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Show ALL Forums  > Dating and Love Advice  > Listing what you do NOT want...      Home login  
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 Sweet_Danimal
Joined: 6/22/2012
Msg: 1
Listing what you do NOT want...Page 1 of 2    (1, 2)
From all that I have read and written on this subject, I still firmly believe that listing positives in an internet dating profile - what you LIKE or prefer - will always be more effective and finding a better match than listing what you do not.

I'd like to hear someone with evidence to the contrary - that someone who made up a profile with a list of 'Do Not's' was actually MORE effective in finding what they wanted. Has it worked for you?

My initial argument is that by listing what you don't want - is NOT being unique - not showing individuality. Most negatives that people list - being already married, a liar, etc... - most of those are already common to everyone in here. There's nothing special about saying you don't want a psychopath or douchebag.

I think the part many people struggle with is what they DO want. Some fear alienating large groups of their audience and lowering their 'chances' by getting specific, while others are afraid to reveal too much about themselves, and yet others still simply do NOT know exactly what they want.

I believe listing your positive preferences reveals a great deal about your own views of life and your personality, but being vague or negative still seems to be more common than being unique. Am I wrong?
 Maleman999
Joined: 2/14/2010
Msg: 2
Listing what you do NOT want...
Posted: 7/5/2014 9:29:19 AM
I agree that listing what you want is more effective than listing what you don't want. Most people have the exact same generic do NOT want list. But there is a limitation to the want list. Some women's want list is a mile long with unrealistic expectations (I imagine women will come on here saying the same thing about men's profiles), looking for that perfect male specimen, with the obligatory "I will not settle for less" comment. It's time to take off the rose colored glasses.
 kcycrs
Joined: 11/23/2006
Msg: 3
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Listing what you do NOT want...
Posted: 7/5/2014 10:14:57 AM
I see listing what someone doesn't want often as a negative. And I say this because they often list such things as liars, cheaters, drama, married, and similar things. Most people don't want these things in a future date/partner. So why list them? Those kind of people (liars, cheaters, and such) won't really be deterred. They'll just see it as another challenge for them. In the meantime, I'll feel as if I would have to prove myself as not being among the pariahs listed rather than being a fun date.

When I had an active dating profile I tried to be positive and give the reader an idea of the kind of person I am. Then it's up to the reader to decide if I'm worthy.
 IgorFrankensteen
Joined: 6/29/2009
Msg: 4
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Listing what you do NOT want...
Posted: 7/5/2014 10:43:11 AM
I think you are looking at this from the wrong perspective, and asking for the wrong response.

Whenever anyone asks what "works" in a profile, they aren't asking an accurately answerable question.

Look at the way this all works (or doesn't):

A profile is written, a pic posted to it, and it either leads to two (or more) people getting together or it doesn't. If the profile "works," it might be just because of the picture, it might be because the person reading it liked what they read.

More than anything else, it depends on the inner nature of the person who reads the profile and makes the first move. Someone reading an all "Don'ts" profile who is also a supreme positivist, might cheerfully react by saying "Cool! I pass all the tests!" Someone who is convinced that a list of "don'ts" indicates a person with ego problems or psychological problems, might react by crossing them off their list immediately.

Whatever happens, when things work out to deduce that it was the "don'ts" list that made everything work (or not) requires guesswork, even by the participants.

A smooth-talking player might explain to you that they get what they want because they ARE such smooth talkers, not even realizing themselves, that what is actually doing the trick for them is the money they spend, or the fact that they are attractive in another way that makes the people they "get" IGNORE the smooth talk altogether.
 south_city
Joined: 10/12/2013
Msg: 5
Listing what you do NOT want...
Posted: 7/5/2014 11:04:01 PM
A long list "do not want" list can be about obvious things such as men that are married, just looking for sex etc. Or it can reveal that a person is very picky. I tend to avoid very picky people even when I match their requirements. They are often very demanding and hard to please in general.
 Bebedeleau
Joined: 2/25/2013
Msg: 6
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Listing what you do NOT want...
Posted: 7/6/2014 1:11:17 AM
I don't want to see a list of what a person DOES want either. Undoubtedly I'll see something on the list that is "not me" (or I think is 'not me') and not contact them. If I do think I 'fit' reasonably well into their list, I'm probably not going to contact them just because they have a list or because I don't want to feel like I have to "live up to" their preferences.

