The Biggest Mistake You’re Making on Dating Apps: Part 2
So you’re staring at your dating profile and wondering what you’re doing wrong. Probably lots of things, but one of them is almost certainly that your profile is riddled with qualifiers.
What’s a qualifier, you may be asking? Well bud, it’s a big ole firing squad having a go at your dating prospects. A qualifier is anything that your prospective match perceives to be an expectation placed on her in order to qualify for matching with you.
There are direct and indirect qualifiers. The direct qualifiers tend to be more detrimental, but indirect qualifiers are a lot more common. A few weeks ago we discussed the former, and today we’re going to focus on the latter.
The Problem With Indirect Qualifiers
The purpose of your dating profile is to cast a wide net in order to attract as many high-quality matches as possible. An indirect qualifier is anything you put in your profile that decreases the range of the net. It is important to remember that most women are working from an abundance mentality when on dating apps, so they swipe left quickly and frequently from the slightest sign of incompatibility.
- Indirect Qualifier: “I’m always down for a rock concert.”
- Correction: “I’m always down for a concert.”
It’s a small difference, but girls who don’t like rock music will swipe left. They have so many potential matches that they’re actively trying to decrease their match rate. They can’t swipe right on every guy they could be compatible with; They’ll have hundreds of matches, and it’s impossible to have a conversation with that many people.
Instead, they nitpick the hell out of profiles, looking for a reason to swipe left. If she hates rock music, it gives her a reason to swipe left on you… but once she gets to know you and is invested in you, your different tastes in music won’t matter to her. As a girl who’s suffered through hours of opera for her boyfriend, trust me.
- Indirect Qualifier: “I love fantasy novels, especially anything by Patrick Rothfuss.”
- Correction: “I’m an avid reader.”
I get it, I would suck the dick of Patrick Rothfuss for however many hours/weeks/months it took him to finish The KingKiller Chronicles if it meant I’d get some closure about the lives of fictional characters I’m in love with. But obsessing over your favorite things in the world are best reserved for when you’re getting to know each other- not when you’re 1 of 200 prospective matches she’s quickly swiping through on her lunch break.
- Indirect Qualifier: “I’m a pescetarian/vegetarian/vegan.”
- Correction: Don’t list diet preferences unless you’re ONLY interested in people with the same preferences.
I’m a vegan, but it’s not something I’d ever put on a dating profile because the word comes with a lot of assumptions. People may assume I’m pretentious, that I might try to ‘convert’ them, that I’ll go on long tirades about the murder of animals, or that I’m only looking for other vegans. None of those things are true. I’m allergic to the protein in most animal products and I’m lactose intolerant- which basically equates to veganism.
Other examples of Indirect Qualifiers:
- Holding up a fish in your photos
- Photos of you in cosplay
- Photos of you drunk at a bar
- Photos of girls hanging on you
- Stating specific likes/dislikes of any topic people feel passionate about
- Stating that you like to do anything every weekend
Every qualifier in your profile further decreases the range of your net until eventually, you’re only catching the tadpoles at water’s edge.
But Hold on One Friggin’ Minute, Isn’t That Unfair?
If she’s going to swipe left on you because you wrote that you love D&D in your profile, then she can get off of her pedestal and fuck off, right? As a Changeling Circle of the Moon Druid, I understand the indignation. Give me a minute to explain though.
Ok, so close your eyes and imagine that you’re shopping for a new coffeemaker. The store has like 100 options because this is a special kind of store that only sells lots of coffee makers (just go with it). You’re not going to spend dozens of hours carefully researching each one, and you aren’t going to bring all of them home.
You’re going to quickly narrow down your options based on what’s closest to what you think you want. There are dozens of other coffee pots that could’ve worked just as well, or even better, than the one you ended up choosing… but it would have been incredibly time consuming and super impractical for you to do it any other way. Now, multiply those 100 coffee makers by 5 and switch them to potential matches. That’s what it’s like for most women on dating apps.
The Problem with Niches
I know, I know, I know. You only want to match with people you’re truly compatible with, right?
You may think it’s ok to talk about your favorite video games, your obsession with Black Sabbath, or your love affair with Pad Thai because you’re looking for a compatible match. You’re not looking for any girl… you’re looking for the right girl.
I get it… but you’re still wrong. The problem with trying to appeal to a niche is that a niche, by definition, is a small group of people. You don’t need to find a clone to find the love of your life.
My boyfriend is a sommelier who gets emotional watching stage productions of Les Misérables, refers to green beans as haricot vert, and is so unfamiliar with PC gaming that he plays with a trackpad and doesn’t own a headset. I would have never swiped on him if I had known any of those things, and he’s turned into my favorite person on the whole god-damned planet. We’re compatible in a million different ways- the most important of which is that we even each other out. He’s taught me to enjoy a bit of fanciness, and I’ve turned him into a level 10 Farmer on Stardew Valley.
My point is, if you try to appeal to niches, you’re going to disqualify yourself from thousands of matches- including potential soulmate material.
Are Qualifiers Ever Ok?
Qualifiers are perfectly fine if you are 100% ok with losing access to everyone it doesn’t apply to AND everyone who would be offended by it. For example:
- If you’re Muslim and are only interested in dating people who eat halal
- If you’re a vegan-only interested in vegans
- If you’re a recovering alcoholic and are only interested in sober matches
- If you’re a parent only interested in people who will accept your children
It’s totally fine to mention those things in those cases. In fact, it’s recommended. However, pay attention to tone. Be friendly and casual. You don’t want to sound like you have a chip on your shoulder about it or else you could accidentally scare off the very people you’re trying to attract. There’s a huuuuge difference between “Looking for someone who understands that meat is murder” and “vegan looking for someone with shared values”.
Qualifiers are almost always going to have a negative impact on your match rates, so nix them. I can’t count how many times my clients have gone from doubting the impact of the qualifiers in their profile to singing my praises. Qualifiers are a big deal and can destroy your profile… but I’m a pretty big deal too and I can get you fixed right up (see what I did there?). If you’d like help with improving your match rate, learning how to engage with your matches in a way that will get them to respond to you, or would like to get a gift card for a friend, don’t be afraid to reach out.