the dating résumé: a case study

In my foray into dating apps, I’ve noticed some troubling trends in people’s dating résumés or calling cards. On most platforms, at least the free phone apps, you only have a certain character limit (about the length of two tweets) to present yourself in the best possible light to a pool of potential suitors.

When done well, the successful calling card should showcase humor and personality and present some practical information, like what the person does for a living, how he spends his free time, and what he is looking for on said app.

When done poorly, such calling cards can have the unintended consequence of driving people away. I’m discussing some of the most common faux pas today and offering solutions on how to fix them.

*note: these dating faux pas are things I’ve noticed about men from my own casual experience. I can’t speak to the most common mistakes that women make since I haven’t undertaken that research project.

Sadly He Is Not Coming

Negativity: I see negative phrasing quite often, from “Not looking for anything serious. Been there, done that, already divorced,” to “no hook-ups. I’m not a piece of meat or another notch in your belt” (apparently men feel this way too?). Even if this person is on the same page as me, the negative phrasing is an immediate turnoff.

do this instead: state what you are looking for instead of what you’re hoping to avoid. Simply say ‘Looking… to meet new people/for Mrs. Right/something casual/for someone to do a couples Halloween costume with,’ to have a much greater chance of attracting the right people.

Reducing oneself to a number: This is also a super common one that is probably the most off-putting: when guys say things like “I’ve traveled to 47 countries, speak 4 languages, have 3 advanced degrees and own a car and a home.” Like, okay, I guess that’s impressive, but also I’m not really impressed. It’s tactless delivery, blatant boasting, and shows a lack of emotional intelligence. Don’t reduce yourself to a statistic. Women are more interested in interesting people than a checklist.

do this instead: Rather than rattling off statistics on the numbers of countries you’ve lived in or degrees you’ve acquired, paint a picture for us, even a small one. Say ‘Whether backpacking through Peru or picnicking on the banks of the Seine, I’m always looking for my next international destination.’ It instantly shows more personality and provides some context to those 47 trips abroad.

The missing question mark: It is also pretty bad when someone goes into detail about one of his interests or how he spent his weekend but doesn’t ask a question back. Later in the conversation, this can work because there’s more rapport to build from. Right off the bat, when people don’t ask a question back it feels unnatural to respond.

do this instead: Ask questions; show curiosity. End every message with a question, preferably an open-ended, that will move the conversation forward and give the recipient something to talk about.

I’m sure some of the men who are making these mistakes might actually be interesting, cool, or at least have some redeeming qualities, which is why I’m offering solutions to these common blunders. I’d be willing to bet they aren’t having much success with their current strategy, so here’s some free advice.


– la fille americaine


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