Wouldn’t it be wonderful to know what a guy or girl whose online profile strikes your fancy is like before you actually go on a date? While you can't truly get to know a person before you meet them, dating experts say there are signs that can indicate whether you'll be a match. Or, as is more common, whether you should run for the hills. Here are eight red flags to look out for:
1. THE PROFILE IS IN BROKEN OR STILTED ENGLISH.
Bela Gandhi, Chicago-based author of The 4 Commandments of Online Dating Success and president of the Smart Dating Academy, tells mental_floss that if the person in the profile doesn’t sound like he’s a native English speaker, then he probably isn’t one—and chances are, he's writing to you from a country far, far away. If you're interested, feel free to strike up a conversation, but be on the lookout for indicators that the profile is a scam. Never wire anyone you haven't met money—no matter how cute they are in their picture.
2. THERE'S ONLY ONE PHOTO.
A lack of photos could mean the person isn't who he or she claims to be, Gandhi says. Try taking the profile pic and doing a reverse image search on Google by saving it to your desktop and then dragging the photo into the search bar. “See where else that photo sits on the Internet,” Gandhi says. Too good to be true is often too good to be true.
3. HE HAS AN X-RATED SCREEN NAME.
“Let’s face it, men want to have sex, but many are also looking for real relationships,” says Julie Spira, Los Angeles-based author of The Perils of Cyber-Dating. But if he is only looking for sex, he’ll probably give you a hint by using a bunch of Xs in his screen name, she says.
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4. HE OR SHE ALWAYS SEEMS TO BE PARTYING.
Look closely at all of the profile's photos. Is your prospective date always holding a drink, at a bar, or looking sloppy? “If he’s out for St. Patrick’s Day or Mardi Gras, that’s fine,” Gandhi says. “He’s marketing himself in those photos, and if [that sort of social life is] what’s important to you, that’s fine.” But if you’re done with spending your nights and weekends at parties and bars, then move past this profile. “People show us who they are, and it’s up to us to believe them,” Gandhi says.
5. HE OR SHE IS TOO NEGATIVE.
Too many "nos" is a big no-no. If the profile says, “Please don’t contact me if x, y, or z," “I hate liars,” or something similar, then it’s a hint that he’s simply a negative or angry person, Gandhi says. “Don’t waste your time,” she says.
6. THE PHOTOS ARE ALL BLURRY.
A slap-dash profile with low-quality photos shows that its creator is not taking online dating seriously, Spira says. Just as bad: photos where the dater's face is covered by sunglasses. “Look for profile photos where someone looks their best, where they are smiling and looking happy,” Spira says.
7. HE OR SHE MENTIONS WANTING TO GET PHYSICAL.
“If he mentions something physical, then he’s looking for a hookup,” Gandhi says. This could be anything from kissing in front of the fireplace to making love on the beach to something more explicit. “If it skeeves you out, it’s a red flag.”
8. THE PROFILE IS TOO SHORT OR TOO LONG.
If the profile lacks key information, it means its creator didn’t put much effort into it or is a bad writer and decided not to ask for help. “If you want a job but aren’t a good writer, you hire someone to help,” Gandhi says. “How much initiative does this person have?” If the profile is rambling or contains TMI, it means this person might be a bit self-absorbed, or at least monopolize the conversation.