New Study Reveals 24 Most Common Dating Profile Mistakes
Dating is no walk in the park. And online dating… well, that’s no mean feat either.
It’s common to be confused, or even frustrated, when you’re using online dating apps and figuring out how to create a good dating profile, especially on popular mainstream apps like Tinder, Bumble, or Hinge. That’s why we at The Match Lab conducted a new study to discover what you can do to improve your dating profile and succeed on dating apps.
We conducted an online survey of 100 women across the United States about the most common mistakes they see guys make on dating apps. All of the women surveyed were single, straight, and actively using dating apps. We’re here to help you navigate how to master online dating.
Here are the 24 worst mistakes guys make in their dating profiles on Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, Match, OkCupid, eharmony, and other dating apps.
Take notes, guys!
Dating Profile Mistake #1. Shirtless Photos
Many guys have a tendency to post shirtless pics on dating apps. We get it. A good physique is attractive, so if you have a nice body, then of course you’ll want to show it off. But shirtless pics on dating apps may not be the hot turn-on many guys think it is. Our study found that using shirtless pictures in their profile was the #1 most common mistake women say guys make.
Now, that said, if you still insist on including a shirtless pic in your dating profile, here are a few tips on how to pull it off without it hurting your chances of getting matches:
- Make sure it’s natural and authentic. Mirror selfies are not the best to use on dating apps.
- Use a candid photo of you in a context where it would make sense to be shirtless. (For example, a shirtless pic of you at the beach or doing something active, like surfing or playing volleyball)
Dating Profile Mistake #2. Too Many Group Photos
Should you post a group photo on dating apps? It’s a more complicated answer than you’d think. So let’s break it down.
According to our study, the second most common mistake guys make in their dating profiles is that they post too many group photos. When you use group photos, it makes it harder for people looking at your profile to know which person in the photo is you. Remember, people looking at your profile on dating apps are strangers—they’ve never met you before, so they don’t know what you look like. Guys, if several of your profile pictures are group photos, and women can’t figure out which one is you, then they’re going to immediately swipe left.
So don’t overdo it with the group photos. It’s a fine balance. While your dating profile shouldn’t have five group photos in it, having one group photo could actually be an excellent idea.
Including a photo with friends or family in your dating profile shows your social side and tells more about your life. But it’s best to limit your profile to including only one group photo. And never use a group photo as your first picture on Tinder. Or on Bumble. Or on Hinge. Or on any dating app. The first photo in your dating profile should include you, and just you.
Dating Profile Mistake #3. Using Low-Quality Photos
The third most common mistake guys make in their dating profile is using low-quality photos. In our research at The Match Lab, we’ve run tests where we design multiple different versions of the same person’s dating profiles and then we track how many likes and matches each version gets. Time and time again, when it comes to getting matches on dating apps, we’ve found that the photo quality of your dating profile pictures matters more than how attractive you objectively are. That means a less handsome guy with high-quality photos is likely to get more matches than a handsome guy with low-quality photos. Avoid using low-quality blurry photos on dating apps at all costs.
Dating Profile Mistake #4. Writing Overly Generic Bios and Prompts
In our study, a lot of the women we surveyed complained that way too many guys use clichés in their dating profile, such as saying they’re “fluent in sarcasm” (I’ll say, as a professional dating profile writer, I’ve seen people say they’re “fluent in sarcasm” hundreds of times). Similarly, women complained that a lot of guys have generic bios and prompts that don’t say anything about who they are and what interests they have.
So, avoid clichés. People have heard them before. Guys, if you use clichés or other generic phrases in your profile, then women will assume you can’t think for yourself and that you just follow the crowd. Be unique. Stand out from the crowd. Write an original bio and some original prompts. Women want to know who you are and what makes you unique—what life experiences you’ve had, what your interests and hobbies are, and what you’ll bring to a relationship.
For professional help with writing your bio and prompts, consider working with our professional dating profile writing service. We’ve spent years studying the science of how to write a great dating profile for any app, whether it’s Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, Match, OkCupid, eharmony, or any other dating app. When you tell us about yourself by filling out our brief questionnaire, we’ll write your perfect profile for any dating app.
