Self Description: The Don’ts

Each of us is unique. That is what we are told. That is what we believe. Not so in the online world. Having spent time sifting through profile after profile that tell you the same thing (if they tell you anything at all), often using the same clichés (and you are glad there are no spelling errors), you begin to wonder if this is a myth, this thing about being unique, a mom-manufactured confidence-booster to make you feel good about yourself. And you know all too well how biased moms can be. But then every once in a while (read 2+ hours of profile-scanning), you come across one that is refreshingly different, one might say even unique. A faith is restored, a connection is made.

At ekCoffee, we are working on a system to bring out the unique you. Not the 1000-max character blank page where you are asked to say something about yourself; where you are pushed to take cover behind the 4-5 adjectives that come to mind first – Fun? check. Love to read? check. Enjoy listening to music? check. Like to travel? check. They tell something about you. But not anymore than the listing before, or the one after.

We all have a tendency to stick with the norm. Ask 5-year olds to describe themselves, and they are likely to respond with their physical attributes – the eyes, nose, and ears. We all have a simple straightforward view of who we are and how we are or would like to be perceived. And that’s perfectly fine. Fine when you are 5. Not so much when you are 25, and more importantly, when you are looking to stand out, to seek out, and to be sought out. Relationship sites are partly to blame, having made no effort to help you put your best foot forward, an attitude that we hope will change with ekCoffee. Part of the reason also may be a lack of awareness on how the words you choose to describe yourself often don’t help you, or worse still, affect your chances negatively. Here are 5 traps to avoid (in our biased opinion):

  • Generics: Reading, traveling, movies, bah. Instead, write what is unique about _you_. What kind of book reader are you? Mills and Boon? Adult fiction? Booker/Pulitzer winners? Take a guess? Where have you traveled to? What was the most memorable incident? Where would you like to go? Why? What recent movie did you enjoy the most? Made you laugh/cry? Its our choices that make us unique, far more than the generic reading, or watching movies.
  • Irrelevant Quotes: So convenient to take cover behind someone else’s words, someone famous perhaps. Like “Change is the only constant”, or “Be the change you wish to see in the world”. Who can argue with that? But what does it tell me about you? Other than you like what someone said about change, or maybe you just googled up ‘change + quotes’ and copy-pasted the first thing that came up, no? And what change are we talking about here? short change? If you can back up your quotes, well and good. If not, perhaps best not to parade them.
  • Misspellings: Most of us are not the spelling bee types. But we do have spell check on our word processors. And if one still sees spelling mistakes, that’s just sloppy, the online equivalent of stepping out  with your fly open. Make sure you check. Spell check.
  • Micro profiles: 2-3 sentence descriptions tell you a lot more than you think they do. Like I-don’t-have-time-for-this-sh*&.  Or I-cannot-think-of-anything-to-write. Or I-just-had-to-write-something-to-meet-the-minimum-word-requirement. This is likely to evoke one response. Skip.
  • Warnings: ‘PLEASE DON’T CONTACT ME IF .. ‘ clauses. It’s ok to have preferences. Its not ok to mention it in all uppercase at the start of your profile. Even the kinds that you’d like to be contacted by may be inclined to give you a pass.

Couldn’t find your favorite gripe above? Let us know.

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2 thoughts on “Self Description: The Don’ts

  1. 2 more to add to the list, if I may……

    1. Make sure you have the ability to resemble (closely, in age especially) the handsome/beautiful, dashing pictures that one sees on your profile, and gets all excited about(or not)….. No, that hot picture of you from 5 years ago doesn’t cut it…. even if you think you’ve not changed much at all…
    There is a reason profiles have pictures…. It’s all a matter of preliminary attrition…. You’ll only make it worse for yourself if you wait for that to happen to you in person.
    2. It is absolutely not cool to model your profiles on University admission essays written by 18 year olds (or lift entire paragraphs)…. Agreed, they are brilliantly written, witty, sharp, poetic even maybe… which got these students into their favourite schools… and which is why they are also published on the internet and talked about on NPR.
    It isn’t going to do a damn thing for you in the search for ‘the’ one… Plagiarism has never evoked that warm fuzzy feeling (you intended) in anyone … definitely not in your potential mate. Do not underestimate their powers of detection for the phony….

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