spouse might be the average guy you’re passing up right now…

To learn more about Finding the One Online, please click here:

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  1. 43

    I don’t think you got my meaning. I only meant it as a time- and energy-saving tool, not a marketing one. And only jokingly, of course. 🙂
    Finding a mate is similar to interviewing for jobs in this regard – oftentimes once you find out the terms, they turn out to have been not even worth writing a resume for, but to be eventually successful, you do have to go all out every time nonetheless.

  2. 44

    Some of the loveliest men who I respect and whose company I really enjoy, cannot spell, have terrible grammer (written), seemed quite bland when I first met them and weren’t even that well presented when I first saw them.(visually).

    And yet, getting to know them I found they are amazing guys.(These were men I met online, though not through dating websites)

    Try not to over-analyze every little thing.

  3. 45


    Although your idea is tongue-in-cheek, I’ve often thought someone should start a dating site for Nigerian and Russian scammers. 😉

  4. 46

    Star, I am not sure who those people are. What exactly is the scam? I mean, I received a few e-mails in the past (not through any dating site, just spam) from exiled Nigerian princes or something of the sort, but I am unfamiliar with scamming on the dating sites.

  5. 47

    Well they often go to one of those stock photo websites to put on their profile and the poor grammar or syntax usually gives them away.   No doubt, as we have seen in this particular discussion thread, there are plenty of bad writers out there but the trained eye can tell.   There’s usually some kind of UK/Africa connection too.   All I can tell you is when you see enough of them, then the flags start to jump out at you.

  6. 48

    Speaking of red flags in profiles, I got an e-mail on Match this evening and it had several things that bothered me.   Not the normal grammar/syntax errors that normally jump out at me but some other things I found troublesome:

    This particular gentleman is extremely attractive, athletic, and marked income as $150K plus a year.   This in and of itself is not a problem.   The problem is that he took an interest in me.   Do I have a self-esteem issue?   No.   But I’m 41, a plus-size woman, and a mother of three.   Such men are not interested in someone like me. They pursue the younger hotter women because they can.

    Second, he says on his profile he is a widower, yet marks that his children sometimes live at home.   Really?   And where are the the rest of the time?

    Third, marks hair color as dark blonde.   The person in the pics is very clearly not dark blonde.

    I might be very cynical, but I don’t think so.   I responded to the e-mail but just laid my cards right on the table.   This profile just does not add up for me.

  7. 49

    If people on dating sites have been known to lie about things like height, body shape, even marital status, why wouldn’t they lie about income? I can see people fibbing upward  about how much they make to seem more financially successful, or possibly even downward in the hopes of avoiding golddiggers.   It kinda surprises me that this “information” would be included as part of fact sheet on someone.

    Has anyone dated a person online factoring in the income they stated, only to find they were …mmm…exaggerating quite a bit?

  8. 50

    The sites I use don’t ask for specific income information, but this one guy I remember tried to make an impression in our phone conversations of being this big-time entrepreneur… and then arrived on the date in a crappy car. I mean, normally I wouldn’t have even paid much attention to the car (most of the time I would not be able to say after a date what make and model car the man was driving), in that case it was just so incongruous   with everything he was purporting to be. And I suppose after all the self-aggrandizing I unconsciously expected at least a Lexus or something.

  9. 51

    @ anette (#44): Oh, the irony of calling people out on their spelling…

    Everyone else: you do realize that with the incorporation of the Yahoo Personals crew, the Russian scammers have now been integrated into Match?

  10. 52

    @ JuJu (#50): There’s nothing that says a successful businessman (successful anything, really) has to drive a Lexus.

  11. 53

    I still don’t understand how this scamming works. Do you mean to say that these individuals ask for money and people actually give it to them? For one thing, why would you even read some stranger’s story of woes?

  12. 54


    Which is precisely why you have to look carefully.   Spelling, in and of itself does not make a guy (or gal) less valuable as a human being or potential romantic partner.   However, there are patterns in the writing of the scammers that set of alarm bells and whistles.   Of course that’s not the only thing that gives them away.  

  13. 55

    Joe, I really did not devote any conscious thought to the guy’s success after our phone conversations. I wasn’t imagining to myself “gosh, I wonder how much money all this really translates into and what kind of lifestyle this guy has”. I just guess after all the big talk on his part I expected at least a nice car, not something so cheap-looking and low-quality.
    I am certainly not saying that anyone has to drive anything.

  14. 56

    To starthrower #68, good for you. It’s a fake profile. I get these emails and flirts way too often. It is veeeeery frustrating. It’s like they’re playing a game. I have sworn off of Match. I can’t help but wonder . . . do they really find people who fall for their feigned interest, and then move far enough along in the process to scam them?

  15. 57

    I meant #48.

  16. 58

    Which is why it seems odd to me dating sites would list income as a “criteria” with which to comparison shop for a date. Not only could someone lie about that easily, but it also doesn’t reflect assets or debt/to asset ratio.   A guy like the one JuJu went out with could actually have a fairly high income, but also high child support, high credit card debt, a business operating in the red, and a balloon payment on a loan  due that he may not be able to make.

    Looking at someone tells you if they have been honest about their height, or shape – doesn’t necessarily tell you anything at all about their net worth, or if they pay their bills on time.

  17. 59

    Selena, that particular guy was childless, never married. A few weeks ago, actually, it turned out that we have a friend in common (I looked through the list of her friends on Facebook and he was in it), and she confirmed that the guy is not as successful as he likes to present himself. She is familiar with his situation a lot better than I.
    One of the [two] sites I use asks for more general financial information, like if you own or rent, or whether you own a car. And you are free to just skip the entire section, it’s not required. I skip it because I don’t think it’s relevant. I also skip the one on sexual preferences since, if I answer honestly, it would only attract the wrong kind of attention.
    One other thing about that car “incident”: I don’t know if the guy read my reaction or what, but he seemed obviously embarrassed and said he is planning on buying another car. I’ve never been particularly materialistic, it would all have been a lot more okay with me if he never tried to make a false impression in the first place.   And btw, from some of the things he told me about his life, I could see the guy was pretty resourceful. Ultimately, though, I simply didn’t find him physically attractive in any case.

  18. 60

    JuJu, I haven’t been scammed, so I don’t know how it works.   Maybe they’re preying on lonley people, hoping they’ll fall in love with the scammer, then ask  to wire  $1500 to buy a plane ticket to visit?

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