How to overcome online dating questionaire writers' block?
November 14, 2006 7:18 PM   Subscribe

I have to fill out one of those lovely online dating questionaires, and am having trouble coming up with witty, charming things to say about myself. How to overcome this particular form of writers' block?

You know the questionaires I'm talking about. The ones with the horribly general questions, like "Describe yourself," "Describe your ideal match," and "What do you like to do for fun?"
posted by kenoshakid to Writing & Language (18 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I suggest spending the time on a flattering photo instead.
posted by smackfu at 7:24 PM on November 14, 2006

If you have e-mails from friends archived, go back and see what types of things you've been up to for fun lately, and you might also find some compliments here and there (or just gain some insight into your positive attributes.)
posted by nekton at 7:25 PM on November 14, 2006

I use the scattershot point form approach. I once cut and pasted part of my profile into this answer to another Q.
posted by dobbs at 7:42 PM on November 14, 2006

The best way to break through writer's block is described some detail in Peter Elbow's excellent book Writing Without Teachers: you force yourself to write without stopping for a page or so, blathering on about the topic (in this case, yourself). Then look at what you've written, underline some good parts, and repeat. It's iterative refinement, and you're writing in part to discover what you have to say on the topic. Elbow explains it better. Useful for any sort of writing: better to get it down quickly and go through multiple drafts than to sit agonizing in an attempt to write the final draft right off the bat.
posted by LeisureGuy at 7:47 PM on November 14, 2006 [3 favorites]


I always answer run of the mill questions when i've had just enough to get that hesitant little boring voice out of the way.
posted by redsparkler at 8:05 PM on November 14, 2006

Do you really want to say witty and charming things? Your date might expect you to be as witty in person, and that could be devestating if you can't deliver.

In my limited knowledge, decent people usually look for profiles that appear honest and modest.
posted by Citizen Premier at 8:11 PM on November 14, 2006

yeop, second the booze. also: i've done this... more often than i care to admit, and i find that the responses that generally seem to attract the most notice (based on what people mention, ask about, &c.) are the ones that i was most honest about -- the ones where i set aside trying to be clever or stand-outish and just tried to "be me." which involves trying not to try too hard, and probably also involves pouring another drink, because it's hard to do.

good luck, though!
posted by sonofslim at 8:17 PM on November 14, 2006

Lie outrageously. Weeds out stupid people and the ones without a sense of humor. Just make sure you have enough honesty and sincerity so people don't think it's just a gag entry.

Side suggestion: Assuming you're using the same handle there that you use here, titling your entry "You Never Did The Kenosha Kid? Well, Here's Your Chance!" could help you score (Points, at the very least) with a fellow Pynchon fan.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:18 PM on November 14, 2006

Are you having a hard time thinking of things to say about yourself, or is the problem that you need help writing about those things charmingly? If it's the former, ask your friends to write a short description about you, or things they like about you. It's much easier for someone who knows you well to come up with great adjectives than it is to think of them yourself. If it's the latter, well, good luck with that!
posted by Nathanial Hörnblowér at 8:43 PM on November 14, 2006

First off, you're taking the whole thing wayyyyyy too seriously.

OKCupid asked me to write a few words about myself. I said:
I'm gainfully employed.

I'm not living in Mom's basement.

I've never been convicted of a crime.

I know the difference between "your" and "you're."

What's not to like?

Try something similar, something that reflects your personality. Take some risks. Have fun with it. And if the profile doesn't work, you can always delete it and do something else.
posted by jason's_planet at 9:28 PM on November 14, 2006

Try writing what you like about your friends and then using the examples that also relate to yourself.
posted by rmless at 10:19 PM on November 14, 2006

I started out by forcing myself to write an answer to each question, and most of my answers were sarcastic and, in retrospect, lame. But once I'd let go of the pressure of worrying about it, better answers came to me in the ensuing weeks. Reading a lot of other people's profiles helped in that regard. Now my profile is fairly witty, but it's all my own wit, and is an honest reflection of me, and it does get some attention...maybe not the right kind of attention, but...
posted by bingo at 10:27 PM on November 14, 2006

It is hard to write because you are being asked to create advertising copy, to a rather cheesy template with yourself as the product. I'd suggest involving a friend who knows you well and writing it together. A friend can also be good for helping you to sift through responses or for giving you reassurance if a date does not go right.
posted by rongorongo at 12:51 AM on November 15, 2006

My sister-in-law just had trouble with one of these. Her solution was to have my wife sit down with her to help. It worked like a charm. They created a great profile. You might want to get a friend or family member that you trust to sit down and help you, too. I think the key is to make it fun.
posted by jdroth at 7:32 AM on November 15, 2006

Good Lord. Just don't. I second, third and kind of fourth what has been said already. Just be yourself. Having my share of experiences on web based dating sites... in my opinion, witty people want an audience. Most of them are annoying, self absorbed and are compensating/hiding something. The witty ones are usually the ones just looking to be entertained, in other words not into what it takes to be in a real relationship, vulnerablity... which is fine if that's what you're after. What a refreshing relief it would be to see someone just being themselves.

okay all you witty people reading this... stop taking it personally. I'm okay, you're okay.
posted by vermontlife at 8:15 AM on November 15, 2006

Jason, I would so pick you based on that description.
posted by theora55 at 3:47 PM on November 15, 2006

Jason, I would so pick you based on that description.

Awwwwww . . . you're making me blush! Thanks!
posted by jason's_planet at 5:42 PM on November 15, 2006

Thanks for your answers everybody. I think the hardest part is just getting something written to begin with. Once you have an initial draft, its a lot easier to make revisions.

As far as profile style goes, I think it's largely a matter of personal preference. I know that when I'm looking through profiles, I'll always pick the witty ones over the earnest ones.
posted by kenoshakid at 10:08 PM on November 15, 2006

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