Why not approach dating online like you would in "real life". You wouldn't run that list past someone you just met.


Averagewhitechick: I like how you listed yours simply and in one sentence as "deal breakers." Short, concise and firmly put. No lengthily explanations or rants. I would like to see that on profiles more often, if it needed to be said.
 windchymes
Joined: 11/29/2008
Msg: 7
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Listing what you do NOT want...
Posted: 7/6/2014 5:24:00 AM
It depends on the list and what they don't want. I don't mind brief statements like "non-smokers only, D & D free, no long-distance/within XX number of miles, etc." And limits on body type (no fat chicks!) are just not going to go away.

But when they start on rants like "If you're a psycho hose beast gold-digger with half a dozen brats with different fathers, don't bother, move on!", to me it sounds like they've got baggage from past relationships that they haven't dealt with yet. Sure, we've all got baggage, but why scold and lecture people in your profile that you haven't even met yet? (I actually saw that once in a profile, lol)

Another one I hate: "Don't waste my time!" Hey, your time is no more valuable than mine. We all have to put the time into cultivating relationships and weeding out the bad ones.
 Strings6
Joined: 7/14/2007
Msg: 8
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Listing what you do NOT want...
Posted: 7/6/2014 6:51:49 AM
Nothing wrong with saying what you don't want if it is done in a polite way,anyone who is offended is somebody you don't want anyway.
 jessebunnies
Joined: 2/18/2013
Msg: 9
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Listing what you do NOT want...
Posted: 7/6/2014 7:26:18 AM
Sometimes listing things that you don't want is actually important for clarifying what you do want. I have found that people use this site for all different reasons and by stating what you don't want it helps match people who have similar goals, interests and ideas. Additionally your grouping people here that have very different ideas about dating and relationships, so therefore it's important to be direct with your expectations of these things.

While I hate seeing things like "no fat chicks" or "drama free" in some ways these are just examples of being direct with the audience about the way that person see's their future relationship or the people their attracted to. Why waste time writing and/or meeting a guy who won't be attracted to you or who doesn't want to put effort into communicating in a relationship.

For me it's a balance in a profile. You should have positives of course but a few negatives probably won't be huge deterrent either.
 Sweet_Danimal
Joined: 6/22/2012
Msg: 10
Listing what you do NOT want...
Posted: 7/6/2014 9:32:29 AM
I've got one big negative in my profile right now, and I tried to sum up as much as I could about what turns me off in a single sentence...

I grew up in a rural area, and in general am not impressed by urban princesses looking for resume builders or status upgrades.

It can be easily mis-interpreted six ways to Sunday, and I'm sure it already has. But being concise about your feelings can be tough, and I think in general it's damn tough to squeeze out a decent description without going into multiple sentences. The rest of my profile text is already long and somewhat boring. I agree that short and sweet is the better way to go, but that's not how I write, so it's always a challenge to be concise without being misunderstood.

Catch phrases like "Drama Free" bug me because of their vagueness. Nobody has ever come up with a definition of 'Drama' that everyone can agree upon.

There's a point when too many details don't work as well. Occasionally people actually describe their fantasy 'match' in a profile with a whole descriptive paragraph - but I wonder how many people get turned off just because they are lacking in one or maybe two details in the description, or write them off as 'too picky' because they bothered to GO into that kind of detail.

