It’s a tricky one. What’s in a name?
When it comes to online dating, the answer is a lot. According to Jim Safka, CEO of Match.com, you have to think in terms of advertising:
“Make your headline a grabber. Think of all the great advertising slogans you’ve ever heard. They’re imprinted in people’s minds. You want to do the same thing with your profile.”
You can read more of his tips here.
Your username is the first thing someone will read. So it is the most important to place to (a) sell yourself and (b) be yourself. What makes you you?
A name is a good place to start but for the sake of online security, don’t use your full name. A first name is enough. Or perhaps half of your surname. Your name’s Ryan Gosling? Try RyanGos.
If you want to put a bit more of yourself into it (and this applies particularly if you have a tagline to think about. This video clip has some amusing ones to avoid), think about what you do in a normal day. One random habit (nothing gross here people) or a funny fact can do the trick.
E.g. RyanGos: I like to ride motorbikes fast and be filmed doing it.
Of course, you can read euphemisms into everything but there comes a point where you just have to bite the bullet and write something down. The more you agonise over it, the worse it’s going to get.
The crucial point is to be yourself. Again, what makes you you? If you’re finding it hard to pin down that clinching fact, ask a family friend. Don’t tell them you are online dating. That way you will get a more honest reaction (and avoid awkward questions if you feel that is how they might react).
Also think about the kind of person you want to meet and what you want to get out of the relationship. Casual sex? Go for something a little more suggestive. Safer people will look at profiles with safer names.
The strange thing about online dating is that the vast majority are striving to look normal. That is why the only way to stand out from the crowd is to be yourself. You are unique. The more you use cliché’s, the more you will be passed over. A cliché melts into the background.
So that means: no candlelit dinners, walks along the beach, ‘I like all sports’ (you can’t like all sports, lawn bowls? tiddlywinks? Say which you do really like), shopping (generic), eating out (generic). Here, care of the Huffington Post, are some other ones to avoid.
Better to say: I love eating Persian food especially in West London. To work it off I like to go running up and down my street and play the occasional bit of football. I always buy coffee from Pret because it seems like it’s more ethical than Starbucks (probably misguided) and when I go to the beach, I like to make sand angels.
Get the idea? Be specific.
In terms of names this also means that HotGuy444 or NiceGirl isn’t really going to cut it. You could be anyone with that name. If you’re in online dating to find a relationship, however casual it may be, people want it to be with a person, not an automaton or a computer profile. Remember you do have to meet this person sooner or later.
There are a lot of don’ts out there but to help you on your way Our Graham found this gem of a list from Glamour.com’s dating blogger, Gena Kaufman. It picks out all those words that are best avoided in your username.
Gena says to avoid ‘xxx’s, meaningless numbers (or meaningful ones if it’s the number 69), anything like ‘sex’, ‘dirty’, ‘hot’, or equally ‘death’ and ‘rage’. It’s a good list and you can read the full post here.
Here’s a short list of other bits and pieces to bear in mind:
- Put a nice, clear, and preferably happy looking, picture of yourself up. We have had readers in the past write in worrying that couldn’t see someone clearly. Don’t let that be you!
- Be truthful always. You will only end up getting caught out. Especially when you have to meet up in person.
- Respond to all your mail even if it’s negative. It means that you won’t get pestered and that you are being clear and honest with people. Imagine if it was you sitting on the computer forever waiting for that hotty to e-mail you back.
- Think carefully about which dating site you are signing up to. There are a lot out there and they are all different. We have reviewed a few here.
- Remember there are a lot of people out there (15 million on Match.com alone!) and the likelihood is, there’s someone out there for you. You might not find them straight away but you won’t know unless you try.