Many years ago, I had a client who was on an online dating site, and someone she was interested in had a really cute picture of himself with a dog. When she reached out to him, she said, “What a cute pup! What’s his/her name?”
The guy replied and, rather than being flattered that my client reached out, he instead accused her of stalking him: “How did you know I had a dog? Did you look me up? What else do you know about me?” She promptly wrote, “Look at your fourth picture.” End scene.
This guy clearly hadn’t looked at his own profile in a while, and that was to the detriment of everyone.
There are a few reasons why keeping your profile up to date is important. First, outdated references can make for awkward moments. What if this was the scenario above instead? You see someone talk about their dog and you’re also a big pet lover, so you send a message asking specifically about the pup … only to hear the dog died months ago. I can’t think of a worse start to a conversation. Or that it was a neighbor’s dog … from your apartment building five years ago.
As another example, seeing an outdated pandemic-related reference (bragging about your ability to procure a roll of toilet paper, for example) — or even a movie that came out six years ago — can make the person reading the bio wonder if there’s even a person on the other side of the screen. If they’re not updating their profile, are they checking the account at all? And if they’re not checking their account, is there even a point in sending a message? Who knows what you could both be missing when that happens?
Every three to six months, give your profile a quick read and refresh. Take out references to holidays that have passed (it seems random to bring up your New Year’s resolutions in July), trips you had planned or any other obsolete information. Replace it with something new — the bucket list vacation you did, the cooking class you completed, the cat you recently adopted or the book club you just joined — to make sure the person reading your profile is getting to know the you from today rather than five years ago.
In addition to updating your bio, take a look at your photos. Does it still look like you, or did your appearance shift? Maybe you got a major hair makeover or your body changed. Again, your profile should sound like — and look like — you today. So if you’ve shaved a beard or dyed your hair blonde in recent months, your photos should reflect that. Your profile deserves frequent updates to keep it in top shape — and increase your chances of getting messages that turn into dates.
Erika Ettin is the founder of A Little Nudge, where she helps others navigate the often intimidating world of online dating.