The Neverending Quest: Perfection

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In online dating, it's really easy to get completely hung up on the small stuff. We've all experienced a poorly edited profile when searching a site; in fact, it often feels like more people allow their cat to wander around on their keyboard than construct an interesting, readable profile. Well, maybe that's because the people who write readable, interesting text become so obsessed with perfection that they never get their profile up to begin with.

In a most basic sense, it's approach anxiety. Some people aren't very good at approaching people they're interested in, and then they compound matters by viewing an online profile as an approach to everyone, all at the same time. They don't stop to reason that profiles are always easily changed and updated; they become obsessed with getting every detail just right before putting it out there. And for them, it's never just right.

While not everyone has that level of anxiety and obsessiveness about constructing the perfect profile, we still often give ourselves mental stumbling blocks. One of the biggest I've observed is our preoccupation with our weight.

“I'll take a picture of myself when I've lost ten pounds,” we think. “I don't want to use an old photo, so I'll just wait until I lose the weight.” I've even known people who have said, “I've lost weight, and I don't have any recent photos of it... but I'm not totally done... so I'll wait until then.”

Here's the thing: unless you're talking about a weight loss of 25 pounds or more, pictures of your face will be mostly the same. Will they be a touch rounder or thinner? Maybe, depending on your starting weight – a 250-lb man would have to gain or lose more to make a difference than a 120-lb woman. But chances are, the slight difference in the face is something noticeable only to you. You certainly won't be unrecognizable if you post a picture and subsequently lose ten pounds.

Also, the actual photo will be limited by the requirements of the site. They probably won't be able to see that tiny blemish or that rogue section of your bangs. What's important is that your photo is recent, shows you happy, and is as natural as possible.

Remember, it's impossible to have success in online dating if you never get started. Don't let a quest for perfection be your stumbling block.