Browsing through online dating profiles is a lot like reading over a menu at a restaurant. You know you want something that will satisfy you, but it’s hard to tell what will do the trick by the descriptions alone. Something that sounds great on paper might be underwhelming in reality. While getting a quality restaurant meal might be a luck of the draw, you can easily separate the quality online daters from the duds just by closely examining every profile you read.
Here are six signals that should make your douchebag detector go “ping” when trying to decide who to contact on an online dating site.
1) Lots Of Negative Language
Everyone has problems, but your online dating profile isn’t exactly the best place to vent. If someone’s profile has a lot of negative language like “can’t,” “won’t,” or “shouldn’t,” it signals that they have a lot of anger or resentment they still need to work through. And since you’re signing up to be someone’s date, and not some’s therapist, maybe you should pass on negative daters and see if more upbeat people are available.
2) A History Of Criminal Behavior
If someone has been imprisoned or paroled for criminal offenses, they’re obviously not going to boast about the time some judge threw the book at them. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find out anyways. Since criminal records are available to the public, you can easily browse through public records. Just run their name through Instant Checkmate to see if they are covering up a shady past.
3) They Put Down Their Own Gender
If you see a man say something like “I’m not like most men,” or a woman say “Women tend to be crazy,” it communicates a lot of insecurity. People only tend to criticize their entire gender when they are desperate to endear themselves to potential dates.
4) They Are Extremely Verbose
It’s supposed to be a fun, light dating profile. Not your magnum opus. If someone has a dating profile that looks closer to the novel, Moby Dick, than a general outline of their passions and interests, it probably means they absolutely love any opportunity to talk about themselves at length. That’s a great quality in a memoir writer, but listening to someone drone on and on about their life story on an actual date can get pretty tedious.
5) They Describe Their Ideal Partner—In Detail
There’s nothing more irritating than an online dater who is incredibly specific about who they’re looking for: down to the hair color, height, job, and hobbies. Someone who has detailed demands about their partners is a very controlling person, and not the type you want to be involved with romantically.
6) Form Letter Responses
Did you receive a message from someone that looks suspiciously generic? A lot of daters opt for the “machine gun” method of online romance—they simply shoot off as many messages as they can and hope that one hits. Someone who can’t be bothered to create a unique message for every person they contact obviously doesn’t want to invest much time or thought into dating. If they’re that lazy about messaging people, then they will be equally lazy in a relationship.
Richard Branson is a blogger living in Augusta, Maine. He writes about love, romance, and online dating.