Because love is blind, and we've all seen so many examples of how people fall in love even though they don't 'Match' in any normal way whatsoever, an experienced person will realize there is a TON of 'gray area' is all of these declarative statements - positive OR negative. Attraction happens from anywhere and everywhere, and I think people who hide behind their wall of 'deal breakers' a lot of times are just scared to attempt connections because of what's happened before. It's safe, to be sure. But it's not moving forward.
 gtomustang
Joined: 6/16/2007
Msg: 11
Listing what you do NOT want...
Posted: 7/6/2014 1:21:44 PM
well, let's really play with your head.

why do you think a person keeps finding the same type of wrong person, over and over again?

you likely know the answer--they found WHAT THEY WERE LOOKING FOR. they passed up all the other people around them, to find that one who waved the same red flag they wave. its not the bad habit that turns them off, its getting burned by the bad habit, that turns them off.

so, if listing negatives tends to attract those people...then yes...they do find the very thing they are looking so hard for. if listing negatives doesn't attract those people...then well...they still go out and find those people who make them feel comfortable about who they are and the bad habits they share in common.

of course, cynic charges aside, most people still will ignore a red flag flown by a hottie.
that's likely why some freak out so much about a person who puts limits on their profile. hello? why do you want someone who has a history of jerkoff partners? what do you want their baggage put into your life for? b/c they're hot, that's why. if they don't want you, you're better off. it wasn't a good fit.

best way to find a healthy person? be one yourself. unhealthy people feel like wool underwear in July around you, when you're a healthy person. their drama is easy to spot--none of it is in your life, so it seems so weird. it doesn't make sense to you, that they intentionally put themselves into bad places where they can receive bad responses. their acting/reacting without any sense of self-respect whatsoever, will put your teeth on edge.

 phule
Joined: 4/8/2004
Msg: 12
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Listing what you do NOT want...
Posted: 7/6/2014 2:31:43 PM
Evidence to the contrary... I don't know.

I mean... if you tell the waiter what you want, you are paying cash, and you expect to get exactly what you want. You don't walk into a restaurant and tell the waiter the list of things you do NOT want... right? Wrong. If you look at the item on the menu, and you don't like certain things, you say so. You say "I want the Big Burger, but I don't want onions on that" or "I don't want the dressing on the salad, I want it on the side"

What is the difference between saying "I want an honest guy" and "I don't want a liar in my life"? Ok... one is positive, and one is negative. They both imply that there has been dishonesty in the past... or at the very least someone who has observed issues that people have with dishonesty in their relationships. So... it comes down to the positive and negative aspects alone.

How many times have you gone into a food establishment (restaurant, fast food, supermarket, etc) with the clear memories of the things you DO NOT WANT, but without a clear idea of what you do want? Let me provide a little concrete information to flesh that out.

You know you do not like fish, because it always gives you the violent poops afterwards. So, you stand in front of the counter, looking at the menu, attempting to determine exactly what you DO want... knowing full well before you even walked through the door what you did NOT want to eat.

Simply put... many people don't know exactly what they want... but they have a clear picture of what they do NOT want.

So really... you are looking for commentary on why people cannot find ways to take the lists of things they do not want and put a positive spin on each item in the list? AKA why can't people just be more positive?

I don't know. Why can't people just assimilate information, regardless of whether or not it has positive or negative connotations?
 rockin-trucker82
Joined: 1/4/2014
Msg: 13
Listing what you do NOT want...
Posted: 7/6/2014 2:39:54 PM
I think listing it either way is pointless.

Find me one profile of a woman looking for a drama filled, married, liar, living in his parent's house, who cheats on his wife, is unemployed, doesn't drive, has no ambition, and just wants to live off the girl's income for life. And he has to be unattractive.

What's the point of telling us? Is it, no matter how you say it, saying that you want a responsible adult who makes it tingle?
 phule
Joined: 4/8/2004
Msg: 14
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Listing what you do NOT want...
Posted: 7/6/2014 3:02:05 PM

I think listing it either way is pointless.

