Our advice for successful dating

Article 17

Writing a wonderful personal ad

Your personal ad is where you get to tell prospective partners all about yourself, your chance to make a statement of who you are and what you want. But how to make every word count, how to make your ad really attract the people you want?

The first essential is to keep things short and sweet - better to make every word count than ramble on so readers lose interest. Essential too is to stand out from the crowd - our site has so many great users that you need to make your ad unique and different.

But what to write? As you start your ad, be confident and sound confident. No need for apologies or explanations about why you're internet dating - it's a fantastic thing to do! So sound sure of yourself, excited and enthusiastic about the possibilities of being on the site.

Write about who you are

Next, add some details about who you are, what your life is like, what your passions are. And be honest - neither building yourself up nor putting yourself down. If you write genuinely, you'll feel much more comfortable - and prospective partners will learn about the real you.

It'll help to be specific. Rather than saying you're generous, describe how you threw a party for your friend's 50th; rather than saying you're very active, explain that you ran the marathon.

Plus, be positive. Energy and enthusiasm will always make others want to get to know you. Negativity, on the other hand, will put people off; particularly, don't complain about past relationships. Potential partners want to know that you're optimistic and upbeat, the sort of person who makes relationships work.

Write about what you want

It's great to be specific about who you are - less good to be specific about what you want. Don't go into too much detail or you'll not only rule out huge numbers of people but might miss someone who could be perfect for you.

Equally, don't write about what you don't want. It may be hard to resist warning people off "no time wasters... " but it'll make you seem defensive and temperamental. You can always weed the unsuitables out once you've made contact with them.

Mentioning sex is also a big no-no; of course if you fall for each other you'll probably end up in bed, but referring to sex at this point, even jokingly, gives the wrong impression. (The same is true of desperate mentions of marriage and children!) You wouldn't immediately mention sex or babies to someone you met in a bar; it's equally unwise to do it online.

Sign off well

End your ad with a friendly 'call to action' - "I'd love to meet up", "Why not get in touch?". You want potential partners to feel good about the prospect of getting to know you - they will if it's clear you feel good about the prospect of getting to know them!

And remember to update. A detail may become inaccurate, you might find a better anecdote to include - or you get a much clearer idea of the sort of person you're looking for. Check your ad every few weeks - and improve it if you can.

A final point, about the username you choose. That's the first thing that other members will know about you, the first impression they have of you. So make it memorable, confident and appealing rather than over sexy or a self put-down. Call yourself "Mr (or Ms) Miserable", and you'll get far fewer approaches than if you confidently style yourself "Ms (or Mr) Happy."!

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