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7 phrases to banish from your online profile

Originally published in Digital Romance

You’re active, laid back and drama-free. You have a great sense of humour and love to travel. In fact, you’re just a normal person looking for a partner in crime. 

Why isn’t your inbox flooded with messages?

If the way you describe yourself in your online dating profile is anything like the paragraph above, it’s likely because you are an online cliché.

Browse through any dating site and you’ll repeatedly encounter these vague self-descriptors. While you might think they say a lot, they actually leave lots to the imagination.

If your profile uses any of the words below, delete them and be more specific.


Normal typically gets interpreted as either “I’m boring” or “I’m creepy but want you to think I’m not so I can lure you to my lair.” 

If you consider normal an important part of who you are, ask yourself what this means to you. For one person it might mean family-oriented, for another it might mean easy to talk to.

Once you’ve pinpointed those qualities, show how you’ve demonstrated them in your life. For example, “I bought a house in the suburbs last year and am ready to start a family to fill it with laughter.”


If normal is a red flag, drama-free is the bull charging toward it. Most people read drama-free as “my ex is crazy” and that screams baggage.

Instead of saying drama-free, put a positive spin on your past; for example, “I’ve faced challenges in my life and become a stronger person because of them.”


Laidback could mean “I have zero goals in life” or it could mean “I handle stress by doing hot yoga three times a week.”

Instead of saying laidback, describe activities that show your chill nature in all its relaxed glory. 


Jen starts her day with a 5 a.m. walk. Kevin sees live music until 3 a.m. five nights a week. Both consider themselves active yet, would be exhausted by the other’s lifestyle.

Whether it’s skiing, sky diving, or Skyping with friends, be clear about what active means to you.    

Loves to travel

One person’s perfect vacation is a week at an all-inclusive resort. Another’s is living off-grid for a month with a tribe in a tropical rainforest.

If you love to travel, describe your favourite destination and what you did there to help others discern if they’d want to join you on future journeys.

Sense of humour

Do you crack up at Woody Allen or is Bugs Bunny more your speed? If you want someone to laugh with, say what you find funny.

Partner in crime

Yes, it’s an easy catch-all, but you’ll have a better chance of finding a match that’s right for you if you state exactly what you want; for example, “a friend with benefits” or “my future spouse” or “an accomplice to help me rob a bank.”

While you might think generalities will cast your net wider, you’ll only end up with more fish to toss back into the sea. That was a cliché. Don’t be one online.

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