Do you mean that you believe it is pointless to type it up in a bullet-style listing, as opposed to fleshing out the list as a detailed series of paragraphs? Or do you mean that providing information as to what you like/want and what you don't like/want on a dating profile is pointless? There is a massive difference between the two.

What's the point of providing information about what you like/want? Culling the herd. People who are not into hiking, generally won't pursue someone who is an avid hiker. People who are actively going to the gym every day won't pursue someone who thinks that Chocolate makes up most of the major food groups. People who like country music and don't like rap music won't pursue people who adamantly loathe country music and drive around blaring rap music to their neighborhoods.

Letting people know what you like and what you don't like, when those "people" are faceless masses attempting to search through hundreds of thousands of profiles to find someone who appears marginally compatible, is how you reduce the number of replies you get.


I'm just not looking to force anything. I'm taking the time to find the type of person I deserve.


I like to hang out with friends on sundays during football season and watch some games. I'm not big into partying, I'd rather just hang out at a quiet bar with 1 or 2 friends and have a drink, and not have to yell to them to talk, but I do like seeing bands too.

... from your profile. It seems you contradict yourself here. What's the point of telling us that you are not looking to force anything and that you are taking your time? What's the point of telling us that you like to hang out with friends and when and what you like to do with them? What's the point in telling us that you aren't big into partying? What's the point in telling us that you like seeing bands?

So while you say here that there is no point in putting on the profile what you like and don't like, you are actually guilty of doing that very thing. That's a contradiction.

One more thing... if you put your likes and dislikes on your profile because you like doing things you believe are pointless.... why isn't that information ALSO on your profile?
 rockin-trucker82
Joined: 1/4/2014
Msg: 15
Listing what you do NOT want...
Posted: 7/6/2014 3:13:02 PM

Do you mean that you believe it is pointless to type it up in a bullet-style listing, as opposed to fleshing out the list as a detailed series of paragraphs? Or do you mean that providing information as to what you like/want and what you don't like/want on a dating profile is pointless? There is a massive difference between the two.


I mean the second one. Ultimately we all want the same thing. Nobody ever finds someone that fills these criteria 100%, or that doesn't fit a just one thing that they don't want.

And then what we want, how often is that set in stone? I want a musician, but I've dated way more women who didn't play an instrument than the 2 who did.

What I put is explaining the type of person I am. If a girl I'm dating wants to go to the club, she's free to go, that's not going to be a deal-breaker, I'm just not that likely to go along. I'd rather go to a quiet bar. That's in no way limiting myself to only girls who don't party a lot, but it's letting them know that I'm not the partier.

I'm describing me, not who the girl should be.
 Sweet_Danimal
Joined: 6/22/2012
Msg: 16
Listing what you do NOT want...
Posted: 7/6/2014 5:01:47 PM
I'm describing me, not who the girl should be.

But who you are tells them nothing of who you like. Who you "describe" as yourself is still a matter of your own opinion, and doesn't have to be believed - or shared - by anyone. Once again, you're playing it safe - only talking about yourself - but how you will react to any other type of personality is anyone's guess - except yours. Approaching you is a blind shot in the dark. Nobody wants to take blind chances anymore. Women are timid enough about messaging guys, so don't you think even a LITTLE encouragement is needed?
 rockin-trucker82
Joined: 1/4/2014
Msg: 17
Listing what you do NOT want...
Posted: 7/6/2014 5:05:04 PM
Without the ability to talk without it being into planning a date, there will be no relationship. We have to be able to communicate, find common ground, you know, be social. It's not really a shot in the dark with me because I'll talk to almost anyone.

But if we can't do this basic conversation, there's no way of anything more coming from it.

I don't necessarily look for an exact personaliy, I look for someone that makes me want to spend that time with her.
 FullMoonGuy
Joined: 3/7/2014
Msg: 18
Listing what you do NOT want...
Posted: 7/6/2014 7:36:50 PM

I don't know. Why can't people just assimilate information, regardless of whether or not it has positive or negative connotations?


