We all do it. In fact, it’s necessary. Here’s how to do it well.
When we create a dating profile, we naturally manipulate others and the information they have about us.
It’s not only instinctual, it’s necessary.
In dating, people WANT to read the positive stuff. In fact, I’d suggest that dating sites have a positivity culture bordering on toxic.
And I think that’s a bunch of BS, and I choose to ignore that, and share not only positive things about me as well as some negative things (carefully chosen, well-written, and important for people to know).
Cherry-picking or card-stacking are popular techniques used in modern advertising and copywriting.
(Which, BTW, I suggest that you write your dating profile like an ad targeted to your ideal market.)
With these techniques, advertisers include only the facts that will make their product or candidate look buy-able or vote-able. Anything that might give a negative impression are left out.
You also see this technique used a lot in political advertisements. Political parties will often list the many ways their candidate is going to help you, but they’ll never list reasons why their candidate might not help you.
So, in dating profiles, we do the same.
And for good reason.
Literally NO ONE wants to know or is prepared to know all your negatives before they even meet you.
However, I think there is a balance.
In fact, I’ve tested profiles that had 100% positivity and profiles that nicely stated what I think are some of my faults/drawbacks/negatives, and the ones with the truthful and forthcoming not-so-good information were WAY more popular.
Now, this wasn’t really much of a scientific thing. Just something done for fun on my own. On Craigslist and OkCupid.
But the connections on the profiles that included some negatives were not only more numerous, but more meaningful.
Let’s take a look at a few examples:
“I’m 38-28-43, definitely curvy. Some might call me fat, even. I rock this body, and love my strength and the way I look in tight skirts. Anyone who responds to this should, too.”
“I run like an asthmatic sloth. Don’t ask me to race with you, but hiking in nature is always fun, and I can go for hours! So, if you’re looking for someone to run marathons with, I’m not your girl.”
“I never graduated from college. Or from high school, even. I have hitchhiked across the country, joined the carnival, started several businesses, and traveled the world. Academic, I’m not. Interesting? You tell me.”
There, now you know a bit more about me. smiles
And these are actual examples that I’ve pulled out of old dating profiles and ads (yes, I’m a nerd—I keep backups and records in triplicate back to 1999 of, well, everything).
The thing I’ve noticed is that when I do include “negative information,” people seem to relate to it. After all, no one is perfect, and so far, I’ve not met a single person in real life who has said that they are looking for someone perfect.
We just want someone whose flaws are compatible with US, and someone we can love for their flaws rather than in spite of them.
(Thanks to the person who brought up card-stacking in a comment on another writing, and introduced me to that idea and rabbit hole!)