29 March 2013

On Red Flags in Profiles -- Part V

[Here continues the RED FLAGS post as the fifth part]

#28: "I need someone that doesn't need me to let them take the lead."

Notes: This tends to occur more often on female profiles in the form of ""I need a man that doesn't need me to let him be the man" but can pop up on male ones as well.

Why it's a RED FLAG: It can easily be interpreted as a sign that they want someone who's domineering, which in turn can be taken to unhealthy or inappropriate extremes.

Resolution: A better way of saying this would be "I prefer someone who is assertive."

#29: Looking for casual sex 

Notes: In today's age, most people assume that with a relationship comes a reasonable expectation of sexual availability. Among younger people, casual hookups are not uncommon and are sometimes seen as an acceptable way to spend time with someone. We note that we do not have a problem with casual sex per se, but rather that noting openness to casual sex when one really wants a relationship is often problematic.

Why it's a RED FLAG: It often strongly suggests that the profile owner may not truly be interested in a long-term relationship and would prefer to just see people for his or her own sexual pleasure. This may also indicate a general selfishness or consent to using people to obtain sexual gratification.

Situations where it's NOT a RED FLAG: If the profile is clearly on a sex-personals or other adult/erotic/fetish social site.

Resolution: To start, it would pay to re-evaluate what one exactly is looking for on a dating site. If one's more interested in hookups, moving to sites that tend to cater towards sex personals would probably make more sense. If on the other hand one would rather have a relationship, it's probably best to remove the notation and anything that might hint at casual sexual availability.

#30: Misleading and/or dishonest pictures 

Notes: Ostensibly, the purpose of having pictures on one's profile is to provide the array of prospective dates with a decent idea of what one looks like. Thus this flag would deal with shots that don't depict the user accurately and within a reasonably-recent timeframe.

Examples: Extreme close-ups of body parts, tattoos, piercings, etc.; "angle-shots"; pictures that don't show the user at all such as pets, cars, and artwork; blurred images of the user; childhood or obviously-outdated pics of the user; bad cropping or blurring of other people; using driver's licence, passport, or ID photos

Why it's a RED FLAG: Often, this strongly implies that the user has something  unpleasant to hide and would rather "redirect" to images they think are more flattering. An example of this would be the "angle-shots" often used by overweight or obese persons. Images that don't depict the user at all or are outdated may be difficult or impossible to verify that it is the user and thus may be indicative of fake or scam profiles.

Resolution: We know many people are going to cringe, but we're recommending it anyway: be upfront in the pictures. If you've had decent photos taken at a very recent event (like a family wedding or get-together), you might want to consider using those. If not, it might be beneficial to have a few professionally-taken photos done. Perhaps the photographer may be able to recommend specific poses and/or attire to help you look decent. Why do this? It's worth noting that many people will look at the worst picture you post and assume that's what you "REALLY" look like. It pays to look your best.

#31: Saying that one's "looking for a little excitement in their life" 

Why it's a RED FLAG: At the very least, it projects that one is easily-bored and that any date must take great pains to play "personal entertainment director" on top of "lover and partner." It may also project the following: likelihood for infidelity, unusually-high romantic/sexual standards, and/or exotic (and usually expensive) tastes.

Resolution: Most people don't want to be bored all of the time, so one can figure that to a good extent this is a given. This reason by itself is enough for Chewie and I to advise its removal.

#32: Going on about how fat, ugly, imperfect, etc. they are

Why it's a SERIOUS RED FLAG: Often a blatant admission of low-self esteem. They may have other serious mental issues that may or may not manifest right away.

Situations when it's NOT (necessarily) a RED FLAG: When it's used sparingly AND obvious by way of context clues that it's merely a bit of self-deprecating humour

Resolution: Nobody's perfect, and most people know this. If the bit of self-deprecating humour isn't your style, drop it.

#33: Snobbery in the profile

Notes: It's one thing to casually joke that one's a beer snob, connoisseur of wines, or cigar aficionado. It's another to outwardly come across as being, well, a snob.

Why it's a RED FLAG: Indicates a negative tone, and often suggests condescension, a "very picky" attitude and expensive tastes--all of which tend to be turn-offs to a lot of people.

Resolution: If this sounds like you, a refresh (or perhaps an entire rewrite) of your profile might be in order.

#34: "If it sounds too good to be true…" 

Why it's a RED FLAG: "…it almost always is." More to the point though, a lot of these profiles tend to be either romance scammers or "plant" profiles put by the dating site or an affiliate to stir things up. In short, that user likely isn't who they say they are.

Resolution: If this sounds like you, keep in mind that you may need to put forth effort or reword your profile in such a way that it's plausible to most people. Have a friend or two look at your draft text and pay attention to what they may suggest in terms of positive and negative feedback.

Go back to Part IV

Go to Part VI

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