Just a Little Homework

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When we sign up for an online dating site, we’re tasked with the challenge of making ourselves appear unique. Of course, we are unique - every person is. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t very similar to someone else, or even lots of someones.

It makes sense; you grew up with the same pop culture influences as other people in your demographic. Maybe you grew up in the same area as well. You’re going to be inclined to make the same references and jokes and have similar taste in TV and movies. And when it comes to finding a match, that’s an asset - the ability to relate, to draw from common experiences. Still, it can be disconcerting when you want to stand out from the pack.

Remember that online dating isn’t a competition; ultimately you’re looking for someone compatible, not the largest number of responses or emails or first dates. So the other profiles aren’t your “competition” in the strictest sense of the word. Still, you don’t want to be completely generic, or worse, a cliche.

Thus, the key is to peruse the profiles of the “competition” before even settling down to write your own, on the site you choose to utilize. Even if a profile has worked for you in the past, or on another site, you might be shocked to find that your responses to these particular questions, on this particular site, are exactly the same as countless others.

For example, on one popular site, many people cite “air” or “oxygen” as something they “can’t live without.” It’s mildly cute and funny the first time you read it; it might signify a dry sense of humor, a wry way of looking at the world and dating in general. After the tenth time, though, it’s lost its charm. After a few dozen more, it’s essentially a space-waster, doing nothing to set the author apart and potentially making them appear lazy, unoriginal or cliche.

You don’t really have to make your profile unique; in fact, acknowledging you’re not a special snowflake might be healthier and more appealing in the long run. But taking the time to keep yourself from becoming a cliche is something that takes minimal energy and could help you avoid downright negative connotations. What might actually make you stand out from the pack is nothing more - or less - than a little homework.