Online Dating Clichés: Spots You Can See Before Seeing Anyone

3. May 2011

Being on dating sites is no longer the stigma-producer it used to be. Sometimes it’s just hard to find the time to go out and meet people in real life – to say nothing of having to wade through a lot of people you wouldn’t want, even if they were the last of their gender on the face of Earth.

So we go online, and we hope for the best,. As great as it would be to just go online, check out a few profiles, and suddenly meet Mr. or Ms. Right in a matter of moments, it barely works out like that.

You’re probably going to run into some people who honestly think things about themselves that aren’t true or who’ll tell you anything to get what they want. Let’s talk about a few of the warning signs you can avoid, because they’re nothing but obvious clichés:

Being Boring and Unoriginal

Anybody can string together a few words about themselves. The sad part is, not everybody can be bothered to be original with their “about me” blurbs. Some people are downright boring. Examples of things you can avoid (or be wary about when other people write them) are things like, “I’m a big nerd,” or “I’m really spontaneous.” Still, that’s better than the folks who just list out a bunch of adjectives that could describe almost anybody.

Consider this: “I love hanging out with my friends, going to bars, and doing stuff outside.” Okay, this described half of the world’s population in the most boring way possible. If this is how the person talks when they’re describing the subject they know better than anything else in the world, how are they going to talk to you in person?

Keep in mind, you’re one of the people involved in this. If you read over your profile blurbs and find they could describe anybody, you’re part of the problem – so stop: be original!

Not Being Specific in Their Profiles

People may want to see more than a piece of the picture.

Just as bad as being boring, is not being specific enough. A lot of people will simply list out things they like. How many profiles out there have thirty or forty bands under their favorite music, and a few dozen books in the relevant section… but then make absolutely no mention of why these are their favorites?

If you want to find someone who has it together, find someone who’s taken enough introspection time to figure out why they like what they like. “Because I just do” isn’t much of an answer; unless you’re six. If you don’t know why you like something in the first place, maybe you just “like” it because it’s popular. Again, that’s pretty lame.

Just like you need to be on guard against the kind of person who goes with the herd and has no conviction behind opinions, you need to avoid grazing with the cattle yourself – unless you want to read articles on the Internet making fun of you on principle.

Sending Insanely Short First Messages

Short messages and sexy pics, will lead to lousy responses (Sarah!)

Kann mit dem Bild auch sicher nichts schiefgehen wegen Rechten etc??wäre besser ein neutraleres zu nehmen m.E.

“Hi how r u?” is an all-too-common message in the dating community. Think about that for a moment, and how writing a real message instantly sets you apart from all of the people who can’t be bothered. What does a message like that really say?

First, it says the person didn’t read your profile, and they’re just interested in your looks. You can tell because they couldn’t think of anything custom to say, even if your profile dropped more hints than a Sherlock Holmes mystery. You can imagine having a conversation with this person – they’ll smile and nod a lot, or blurt out something like, “you’re cute when your mouth moves.”

The second thing it says about the person is that they’re not even that interested. They probably shot-gunned the exact same message (possibly just copying and pasting) to a hundred other people. Don’t you feel special?

If you do this yourself, you deserve to get ignored. If you don’t care enough to send a real paragraph to engage the other person, you’re probably a boring date.

Sending Ridiculously Long Initial Messages

How long does your first message to somebody need to be, anyway? If you’re a guy who practices pickup artistry in the bars, you know about building value, and how you should do 90% of the talking for the first ten to fifteen minutes (and barely even listen to the women’s responses). But this isn’t a bar, and the dating site visitors aren’t drunk. At least not all the time.

When you first contact another member, the likelihood is about 50% that they’ll even write back. Why waste the amount of time necessary to craft a really good message (as you should do anyway), then stretch it out, when you might just be throwing it into the void? Focus on saying something interesting, but keep it to a paragraph or two at the most.

Notice how the sections of this article are written out, all short and clear? That’s how people like to read things – not in huge blocks. If you find someone attractive, chances are a lot of other people do, too – and reading a bunch of novels is more than most people can handle.

If you happen to be on the receiving-end of a super long initial message, the good news is the person is probably really into you. The bad news is, that person might just be a blowhard who talks way too much.

Talking About How Difficult it is to Describe Themselves

Yes, it’s hard to describe yourself – if you have no verbal skills, if you’re lazy, or if you don’t know much about who you are. If you’re dealing with teenagers, this might be marginally acceptable. But, if you’re dealing with adults, you have to wonder why they would have such a hard time describing themselves – and then, why they make excuses about it.

You can tell somebody isn’t ready to date seriously when they make a lot of excuses, with a prime example being, “It’s so hard to describe myself.” An excuse-maker is basically a person who has created their own problems, saying that it was another entity’s fault. Who else could possibly be at fault for not knowing yourself very well?

If you find yourself making a comment in your profile about how hard it is to describe yourself, stop the sentence. Spend some time alone, figure out what you’re like (looking at your own belly button helps some people), and then write it down. Pretend you’re describing someone else, to someone you want them to meet, and it gets easier.

Limiting Themselves Physically

There are a lot of women’s profiles out there specifying that their man be at least a certain height, or that he be a particular race. While everyone has preferences, and you only need one mate, this can come back to bite a person.

For instance, can you imagine a man’s profile where he declares that he won’t date a woman above a certain weight or BMI? Nine out of ten women would drop any possibility of dating him the moment that little insight hit their retinas. He could be the handsomest, most (otherwise) intelligent and successful guy out there, but his chances with that on his profile would be reduced drastically.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a man or a woman – be open to other possibilities. You never know who might be really awesome until you try. And remember that every time somebody tries to limit their potential dates, they’re showing off a generally closed mind. How’s your mind?


There are a lot of things to watch out for in dating. But just like you guard yourself against other people’s nonsense, there are a lot of people out there whose defenses are up as high as yours. In time, you can let down your guard a little bit for the right people. But as the old saying goes, to have friends, be one.



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