Dating in Vancouver: Tips for your online dating profile

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      Love it or hate it, the reality is that online dating is here to stay. Despite the odd horror story, the fact remains: a significant portion of today’s romances start with a swipe.

      Maybe it's luck. Maybe it's time. Or maybe it’s an optimized dating profile.

      Let’s dissect what makes a good profile so you can level up your online dating game.

      For starters

      Your dating profile should showcase the different aspects of your personality. Your photos and text prompts should provide an opening for someone to ask you a question or start a conversation. They should act as a “hook,” inviting curiosity.

      Having multiple airbrushed glamor shots in a row does not achieve this. Have a photo of you hiking? Great. Have five photos of you hiking? Not so much. We get it, you like nature. Welcome to Vancouver. Now, show a different aspect of your personality.

      First photo

      It takes less than one second for someone to form an impression and decide whether to swipe left or right. 

      A comprehensive review conducted by the London School of Medicine, examining 86 pieces of research from psychology, sociology, and behavioral science, revealed that the most attractive profile photos showed someone smiling genuinely at the camera.

      Your first photo should be a clear portrait shot from the waist up, featuring only you. Do not use a photo where you smudge out your ex or you’re surrounded by a group of friends. Someone is going to spend a second deciding if they’re interested, and forcing them to play “Where’s Waldo?” with your pictures will decrease your chances of getting swiped right on. 

      Are you pointing at the camera? Posing by your sports car with a smug expression? This might be working against you. The three universal qualities that people infer from a face are attractiveness, trustworthiness, and dominance.

      Avoid sunglasses and filters that obscure the real you. We’re not trying to bait and switch anyone here. You don’t want to use false advertising to trick someone into going on a date with you, only for them to be shocked that you essentially lied. (Yes, using a photo from a decade ago is lying. Yes, rounding up your height from 5’9 to 6’0 is lying. Yes, saying you are 35 when you are 45 is lying.) 

      Whether it is a discrepancy in appearance or height, remember: the truth will come to light eventually. It’s preferable for your date to be aware of these facts before any potential awkward encounters. Misrepresentation only paves the way for disappointment and accusations of catfishing when you fail to match your profile photos.

      Second photo

      Following your first photo should be a full-body shot. But please, keep your clothes on. This rules out the infamous bathroom selfie, the topless gym mirror selfie, and any shirtless pictures. 

      Each photo thereafter should unveil a different facet of your life, offering hooks for conversation. For example: you can show a snapshot of a hobby or passion of yours, whether that’s playing an instrument, cooking your favorite meal, or hanging at the beach. Another photo could show one of your favourite travel memories.


      Do not leave this part blank. It signals a lack of effort. Profiles that include a detailed bio get significantly more matches than those that don’t have one. 

      When it comes to any of your text, here’s the number-one rule: do not list all the things you don’t want.

      Maybe you’ve been burned in the past and you don’t want to waste time; maybe you want to filter out the bad apples. I get it. But this approach risks repelling the promising candidates. When potential matches have only your bio to go by, a litany of negatives can paint you as a pessimistic person.

      You can achieve the same result of creating clarity by using positive language instead. For instance, instead of saying: “Don’t message me if you’re just looking for a fling. If you can’t communicate or are closed-minded, swipe left,” you can reframe it to: “Looking for someone interested in a meaningful connection and who values good communication. Bonus points if you’re up for diving into theories about the multiverse over a glass of red wine.”

      See what I did there? The former bio deters, the latter invites. 

      A rule of thumb is to keep 70 per cent of your profile about yourself and 30 per cent about the type of person you're looking to meet. This balance shows self-awareness and openness to connection. 


      Optimizing your profile for better matches is a crucial aspect of online dating, but equally important are the search parameters you choose. These settings dictate who you see and who sees you, significantly impacting your results. I have clients who claim they want a committed relationship, but when I review their search parameters, there’s often a disconnect. For example, they might set their age or height preferences too narrowly or exclude potential matches based on superficial criteria.

      If you want to increase your opportunities for dating success, it’s important to not just optimize your profile, but also to be open to people who might not fit your usual type. You never know—someone might surprise you.