Probably because so many people are not good at analyzing things, so therefore they need everything spoon-fed to them in a certain way so that they don't have to think about it too much.
 Eric_Summit
Joined: 11/3/2009
Msg: 19
Listing what you do NOT want...
Posted: 7/6/2014 11:30:11 PM
Exhaustive and endless "demand" lists (whether positive or negative...) quickly grow tiresome for me.
The good thing is that it somewhat helps to eliminate people who employ them out to the Nth-degree.
List a couple of things to ensure two people are somewhat in the ballpark with each other and figure the rest over a drink.
 Sweet_Danimal
Joined: 6/22/2012
Msg: 20
Listing what you do NOT want...
Posted: 7/7/2014 9:47:40 AM

List a couple of things to ensure two people are somewhat in the ballpark with each other and figure the rest over a drink.

+1 - But I don't think I've ever had a woman message me unless they thought they were at the EXACT same level of interest for 'things' 1 and 2. They were rarely correct. Often times you really don't know how much they care about a particular issue, so it's always a guessing game - but at least having a list - is SOMETHING to start from.

Do people agree - listing something under 'Interests' should never mean 'Requirements' in a POF profile?
 phule
Joined: 4/8/2004
Msg: 21
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Listing what you do NOT want...
Posted: 7/7/2014 1:06:50 PM
Actually... listing positive things that you like or are interested in, is built into the profile system. You fill out your interests... listing them in their most simplest forms separated by a comma. The profile then turns them into searchable keywords.

So... if you like Live Bands, Progressive Rock, Local Bands, Heavy Metal.... you list those things that way at the bottom of the profile.... and then when you view My Matches, there will be a number under some of the pictures... that number is the number of common interests you have with that person.

This means that you don't necessarily need to "list" them in the body of the profile... you don't really need to state things that you like if you have put those likes into the automated system designed to assist you in finding someone compatible. Typing them up in the body can end up being redundant. However, there isn't an automated system in place to handle dislikes... so anything that was a deal breaker (won't date someone with more than six kids, won't date someone who has been married more than three times, won't date someone who doesn't like Muenster cheese, etc) would HAVE to be "listed" in the profile.

I think it is necessary to have a mixture of one degree or another, if you want to create a profile that is going to give the most complete picture possible. All of us... every one of us... has likes and dislikes. If a profile was nothing but a huge "I don't like" list then sure... that would be a turn off. Just as if the profile came across as nothing but sunshine and unicorns we would all be suspicious. Hell... if someone doesn't include the negative fact that they can't eat peanuts because they have an allergy that would result in death (Can't, death... negative things) then terrible events could ensue. That potential surprise date to the Peanut Butter Fondue Factory could result in tears and an ambulance ride.
 south_city
Joined: 10/12/2013
Msg: 22
Listing what you do NOT want...
Posted: 7/7/2014 7:34:05 PM

A long list "do not want" list can be about obvious things such as men that are married, just looking for sex etc. Or it can reveal that a person is very picky. I tend to avoid very picky people even when I match their requirements. They are often very demanding and hard to please in general.


I should add a long list of must haves can also reveal a very picky person.
 activemelaney
Joined: 9/8/2012
Msg: 23
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Listing what you do NOT want...
Posted: 7/8/2014 9:28:53 AM
I didn't use any negatives. I really didn't care if the 'wrong' guys contacted me...delete...delete...delete... 10 seconds. What I wanted was for the 'right' man to message me....and he did. Then I went over every word of his profile and message. I took my time crafting one in return. A week later we were nuts about each other.

Not difficult to be positive...,get a high from hiking and cycling...appreciate the yummy taste of healthy food...I want you to hold my hand when we walk...make each other the center of our universe...value your education and curious about the world'. Better than saying no overweight, uneducated Bubbas.

