Personal Ad Cliches: Five Things to Avoid when Writing Your Online Profile

If you’re about to sign up for Yahoo Personals,,, or one of the other dating-oriented websites, you ostensibly want to stand out (subtly) from the crowd by creating an original ad. Although there’s no universally correct way to draft an online profile for attracting dream dates, there are some personal ad cliches that you may want to avoid. Here are five things that make me cringe – or at least roll my eyes – when I am reading through personal ads.

Personal Ad Cliches: 1. Assuring People of Your Normalcy
It seems like almost half of the profiles and personal ads out there include the requisite declaration of average-personness. You may want to seem modest and approachable, but asserting “I am normal” or “I am down-to-earth” makes you seem remarkably uncompelling and suspiciously self-convincing. Are you singularly capable of declaring what’s normal? What are the standards? Another personal ad clichÃ?© in this vein is the proclamation that you are “easygoing.” The problem with these descriptors is that most people see themselves as normal, down-to-earth, and easygoing – even if they’re not. After all, who proudly declares “I’m abnormal, aloof, and incorrigible“? So, leave the judgments about your own normalcy out of personal ads and let other people ascertain how down-to-earth and easygoing you are on the basis of the ad’s content.

Personal Ad Cliches: 2. Attempting to Dissuade Game-Players
Apparently the old Joe South song, “Games People Play,” has been covered too many times. For decades, pop music has been littered with the metaphor of game-playing in relation to love, and it’s spilled over into personal ads. When writing an online profile, don’t tell people you’re “not into games” or that you want “serious replies only” and “no BS.” If someone is indeed a game-player (whatever that means), chances are that 1) the person doesn’t know it, and/or 2) your warning will not dissuade him or her from rolling dice on your board anyway.

Personal Ad Cliches: 3. Decrying the Art of Ad-Writing
I’m no good at these things” and “I never know what to say in personal ads.” Those statements, however sincere, don’t tell people anything about you – except that, perhaps, you lack the capacity to translate your self-awareness into words. If the purpose of the online profile is to describe yourself, telling people that you’re unable or unwilling to is kind of self-defeating.

Personal Ad Cliches: 4. Explaining Away Your Photo
We’ve all, at times, resorted to self-deprecation out of insecurity. But it gets tired. Don’t make excuses for the pic you’ve included in your profile by captioning it with “I know the pic sucks” or “Boring old me” or “Me looking lame as usual.” Proudly include your photo without self-effacing remarks, and if you really don’t like the pic you have, get a new one.

Personal Ad Cliches: 5. Proclaiming Your Versatility
So many people declare this as a point of pride in online profiles that it has become trite. It’s commonly worded something like: “I enjoy going out and partying, but I also love curling up at home with that special someone.” Some people put it in terms of social venues, saying, “I am just as comfortable at the theatre or opera as I am at a backyard barbecue or campground.” I know that you want to show folks how adaptable and flexible you are, but you end up sounding like an retail associate overeagerly selling a reversible hoodie. Let the diversity of your interests speak for itself.

Are there other personal ad cliches you’d add to the list? Leave a comment on this article, or sign up and write your own content at AC.

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