Dating Profile Mistake #5. Lying About Yourself
Many women we surveyed feel frustrated that a lot of guys lie about themselves in their dating profiles. What’s most common, women say, is for guys to lie about their age, height, and lifestyle, while also using misleading photos that give a false impression about their physical appearance.
Dating Profile Mistake #6. Photos of You with Other Women
If you think having photos of you with other women in your dating profile will help you get matches, then think again. Our study found that posting pics with other women is a huge turnoff.
Dating Profile Mistake #7. Hunting Photos or Fishing Photos
Many guys love sharing photos of themselves hunting or holding fish on dating apps, thinking this will attract women. We see how this idea plays into a cultural narrative about masculinity; some men may think that by showing they can hunt and fish, they’re demonstrating that they’re able to provide for a woman and take care of their family. Some guys also probably think these hunting photos make them look strong, skilled, and dominant. But it’s time to face the reality.
Our study shows that women don’t want to see a dead animal while they’re searching for a partner on dating apps. Many women we surveyed said that hunting and fishing photos are huge turnoffs and that they refuse to match with any guy who posts these photos in their profile. Simply put, Tinder fish pics are a no-go. If you absolutely have to use a picture with an animal, try a cute pet instead.
Dating Profile Mistake #8. Leaving Your Bio Blank
Hopefully, it’s pretty obvious why leaving your bio blank is a bad idea. A blank bio doesn’t make you seem cool and mysterious; it may actually come off the opposite.
Blank bios may make you seem like you lack a personality, don’t have any hobbies or interests, or that you won’t even put in the minimal effort it takes to create a complete dating profile. Many women say a blank bio is an immediate swipe left. In fact, research shows that dating profiles without any written bio get way fewer matches. If you’re struggling to write a good bio, we’re here to help. Consider using our professional dating profile writing service.
Dating Profile Mistake #9. Using Old Photos
A common mistake women say guys make on dating apps is that they use old photos in their profile. Guys, women want to know what you look like now, not what you looked like a decade ago. Ideally, all of your photos should have been taken within the past few years.
Also, remember that high-quality photos are almost always better than low-quality photos on dating apps, and the photo quality from cameras and phones today is better than it was in the past. So, aim for recent photos, and if you don’t have any good recent photos, then consider hiring a photographer or ask a friend to take some photos of you. For tips on what types of photos to take for your dating profile, see our list of tips for choosing the best photos for your dating profile.
Dating Profile Mistake #10. Selfies (Especially Gym Selfies)
According to our study, a lot of women hate when guys post selfies on Tinder or other dating apps. Most of all, many women mentioned specifically that gym selfies are a huge turnoff. All in all, uploading a Tinder selfie may not be the way to go if you’d like to get more matches.
Dating Profile Mistake #11. Talking About Sex or Making Sexual References
We get the temptation to be flirty and sexual on dating apps. After all, a lot of people are on dating apps for the sole reason of hooking up. However, results have shown that it’s best to keep sexual references within private conversations, not publicly on your profile. References to sex or hooking up may turn women away. Many women we surveyed said they find it too forward when guys talk about sex in their profile and that this makes them less likely to match with a guy.
Dating Profile Mistake #12. Being Too Cocky or Arrogant
Sure, we all want other people to think we’re cool. And a dating profile is like an advertisement for your life, so you want to advertise your best features. That’s all true. But guys, don’t overdo it. Be careful not to speak so highly of yourself that you come off as cocky or arrogant. In our study, women said that they wish guys would be more humble, genuine, and easygoing. Women said that guys shouldn’t try so hard to look cool. When you run the risk of being seen as arrogant or conceited, that’ll only hurt your chances of getting matches.
Dating Profile Mistake #13. Photos that Don’t Show Your Face
Many guys use dating photos that hide their face, either fully or partially. Women see this as a red flag. If a woman can’t tell what your face really looks like from your profile pictures, then she’ll swipe left.
Dating Profile Mistake #14. Photos with Your Ex
Our study found that women hate it when guys post photos of them with their ex-girlfriend in their dating profile. Women also said that guys should avoid mentioning their ex when they message a match too.
Dating Profile Mistake #15. Photos with Kids
Contrary to popular belief, a cute kid may not actually be the best bait for more swipe rights. If you don’t have kids of your own, then you should avoid including photos with kids in your dating profile. Even if you’re just posing with your niece or nephew, many women may assume the children you’re with are your own children, which will raise confusion (i.e., if your profile states you don’t have kids) or could just make most women less interested in matching with you.
