Life Advice



Erika Ettin: The best writer isn't always the best catch ... and the best catch isn't always the best writer

Erika Ettin, Tribune News Service on

Published in Dating Advice

There’s nothing like a first impression — and in the online dating world, that means your photo and your bio. Admittedly, the photos are the first thing most people look at, but for the purposes of this article, let’s focus on the written part of a profile.

Talking about yourself isn’t just difficult, it’s also a delicate process where you try to highlight the seemingly attractive parts of your personality and most interesting hobbies with the goal of making you appealing to potential matches. The problem is there is no fact-checking when it comes to dating sites and apps. You could falsely state you’ve gone skydiving, snorkeled with sharks (who would do that?) or traveled to remote lands, and who is going to stop you?

But beyond the fibs and exaggerations, writing is a talent that not everyone has. The most interesting people in the world — or more importantly, a person who could be your perfect match — may not be the best at expressing their personality, interests and passions in an effective way on their dating profile.

Since I browse dating websites and apps for a living, I’ve seen the best of the best and the worst of the worst in self-written bios. (Don’t even get me started on the one-word answers to questions or the complete lack of “message bait.”) But many times someone paints a wonderful picture, working in humor as well as personality, only for you to click online and go on a date to find there’s no spark. Even if you’ve exchanged messages for weeks, with the conversation flowing and seemingly having a lot in common, you won’t really know if there’s potential for a relationship until you’ve met face-to-face.


Behind the profile is a real person ... and just because the person might not be a novelist doesn’t necessarily mean you should immediately swipe left or move onto the next person.

If you come across a profile that doesn’t give you a lot to work with yet something about the person is intriguing — maybe they live in the same neighborhood or mention a band you really enjoy — my advice would be to send a message and see what happens. Perhaps they’ll be engaging in a conversation (I think many would agree that it’s a lot easier to have a back-and-forth discussion rather than writing an essay about yourself) and eager to meet in person, where you can really get a feel for whether there is chemistry between you.

People are busy. People want to take an easy route. People have different talents, and sometimes writing isn’t one of them. While a well-written bio is definitely a good sign, because it means the person has put a good amount of thought and effort into the starting-off point of their dating life, talking about yourself is hard and not where a lot of lovely people will shine. Instead of losing hope right away, put in the extra effort of making the first step. You might be surprised at what you find.

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