The process of finding love online is rather exciting—from entering your criteria, to combing through results, to pressing send on an introductory email to a prospective date. However, the process of finding people who you’d actually like to meet in person can be a bit taxing. Just as if you were meeting a stranger at a bar or in a coffee shop, there are plenty of weirdos trolling even the most selective dating sites.
In order to help you suss out the studs from the duds, here are some of the key details that show a potential mate might be bad news. (And if after reading these warning signs your own profile seems a little lackluster, you may want to take our advice yourself.)
Before even clicking on someone’s profile, take a moment to analyze his or her tagline. Phrases like “I hate these things” or “This is so hard” just show that the person is too lazy to put effort into his or her profile. Sure, this task isn’t easy for people who aren’t writers or who simply freeze at the idea selling of themselves in five words or less. But those who can’t come up with something cute or witty for their tagline also probably don’t have friends whom they can ask for help. Just saying.
Any of the following is simply ridiculous: Men posing with their cars, women posing with their cats, men showing their abs, women in lingerie and either sex doing the hand-held, I-took-this-photo-myself snapshot. A picture can be worth a thousand words, as the saying goes, so when you’re looking for someone you might want to spend the rest of your life with, you don’t want any of those words to be douchebag, crazy, narcissist or slut.
People often post a number of photos on their profiles, showing various amounts of skin and body, in order to put their best selves on display. Just know, however, that many lie about their height, weight and age on their profiles. Men typically say they are two inches taller than they are (if they report to be under six feet). Women typically lose 10 pounds to make themselves seem more svelte than they are in the flesh. And we’ve heard of both women and men reporting that they are younger than they really are. Take a person’s photos and reported characteristics into account and ask them to send a recent snapshot if you really want an honest picture of them before you meet. While you can argue that a slew of rejections can cause a guy or gal to want to lie about how they actually look, anyone unwilling to show you who they really are obviously has something to hide—and anyone who feels the need to lie on their profile in the first place is clearly insecure.
Check to see how frequently the person you have your eye on logs in. Sure, it may sound stereotypical, but a guy who checks profiles every hour is most likely a player, and a woman who does so is probably desperate. That’s kinda just the way it is.
This is a place where you need to pay attention to detail, because these are the only details you have of a person before you choose to send him or her a message.
Like the tagline, the bio portion of the profile is meant to entice you, as well as give you a sense of how much effort someone is willing to put into his or her page. We’re not the grammar police, but misspellings, tangents and just sloppy writing in general give off an aura of not really caring. Which is not really the type of person you’d want to be dating.
Likes and Dislikes
Of course, the point of scrolling through people’s profiles is to find out if you are compatible with that person and his or her likes and dislikes, so that you might find a good match. This section of the profile is a place where people might try to be funny, but sometimes these details sound a bit forced. Beware of stereotypical interests, like the overused “I love long walks on the beach.” Pretty much everyone likes long walks on the beach, okay? You want to find someone with substance, not just anyone who can set up a dating profile. Also, as much as we might hope for that “perfect” partner, most women don’t “love making a man snacks while he watches football” and most men aren’t apt to “hold my lady’s bags when she goes shopping.”
BigRedFlags.com was founded in 2009 by Los Angeles-dwelling twentysomethings Natasha Burton, Meagan McCrary and Julie Fishman, and allows women and men to share their craziest dating horror stories. After collecting these anecdotes for over two years—which include their own red-flag tales—the three wrote The Little Black Book of Big Red Flags: Relationship Warning Signs You Totally Spotted … But Chose to Ignore (Adams Media, June 2011), a love-life advice guide that features outrageous stories from their blog, along with blunt advice for solving similar situations in your relationships.