#7: Saying "I've had my heart broken before"
Why it's a RED FLAG: For both genders, the message is generally clear (though the paths are a bit different): they've made very poor dating/relationship decisions.
Against Guys: This is a clue that the guy may be needy, clingy, and/or desperate. He's been burned by a woman before and is likely still bitter about it.
Against Girls: This suggests the notion that she's been used for sex (e.g. as a "pump-and-dump") and/or that she has poor tastes in deciding which men to date and have sex with.
Resolution: Don't say it. Sure, the statement at face-value suggests getting burned--but everyone has. Most people have fallen for someone by the time they turn 25, and they have stories of heartbreaks. By putting something like "I've had my heart broken before," you're effectively advertising your poor skills at choosing partners and/or that your standards are very low.
#8: Having a 'Laundry List' of desired traits
Why it's a RED FLAG: Having a long list of things that the "right one" must have only paints the user off as being extremely and unnecessarily picky. Most people are going to read the list of 467 things, realise they don't meet most of them and move on.
Situations when it's NOT (necessarily) a RED FLAG: If the list is set as "mail settings" or "filters" set through the site's privacy controls.
Resolution: It's one thing to have reasonable standards and things that are "deal-breakers." One should ideally keep the latter to the 2-4 things that they could never ever compromise on (e.g. not wanting to date single parents). The rest should go from the profile.
#9: Stating "I'm looking for a guy that knows how to treat a girl right"
Notes: This one is another "female-centric" RED FLAG
Why it's a RED FLAG: It is often taken to mean "I want him to spend lots of money on me by taking me to exotic places and buying me expensive things." Thus it's often read as "I want someone who's filthy rich."
Resolution: Be honest about the intent. If its intent is to convey "treat me with respect and don't use me as a toy," then she should better phrase this sentiment along those lines. If however it's to mean "I want someone wealthy; average Joes need not apply" then she should perhaps stick with dating websites that are geared towards finding wealthy matches.
#10: First Date ideas include professional sports games or known expensive/fancy/upscale/exotic locales
Why it's a RED FLAG: This one's a thinly-veiled admission that they want "the finer things in life" and "nothing but the best will do." Many people will invariably read it as if you're saying "if you don't have a lot of money and are willing to spend it all on me, go away" and treat the user as a "greedy gold-digger."
Situations where it's NOT (necessarily) a RED FLAG: if one's on a site for wealthy singles, then this may or may not be more of a norm.
Resolution: Unless one's on a wealthy-dating site, remove it. It's an easy way to scare people away from your profile, and frankly most people aren't going to want to spend a lot of money on a first date unless the bond's guaranteed to last.
#11: Saying "I'm nice/sweet/caring/loveable"
Why it's a RED FLAG: This one is one of those things that's presumed until proven otherwise. If someone needs to say that they're nice/sweet/caring/loveable, people tend to get suspicious and think "this person really isn't, and they're probably lying to themselves on top of it."
Resolution: As something like this is usually presumed, it's best to drop it and replace with other positive attributes about oneself.
#12: Excessive self-deprecation in profiles
Notes: It's one thing for many people to crack a joke or quip at their expense every now and then, and many will put a snippet or two on their profiles as part of their personal style. But if a user's profile reads a lot like a suicide note or somehow paints themselves as worthless or horrible then there's a loud alarm that should be raised.
Why it's a RED FLAG: This often denotes strong or severe mental instability, or some sort of major interpersonal trauma or depression, and/or a history of mental illness.
Resolution: If it's sarcastic, resulting from dysthymia, or "playing the ever-aloof alpha," then one should seriously consider toning the rhetoric down a couple of notches. If there are serious mental issues, it might be best to rethink whether it's a good idea to be on an online-dating site, and/or keep in contact with one's medical provider.
#13: Has children (or if female, also noting she is pregnant)
Why it's a RED FLAG: A lot of people are uncomfortable or unwilling to raise children that they know aren't their own and haven't entered into some sort of foster-care arrangement. Many people would like to be intimate with their partners and have a family through them; they want to raise their own biological offspring.
Situations when it's NOT a RED FLAG: Sites and personals that cater to or specialise in single parents or older individuals (30s/40s/50s) who likely have minor children; older individuals who note their children are adults and thus at college or already on their own.
Resolution: There's not a lot that can be done, but one should still be honest about it. Further, one should realise that having children (or being pregnant) effectively cuts out a good portion of their dating pool.
Go back to Part I
Go to Part III