“Just Ask Me” Is Not Enticing

SwingBot and I have been perusing FetLife and OKCupid recently. Our visits to these sites tend to yield more gripes than candidates for folks we want to meet. One common issue is the hit-on message from the person with the incomplete or unhelpful profile.

Cunning Minx of the Polyamory Weekly podcast posted an excellent slideshow: How Not to Be A Douche on FetLife. Her first tip is to complete your profile before hitting on anyone. She likens it to grooming and dressing before leaving your house, and I agree.

The information provided on the profile is typically the only information prospective partners have to make a decision. An empty — or mostly empty — profile offers almost no information, except that the profile writer is incredibly lazy. “Lazy” does not tend to be on any “Top Five Desired Traits in A Potential Mate” list that I see.

Some people seem to think that “just ask me” is sufficient to get around leaving a profile empty; this is particularly pervasive on OKCupid. There are cases in which “just ask me” makes sense. If you are passionate about your work and want to talk more about it or if you mention some possibly-obscure hobby and do not want to bore readers who might not be interested with the details, then “just ask me” makes sense. You gave your readers some information without getting tedious, and even gave them a conversation starter for when they decide to send a message.

However, “just ask me” or “I dunno what to say; I’m an open book” as your sole response to “About me” or “I spend a lot of time thinking about” is not at all helpful. As your profile visitor, I am reading your profile; I already am asking. The profile gave you the questions and the opportunity to answer, and you answered by saying, “Just ask me.” This would be like me saying to you in person, “So, tell me about yourself,” and you responding, “I’m an open book; ask me anything.” Ooo-kayyy… I know you a lot less than you know you; I have much less of an idea of where to start than you do!

Yes, I get it; completing a personal profile is difficult. It is basically going on a job interview for your romantic/sex life. However, showing up for job interviews without pants and refusing to answer any questions limits your employment prospects. Likewise, leaving your online profile blank or with uninformative content limits your dating prospects. Complete your profile — with real information, not pithy demands for your readers to do all the work — before trying to attract others.