02 April 2013

On Red Flags in Profiles -- Part VI

[Here ends the RED FLAGS post with the sixth and final part]

#35: Pre-emptive "friend-zoning" 

Notes: A lot of people aren't just looking for sex, but want an actual relationship to go along with it; they want BOTH the healthy relationship and the satisfying sex-life. In addition, many people aren't, for a plethora of reasons, exactly trusting of other people and need reassurance that they're not simply being used. Then, there are some who take this overboard and, well, seem rather paranoid. This one is essentially #4 on steroids.

Example (taken from a profile of a Midwestern girl in her early 20s): "My only relationship so far was one that I had over the internet. It was very dramatic and really disappointed me. Also, I am still a virgin and I don't want to have sex with you. I have morals and that's just not how I'm handling myself now."

Why it's a RED FLAG: This strongly suggests one or both of two things: "RAGING INSECURITIES AHEAD" with generous helpings of bitterness, distrust/paranoia, and often an odd twist on self-righteousness on the side; or that they have been severely traumatised with relationship and/or sexual violence or abuse. In either case, there clearly is some major issue going on.

Resolution: At the minimum, it's time to completely overhaul the profile. We would recommend reconsidering whether it's an appropriate time to be using a dating service--and if there is trauma related to relationships and/or sex, to consider seeking or continuing professional help. Further, we note again that if one's just looking for friends or people to hang out with, then there are more appropriate online venues for that type of networking.

#36: Saying they're "looking for a trusting [man/woman]" 

Notes: It goes without saying that if one wants a stable and long-term relationship that trust has to be built up. And often, well-meaning people will say this--but the problem is not what they're saying, but how. This way of wording it sounds rather sociopathic and ruthless in nature.

Why it's a RED FLAG: This sounds a lot like: "I'm looking for someone who's gullible and easily-manipulated" or "I want someone who I can take full advantage of."  

Resolution: If you value trust, a better way to phrase it would be "I'm looking for someone who I can build trust in." And if you really do mean it in the sense of "I want an easy target," we advise you to seriously look at yourself in the mirror and develop some semblance of right versus wrong.

#37: User is making it clear they are on the site for validation/attention/"ego boost"

Why it's a RED FLAG: This is a straight-up admission of being an "attention whore," replete with all of its negative connotations. It often implies that the profile owner is also rather narcissistic.

Resolution: If your reason of having a profile is merely to draw attention to yourself (e.g. having one just to see "how many" people want you), leave. You're not doing yourself or anyone else any favours, and frankly there are other "more appropriate" means of seeking attention and validation on the Internet.

#38: Saying "Don't judge me," "only God can judge," etc. 

Why it's a RED FLAG: This one tends to strongly suggest that something is fishy with that person, such as (but not limited to): having an abrasive/caustic/toxic personality, habits of violence against themselves or others, and raging insecurities. Further, it attempts to justify or excuse that wrong thing in a rather flimsy way.

Situations when it's NOT (necessarily) a RED FLAG: When it's used lightly and in a self-deprecating way--often as a result to admitting to liking something that's nerdy or uncool, or something that's mildly embarrassing (e.g. "I still sleep with the teddy bear my Nana gave me. Don't judge." or "I'm a fan of the movie Gigli. Don't judge me.")

Resolution: We recommend some soul-searching and a total rewrite of your profile. In addition, if you find (or know that there is) something that likely drives people away whilst screaming in horror, it might be beneficial to try to mitigate it or seek professional help in doing so.

#39: Listing all of their complaints (the "Look! Woe is me!") 

Why it's a RED FLAG: Such a user is detailing all of the reasons why someone shouldn't bother, and most intelligent people tend to take that at face value.  

Resolution: One's profile is supposed to be honest, but also framing in a positive light. If one cannot really think of positive reasons why someone should give them a chance, then it is probably best to refrain from using dating services.

#40: Mentioning a partner or significant other

Why it's a RED FLAG: This is very often seen as a point-blank (and highly-unflattering) admission that the profile owner engages in adultery.

Situations when it's NOT (necessarily) a RED FLAG: If this is on a site catering towards people interested in polyamory or other "open relationships," and it's clear the mentioned partner or significant other has given their consent. In addition, when one is in the process of getting a divorce (but said divorce isn't final yet) and explains upfront.

Resolution: Unless one's on a site geared for "open relationships" or one specifies that they're currently getting divorced, it's best to refrain from using dating services until one's out of a relationship. There is after all a wide belief of "once a cheater, always a cheater" and that WILL cause future problems.

End notes: Most people don't want to be cheated on. Nor do they want to knowingly place themselves in a situation where they may have to deal with a vindictive or vengeful partner like one often sees on the TV show "Cheaters."

#41: "Looking for my <insert fantasy here>" 

Notes: Most people have romantic and/or sexual fantasies. The problem comes when it appears someone is having trouble differentiating fantasy from reality. This one tends to show more often in female profiles but there are guys out there who have this as well. Common fantasy characters include Edward and Jacob from the Twilight series and Christian Grey from "Fifty Shades of Grey"

Why it's a RED FLAG: It strongly suggests the person has unrealistic expectations and is likely out of touch with reality.

Resolution: Just drop it from the profile; people don't need to obviously deduce that you're comparing them to fictional, celebrity, and/or erotic characters.

Go back to Part V

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