How To Decode A Profile

Want to know what some cutie you spot online is really like—and is really looking for? Try reading between the lines for the real scoop on their relationship goals—and more.

By Evan Marc Katz

ne thing that most online daters can agree on is this: Sometimes, a profile isn’t as revealing about its owner as we’d like it to be. After all, anyone can say they’re a great catch and looking for a serious relationship, but is that always true? There is a way to get the real scoop—by honing in on the subtler messages hiding in someone’s profile. At first glance, these tiny clues might seem inconsequential, but trust me, they speak volumes about someone’s true character and romantic goals. See if that profile you’ve had your eye on contains any of these tell-tale giveaways to help steer you away from people who are less than perfect dates for you... and directly towards those who are great matches.

Pinpoint who’s a player
Players can claim they’re “looking for love” and “ready for The One” when all they’re really ready for is one more notch on their belt. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few subtle hints for you to pick
People who want to get married ASAP will reveal this by having a long checklist of mate must-haves.
up along the way to suss out this kind of person’s true intentions. For starters, watch out for people who want to “hang out and have fun.” The reason? People who want to “hang out” aren’t much interested in courting, and those who want to “have fun” may just be subtly telling you that they’re not ready for something serious. Also, online daters who emphasize physical beauty (their own or what they’d ideally want in a partner) may be looking to hook up as opposed to settle down—why emphasize looks so much unless they’re hoping it leads to some lusty times together?

Identify daters who are in a hurry to get hitched
Some of the people you’ll see online have one unwavering goal: They’re dead-set on hearing wedding bells as soon as humanly possible. That’s fine if you feel the same way; not so fine if you’d prefer to take things slow. Whether you want to find them or avoid them, here’s how to flush them out: Generally people who want to get to the altar ASAP also tell you exactly what they want in a lifelong partner ASAP—right in their profile. This will usually take the form of a long checklist of mate must-haves like “you must be over six feet, make a six-figure salary, love sushi, children, and skiing in Aspen.” People who include lots of things they don’t want in a date — “if you’re overweight/unemployed/bald don’t apply” — are similarly interested in cutting to the chase and finding their special someone. So if you’re thinking you’re ready for something serious yourself, know that this person would love to hear from you.

Recognize who wants a relationship—but isn’t willing to change much
Still other online daters say they want something serious and truly mean it... only problem is, they haven’t really cleared space in their life for a big relationship yet. To screen out these folks, tread carefully
Online daters who spend time making their profile as good as possible usually put their all into a relationship, too.
when profiles go on and on about their work—what they do, where they’ve been employed, the whole resume and then some. Whether they’re extremely passionate about their career or just plain workaholics, these people may not prioritize a relationship. People who stress their very busy lives in other ways — they have a tight-knit group of friends they see or talk to every day, or they are passionate about adventure races or trekking through national parks — also may not be willing to drop everything for love.

Zero in on those who want a relationship—and are happy to work at it
Interested in dating someone who’s honest, considerate, and — if all goes well between you — willing to settle down with you for the long haul? You can track down gems like these by looking for a profile that’s long but not long-winded (400 words is ideal), contains no spelling errors or typos, and takes pains to show you, rather than tell you, who they are. For example, rather than saying they’re kind and generous, it’ll be obvious due to the volunteer work they mention doing at the local soup kitchen or animal shelter. Why does all this amount to one great catch? Because online daters who pour this much time and energy into making their profile the best it can be will also put their all into a relationship, too. In other words, don’t be surprised if they offer you a foot massage if you’ve had a hard day’s work or leave you little “thinking of you” notes in your coat pocket. Talk about sweet—and a sweet catch for you.

Evan Marc Katz is the author of I Can’t Believe I’m Buying This Book: A Commonsense Guide to Successful Internet Dating and the CEO of the online dating profile writing service, E-Cyrano.
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