Before you go live

Having decided on the online dating site of your preference, you find yourself faced with the fundamental previous task of creating a faithful, accurate and attractive profile, so that singles all over the place can access it and, eventually, get to know you. But before you jump into the "killer profile" arena, let us review some planning basics, as starting point: goal, frame, audience.

When you meet someone face to face, even if you have not seen that person before and know nothing about him/her, you immediately grasp a series of complex stimuli and process them according to your experience, personality, and present state, getting what is commonly called a first impression. Its components are not easy to decipher, but they conform a general idea about the individual you are meeting that has its own complexity. You take his/her complexion, posture, facial features, attire, non-verbal behavior like facial expressions, gestures, eye contact, etc. and filter them unconsciously to construct a first concept of that person. When you are looking for friendship or love online, the singles profiles are the raw material used to get such first impression.

Of course, you are well aware that you might be wrong to take these ideas as definite truths: first impressions count, but they are frequently contradicted and corrected when we get to know people. That is no wonder, since they involve conjectures about such "trivial" things as social position and status, personality traits, skills, cultural preferences, etc. -so difficult to comprehend and measure that, after some hundred years of trying, the various social sciences have not yet claimed a full success on the matter.

Now you might be wondering "How to succeed, then?". Obviously, you must start by creating a profile that makes a good first impression! For those who worry about these things: trying to appear in the best possible light does not mean losing the slightest bit of authenticity, sincerity, honesty... all those values we relate to truth. As we try to live our day to day giving the best of ourselves in our studies, our job, our family and community, so must we face the search for a partner: putting the best we have in us first.

Consider next all relevant information available about profile building in the dating site you have decided to join, which might include anything from basic sound advice to tutorials on layouts, warnings about forbidden/unencouraged or compulsory/required data, photo size and composition, etc. All this will provide a frame to start painting that picture of you designed to summon a cupid to your side.

Finally, before you go live, think about the expected audience: who is your target? How is that amazingly loving single woman or man you expect to meet (and hopefully marry) through this online window of opportunity? We all have some clear ideas about what we like and dislike in a partner: no "anything goes" will help you succeed, neither will a "zero tolerance" attitude. Outline some balanced expectations about the kind of person you are searching for, and try not to let useless prejudices, nor boundless hopes blurr your vision.

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