This is step 3 of my patented 6-step series on How to OkCupid. This step focuses on creating your profile and match questions.
Step 1: Get Out There!
Step 2: Be Good-Looking!
Step 3: Be Interesting!
Step 4: Find Other Interesting, Good-Looking People
Step 5: Make Contact!
Step 6: Date!
STEP 3: BE INTERESTING!
So now that we’ve signed up for an account and selected good profile pics, it’s time to create our profile. If dating is like applying for a job (hint: it is), your profile is your resume. The difference is that while it might be ok to embellish a bit on your resume (*cough cough*), you want your profile (like your picture) to be as accurate as possible. You want to give as much information about yourself as you can without being boring. A good profile can allow someone to know more about you in 30 minutes than they can after 3 dates.
The primary effect of writing a good profile is that you’ll get fewer, but better, contacts. If people get an accurate picture of who you are, plenty of people are going to find something not to like, and they’re not going to message you. This is a good thing! It’s much better to figure that sort of thing out without committing the time and energy required to actually go out with someone. No bad date required. This way, the messages you get will be from people who might actually like you!
A good profile won’t guarantee that all of your dates will go well, but it should mean that your connections will be ideologically compatible with you. They still might be boring, smelly, or awkward, but they probably won’t hold many ideas that you find repugnant.
Some general tips:
- Show, don’t tell! If you want people to think you’re funny, don’t say “I’m funny!” Tell a joke. If you want people to think you’re smart, say something smart! Describing yourself is fine, but make you sure back up everything you’re saying.
- Make use of OkC’s formatting options and html tags. Paying attention to your profile’s formatting can make it a lot more readable.
- Stay positive! The last thing you want to do in your profile is complain.
- Proofread! Remember, this is your resume. Don’t have any mistakes.
- Click here. If you see anything you recognize, change it immediately.
OkCupid profiles are broken up into several sections. They’re all useful, but you can skip any section you want. None of them are critical on their own.
The first section is “details.” It asks for basic demographic information that’s pretty straightforward. A recent update has added the option to designate yourself “non-monogamous.” I heavily recommend that you make use of this designation.
Self summary. This is your first impression, so think about the first thing(s) you want people to know about you, and put it here. Make sure you include polyamory in this section!
What I’m doing with my life. This, obviously, is asking about your job. You should tell people what your job is. You can also include any hobbies that you consider a big part of your life.
I’m really good at. This is your chance to brag. A lot of people put jokes here, but I recommend you take this one at face value. Tell people your strengths. Tell people what’s impressive about you.
The first things people usually notice about me. This question is aspirational. The first thing people actually notice about you is probably something boring like your hair or your jacket. Instead, say what you wish was the first thing people notice about you.
Favorite books, movies, shows, music, and food. This section is pretty straightforward, but feel free to add your own categories. I list favorite video games, blogs, podcasts, and games. This is also a section where you should make use of formatting. Otherwise, it can just be unreadable walls of text
Six things I could never do without. Please don’t take this question literally. Just say what’s important to you. Listing oxygen isn’t funny. Also, you can list as many or as few things as you want.
I spend a lot of time thinking about. This is another place to list what matters to you, but this time, focus on intellectual topics.
On a typical Friday night, I am. This is another aspirational section. Really, what it’s asking is “where should we go on a date?”
The most private thing I’m willing to admit. This section is self-explanatory, but please come up with something. If you’re unwilling to reveal anything private, just skip it.
I’m looking for. These are just checkboxes. Make sure you answer honestly. The only exception is that if you’re looking for men, it’s ok to not list “casual sex” even if casual sex is something you’re looking for, because listing it gets you extra creepy messages.
You should message me if. This is where you describe your ideal match. You don’t want to be so specific that it sounds like you’re trying to box people in, but you should come up with a few qualities that you’re looking for in a person.
Match questions are, by far, the most important part of your profile. Match questions are what determine your match percentage with other users. Each question is multiple-choice. First, you say what your answer is. Then, you indicate which answers you find acceptable in a match. Pay attention! There’s nothing worse than seeing that someone’s marked your answer as unacceptable when they have the exact same answer!
The next step is to say how much each question matters to you. Your options are irrelevant, a little important, somewhat important, or very important. When your match percentage is calculated, the weighted value assigned to each question is determine by it’s importance level.
Irrelevent questions get a weight of 0.
A little important questions get a weight of 1.
Somewhat important questions get a weight of 10.
Very important questions get a weight of 50.
The key to your match percentage is the questions that you mark as “very important.” If you designate too many as very important, it will dilute your percentage so you can still have a high match with someone who’s answered wrong. The thing to do is come up with 2-4 areas that you need in a match and answer a lot of questions about those areas. For instance, it’s important to me that my matches are open to poly, skeptical, and egalitarian. So I find all of the questions I can that suggest anything on those three topics and mark them all “very important.” Now, when I have a high match percentage with someone, I can be pretty sure that they are poly, skeptical, and egalitarian. All less important questions I mark as “somewhat important” or “a little important.” They’ll still affect my match percentage, but only at the margins.
I recommend answering every question, even if it’s irrelevant to you. What you consider irrelevant might be of critical importance to someone else, and match questions are a great way to give people information without causing information overload. Also, each question gives you space to explain your answer, so make liberal use of this space.
UPDATE: a reader compiled a list of match questions that you should make sure that you’ve answered and marked very important:
- Someone in an open relationship asks you out on a date. You:
- Would you date someone who was already in a committed relationship with someone else?
- Would you consider having an open relationship (i.e., one where you can see other people)?
- Would you consider dating someone who is already involved in an open or polyamorous relationship?
- Are you poly or poly friendly?
- Do you believe that it is possible to experience romantic love for more than one person at a time without loving one less because of your love for the other?
- Would you ever consider an open marriage? That means you can sleep with other people.
- Would you consider having a relationship with someone who is married, but no longer has sex with their spouse?
- If you were in a serious relationship, would you mind if your significant other maintained an active profile on OkCupid?
- Have you ever had multiple romantic partners during the same time period?
- Is it okay for a married person to play around with someone with the permission of their spouse?
- Your significant other’s ex is coming into town and he/she wants to go out to dinner with them alone. How do you react?
- Would you get upset if your girlfriend/boyfriend flirted in front of you?
copyright 2014 by Wesley Fenza
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