As for 'no liars, cheats, druggies, etc.'...please...this makes a woman come across as trailer trash who has experienced men from the same pool. The only thing worse is a negative reference to a past relationship...she/he still has enough baggage to open an airline terminal. The funniest is 'no players'...that's like a store advertising 'no shoplifters allowed'.

More practical variables are givens in the basic info...age, location, children, marital status. If someone lied there then they re going to lie and respond regardless. No need to say nobody over 'x' age...or 'x' far away. You can read on the profile this info if they message you.
'
 HawkingJr
Joined: 4/16/2007
Msg: 24
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Listing what you do NOT want...
Posted: 7/8/2014 1:35:25 PM
I experimented a lot with this topic when I first signed onto POF and was changing my profile every few weeks. Not so much the “do NOT wants,” because I’ve never been foolish enough to take a chance with any negativity in my profile, but rather the “DO wants.” As it turns out, most “DO wants” are just “do NOT wants” in disguise.

The #1 “DO want” that would kill my activity on this site instantaneously upon it being added to my profile was seeking or prefer to date “an intelligent/smart woman.” That was truly the ultimate poison pill. Mostly because nearly every woman that has ever messaged me on this site has been rather obviously unintelligent, and the vast majority who have even viewed me profile at all (in non-stealth mode) have also been obviously unintelligent. So if I left that “want” off my profile, I would get a (very lame) message every few weeks, but if I included it, I could go months without a word from anyone, while still registering about the same amount of views. Most of the women I have dated from other sources including real life situations haven’t been very bright either, so apparently my physical appearance just attracts the unintelligent, or more likely, the intelligent aren’t attracted to my physical appearance, leaving only the unintelligent who find me attractive (or don’t find me unattractive).

If you followed the logic of that last sentence, then you are probably not attracted to me.

I actually can’t recall any other “DO wants” I’ve experimented with. I’m not going to date an obese woman (again) but what is really the point of turning off some non-obese women or confusing some “few extra pounds” women (who I usually will date) by saying something (ANYTHING) about a woman’s body type in my profile? I don’t like kids but I wouldn’t go so far as to call that a deal breaker. Really, I’m not all that picky at all, and with a POF lifetime average of 1 first contact message every 3 months (and 1 in the past 1.5 years), it’s not like I have to do any real weeding around here. I just state who I am and the kinds of things I like to do in my profile and hope that a woman will contact me who sees those things as positives. It has never happened in 7.5 years on the site (as most of the women who have contacted me don’t even seem to have read my profile), but maybe one day.

There are many thousands of women on this site in my area and I don’t have time to contact all of them that I find attractive. Which is why a woman with a list of “do NOT wants” is just about an automatic skip for me. It’s a big turn-off to read them even if they don’t disqualify me, even if they somehow managed to do it in a non-hostile manner (highly unlikely). I don’t mind some “DO wants” because I understand that most women on here have to do some weeding, though ironically the kind of guys they’re trying to weed out are usually the kind of guys that don’t read their profiles before contacting them anyway. activemelaney has a pretty good approach to this concept.

I ran across the most awesome negative-disguised-as-a-positive in a woman’s profile just last week. She was about 5’7” and said “I am almost six feet tall in heels, and I love heels, so this should not bother you!” Whereas most women say “I am six feet tall in heels so you need to be at least six feet tall to date me,” she turned that on its head and made it the guy’s problem. I thought that was just so cool. I wanted to send her a Webby.
 FullMoonGuy
Joined: 3/7/2014
Msg: 25
Listing what you do NOT want...
Posted: 7/8/2014 1:38:07 PM

Most people have the exact same generic do NOT want list.


I find that most people also have pretty much the same generic DO want list:

Looking for someone honest, open, trustworthy, faithful, outgoing, successful, ambitious, playful, affectionate, generous, fun, active, etc.
Virtually no one is looking for someone with negative traits.
Which is fine, except that everyone starts to sound like they are all looking for the same generic person.
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