If you do have kids, then that’s a different story. It’s always best to be honest and transparent in your dating profile, so sharing a photo of you with your kids may be a good idea. That way, you’ll avoid wasting your time with people who view children as a deal breaker and you’ll be more likely to find a partner who’s right for you.
Dating Profile Mistake #16. Multiple Versions of the Same Photo
Our study found that it’s a big turnoff for women when guys use multiple versions of the same photo in their dating profile. It’s best to use a variety of unique photos.
Dating Profile Mistake #17. Multiple Photos with the Same Outfit
Similarly, women don’t like it when guys’ dating profiles have multiple photos where the guy is wearing the same outfit.
Guys, good style is attractive. It’s best to show a potential partner that you’re capable of putting together a variety of outfits. Plus, by showing how you look in a variety of clothing styles, you give women a better sense of what you truly look like. Throughout our study, women complained that they hate ambiguity or trying to guess what you’re like; they get frustrated when they don’t have a clear sense of what a guy really looks like. Avoid this mistake by making sure you show yourself in multiple outfits across your dating profile pictures.
Dating Profile Mistake #18. Photo Filters
Women in our study say they don’t like it when guys use filters in their dating photos. So, this is a simple mistake to avoid; don’t use filters. Leave your photos how they naturally are.
Dating Profile Mistake #19. Photos of Your Car
On average, men are more into cars than women are. And a nice car is a status symbol. So, it’s natural that a lot of guys like to show off their car in their dating profile. But it’s best to avoid making this common dating profile mistake. Many women in our study complained about seeing photos of cars in guys’ dating profiles, saying it’s a real turnoff.
Dating Profile Mistake #20. Mentioning Your Height in Your Bio
It’s well known that women tend to prefer taller guys. Knowing this, a lot of guys will state their height in their bio, especially their Tinder bio. This may help get more matches, or it may not. Our study raises some concern with doing this, as many women we surveyed commented that mentioning your height in your bio is one of the biggest mistakes guys make on dating apps.
Dating Profile Mistake #21. Having Too Few Photos
Some dating apps have a strict minimum number of photos (e.g., Hinge requires you upload six photos), but other apps have looser requirements. In fact, on many dating apps, you can upload only one photo if you want, and that’s it. Our study revealed that women are less interested in matching with guys whose dating profiles have too few photos. Our research in studying the science of dating profile success shows that a good dating profile should always have at least four photos. Having five or six photos in your dating profile is often even better.
Dating Profile Mistake #22. Being Too Political
Political beliefs are often important when it comes to dating and relationships. For a lot of people, it’s a dealbreaker if someone has opposing political beliefs as they do. So, it’s often good to mention your political stance in your dating profile. But it’s best to keep it brief and to avoid sounding too negative or polarizing. Some women we surveyed were frustrated that guys are overly political in their dating profiles, which they found to be a turnoff.
Dating Profile Mistake #23. Unclear Intentions
According to our study, women wish that more guys would be clear about their intentions and what they’re looking for on a dating app. People go on dating apps for a variety of reasons, and it’s important to find someone who’s looking for the same thing that you’re looking for. By stating your intentions clearly, you can filter out people who don’t share your intentions while attracting people who also want the same thing you want.
Dating Profile Mistake #24. Not Posting a Full Body Photo
Women want to know what your body looks like, in addition to what your face looks like. From our study, we found that a common mistake guys make is that they don’t include any full body photos in their dating profile. It’s best to post at least one full body photo.
Want Dating Profile Help & More Dating Tips?
Understanding some of the biggest mistakes guys make while online dating, and particularly choosing their profile photos, can help you make a great first impression and get you those swipe-rights (and hopefully, your next first date). Staying away from these common mistakes that guys make on dating apps can increase your success with online dating.
Although it may seem like there are many arbitrary “dos” and “don’ts” in online dating, don’t stress it. The Match Lab is here to help you out. We use data, research, and years of experience to create any person’s perfect dating profile. We offer professional dating profile writing and dating photo selection services. We’ll write your profile and select your profile pictures for you, so you can start getting more likes, attracting better matches, and going on more dates.