Writing From the Inside Out

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Writing an online dating profile can be difficult, especially when it comes to self-esteem. You’re essentially convincing the reader why you’re a great person and a great catch; that can be a little difficult if you don’t always remember or believe that yourself. However, you can potentially help yourself (and maybe even your own search process) if you just think about your priorities a little differently.

Many people think about their own profile in the most superficial terms, and work inward from there. For example, first they’ll focus on getting the right default pic; then they’ll focus on their accomplishments, like their job or some hobby they’re proud of. Only after all that do they start to think of their “inner” self and how to communicate who they “really” are to others.

The problem with this is twofold. First, all the emphasis is on the superficial, and that’s where many start to feel self-conscious (their job isn’t good enough, they’re living with roommates, their hobbies aren’t exciting). When you’re not confident from the beginning, the writing process goes downhill from there.

Secondly, the writer is forgetting that the main goal of the profile is find someone with whom they connect. And by focusing on their inner self as an afterthought, the profile focuses on the wrong things. It’s great to share a common hobby, and it can be a great starting point, but it doesn’t tell you much about compatibility.

So, a better approach might be to start by thinking about what, emotionally, you’d bring to a relationship. Everyone brings something: nurturing and support? Calming, laid-back decisiveness? Good communication skills? A sense of humor that diffuses most tension?

Pretty much everyone has a strength of some sort, so once you’ve identified what yours is you’re already feeling more confident. And the thing is, there’s no “wrong” answer, especially if you’re being truthful. Different people connect in different ways, and play different roles in various relationships.

As you go about your own searches, it can be helpful to keep this same mindset. Yes, this person is talking about their job, but what are they really saying about themselves? Are you interested in this person because they’re attractive or because they seem kind - or has the latter actually influenced the former?

As usual, the only real way to determine compatibility is to meet in person. But viewing online profiles with a different perspective might just narrow the field of potential matches in a different - or even more efficient - way.