This Valentine’s Day, lonely singles can take comfort in the fact that they really aren’t alone. In 2008, one online survey found that digital dating services were the third largest revenue generator in paid content websites, with a 10% expected growth rate by 2013. In such a cluttered market, NewsFeed asked Grant Langston, eHarmony’s senior director of social media and advice blog coordinator, to walk us through the most overused phrases on online dating profiles. “Your challenge is standing out,” he says. “That’s really the game—you need to look different than the other 50 profiles that a person sees, and buzzwords are generic by nature.” Here, Langston lists the five useless phrases online daters should remove immediately:
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“Down to earth.”
Well, first of all, I don’t even really know what it means. It’s going to vary from person to person, so the term is meaningless. I guess they’re trying to say they’re humble, but that definition is going to vary. It shows a lack of thoughtfulness about the profile that you’re writing. You’ve just filled in a bunch of catchphrases that you’ve heard. Even the most superficial, narcissistic person in the world thinks they’re down to earth, so that one is particularly ridiculous.
“I love to laugh.”
Who doesn’t love to laugh? It’s another thing that’s completely meaningless. You think it shows that you might have a good sense of humor, but it’s just universal pulp.
“I just want a nice guy.”
The truth of the matter is, from what I’ve seen in my time here, women don’t really want a nice guy. They want him to be a nice person, but men who are just nice aren’t very interesting to most women—not for very long anyway. He needs to have something about him that’s compelling. He doesn’t need to be a bad boy or edgy, but that phrase on a dating profile doesn’t give a guy much information.
“I love life.”
That doesn’t help me anyway. What do you love about life? Sometimes people will say they love music. That’s just worthless. If you like punk bands, if you like Black Flag, tell me about that. Tell me about a show you went to, or how the music makes you feel. Give me a look inside your head because that’s what’s going to make you stand out. It’ll also give me questions to ask you when we finally do get together.
“I can’t believe I’m doing this.”
Somehow, to this day, people still want to include that in their profile as a way of saying, “You know, I really don’t need this online dating thing. I really have a line of people who want to date me.” It’s a silly thing and it kind of degrades the process, and I’d love to see that go away.
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And one word Langston would like to see more:
That’s the one that’s most useful in the context of giving information. People don’t understand what kind of weight that carries. If you say, “I like German food,” I don’t know what to make of that. I guess that’s something you have some sort of mild interest in. But if you tell me you have a passion for German beer and German food, and then you elaborate on that a little bit, I know where you’re at with that. It may make me decide you’re not the woman for me, but to use passion to describe your life is a really interesting. It shows me you’re a person who has passion and that’s interesting in and of itself.