Dislikes and Dealbreakers

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Imagine an online profile that went something like this:

“I’m not like the others. I don’t like chick flicks or horror films. I also don’t like science fiction, action or adventure. I can’t stand Thai food, and pizza is the worst of all. I’m not interested in hiking or any sort of athletic activity; frisbee is probably the most pointless game ever. If you’re looking for someone with whom to make spontaneous plans, I’m not your person. Oh, and if you’re looking for fun, you might as well skip this profile right now. Message me if you’ve got the nerve!”

Sounds silly, right? Not to mention completely negative. You can almost imagine the dour expression of the author as they flatly list off everything they can’t stand. Plus, we still don’t know much about the author other than their negative attitude; we know what they don’t like, but nothing about what they do. But in reality, no one would ever write a profile like this - right?

Well, maybe not exactly, but it’s actually not uncommon to come across profiles that spend more time talking about who they’re not and what they’re not looking for than any concrete, positive details about themselves. You might have seen something like this:

“I’m not looking for drama - in fact, I hate playing games. If you’re someone high-maintenance who demands to know my every move, you’re probably not for me. I’m not a big partier, and I think most clubs are a waste of time. If you’re a member of another religion or political party, thanks but no thanks. Not interested in people who don’t have a sense of humor or can’t understand sarcasm. It may sound blunt, but I tell it like it is. Message me if you think you can handle it.”

Again, the example is a little extreme when taken as a whole, but the individual statements pop up all the time. Just like the first example, the statements bring down the tone of the profile, making it feel negative, and they still fail to state anything much about the author (other than a red flag).

Those individual statements can sound innocuous when surrounded by interesting, positive material, so they have a tendency to creep in without our realizing them. As such, one statement can probably be overlooked (unless it’s your own profile, in which case you might want to reword if possible). However, more negative statements like these should indeed be a red flag; if nothing else, they might be indicative of a generally negative outlook.

So as you glance over your own profile as well as those of others, think critically about what the profile is really saying. Does the profile tell you about the author and draw you in? Or do you have a better idea of what their dislikes and dealbreakers are?