As you might have noticed, I have just ventured into the world of matchmaking. Part of the process is inviting applicants to fill in some details about themselves. I don't know if it's because we don't encourage self expression in India, or because written communication is sometimes hard, but many people seem to get stuck at the 'About Me' section.
Why is this section important? Because you are more than a checklist, more than a list of beliefs of even hobbies. (You are definitely way more than your height, weight, complexion, salary or degrees which is why those aren't even a part of the form.)
You are a unique, unrepeatable creation of God, and it is that unique person that needs to shine out of a profile. When another person reads that profile, they need to get a glimpse of YOU, not a generic list of traits that could be practically anyone. Easier said than done though, right?
Here are some tips that might make it easier:
1. Be prepared to write at least two short paragraphs for each of these type of questions (or more, if you feel inspired.) A few adjectives on their own don't say much. Set aside some time to think and prepare what you want to say and how you want to describe yourself. If you don't care enough to work on it, it is less likely that someone viewing your profile will care enough to pursue the person behind the description.
2. Think of some of the words that could describe you. It could describe the work you do, the things you get excited about, your skills and talents, your good qualities, your quirks and oddities.
3. Ask a close friend (or a few of them) to describe you as they see you, and if their descriptions seem apt, use them. I once wrote a dating profile for a close friend, and she loved it because I knew her well and was able to encapsulate what made her unique and lovable.
4. Be very honest. Don't make yourself sound more or less than you really are. Don't be afraid to be yourself, because it is the real you that you are taking into dating and marriage. Just don't make yourself sound like a paragon of all the virtues, or joke about real vices.
5. Don't write generic words like god-fearing, caring, homely, etc. Try to find either more specific words or explain what you mean. 'I love cooking and finding ways to care for the people in my family.' 'I value family prayer and always try to do what God asks me to do.'
6. If you're still having a hard time, here are a list of words or phrases as well as questions you can ask yourself that might spark ideas. Don't just pick from this list, but try to be creative in your choice of words, and think deeply about what YOU are like, and what YOU want.
What are some words that describe your personality?
Examples: Funny, loud, adventurous, over-thinker, positive, lively, chatty, easygoing, control freak, hardworking, honest, blunt, serious, organized, ambitious, exuberant, high energy, mischievous, sarcastic, simple, lifelong learner, introvert, extrovert, life of the party, good listener, quiet, thoughtful, always on the move, deep thinker, active, introspective, sensitive, outgoing, quirky, unconventional, emotional, empathetic, compassionate, motivated, competitive, goal-oriented, neat freak, absent-minded, patient, creative, practical, trustworthy, reliable, energetic, loyal, non-judgmental, determined, passionate, persistent, decisive, loner, daydreamer, independent, contemplative, prayerful, lover of people, lover of God, peaceful.
What do you like to spend your time on?
Examples: I love making birthday cards for my friends, you can usually find me playing online word games, I spend a lot of time baking and trying out new recipes for my family, I love talking to people and finding out what makes them tick, I love my job and spend a lot of time learning more about my field, my friends and I put on karaoke videos on Youtube and sing and dance for fun (we are a crazy bunch), I am obsessed with cars and can identify the make and model of most cars as I pass them, I tend to watch a lot of documentaries, I love gardening and have started growing some vegetables, I often go out with friends and listen to their problems and counsel them, I love organizing social events for people to get together, I spend most weekends running or climbing mountains or finding new physical challenges to conquer, I love hanging out with my family and chatting about everything over a cup of tea. I spend a lot of time reading Catholic blogs and study apologetics for fun. I am in a worship band and we get together every weekend to sing God's praises. I tutor underprivileged kids on the weekends.
What are some dreams or hopes you have?*
Examples: I hope to start an NGO one day that reaches out to street children and gives them a safe place to study and play. I am trying to read 50 books this year. I hope to visit all the continents of the world with my family. I would love to learn more about the bible and even teach others about it. I hope to start my own catering business one day (maybe with the help of my spouse). I want to buy a car, have a bunch of kids and do road trips all over India. I would love to be part of a musical. I want to start my own vegetable garden.
What kind of family and marriage do you hope to have?
Examples: I want to have the kind of home and family where the poor are always welcome to share a meal. I hope my spouse and I will be able to grow together and learn together about how to keep our marriage strong. I would like to be able to communicate well with my spouse in a way where we both feel comfortable sharing the little, big, and most intimate details of our life. I would love to do ministry with my spouse, reaching out to others and sharing Jesus together. I would like a marriage where we are equals, sharing responsibilities especially in the home and in raising children. I visualize a family that is an active part of a Christian community, not isolated or alone. I would like my spouse and I to teach our children to love God and to be adventurous in serving Him. I want an honest marriage where we are comfortable talking about our past wounds and helping each other heal. I would like a marriage where in-laws and outsiders do not interfere and we make our own choices according to God's will.
What kind of spouse are you hoping for?
Examples: Someone who listens to and respects my desires and thoughts and feelings. Someone who loves God and puts Him first. Someone who is calm even in the face of trials and provocation. Someone who is financially responsible and willing to work hard for the sake of the family. Someone who is affectionate and loving. Someone who is as adventurous as I am. Someone who supports my desire to stay home and focus on our young children. Someone who is comfortable with sharing household and parenting responsibilities. Someone who is willing to support me in my dreams and career. Someone who does not drink alcohol (or drinks only occasionally in moderation). Someone who will be a good father. Someone who will prioritize family over career. Someone who is willing to be part of the prayer community that I am in. Someone who will love my family as his/her own. Someone who will love me in spite of my health issues. Someone who flexible and adaptable.
Examples of deal-breakers: Someone who expects me to join the joint family and become like a servant of the home. Someone who will not accept the responsibility of my aged parents. Someone who is a workaholic. Someone who loses his/her temper and shouts and screams when angry. Someone who is very introverted. Someone who will not allow me to work outside the home. Someone who is controlling. Someone who is very conservative or liberal. Someone who smokes or drinks. Someone who only wants one or two children. Someone who cares too much about what people say (or what their parents say). Someone who is not open to my charismatic prayer community. Someone who does not follow the teachings of the Church. Someone who hates dogs. Someone who is too serious and doesn't like to go for movies or parties. Someone who is too frivolous and only likes to play, never pray.
Examples of non-negotiables (this overlaps with deal-breakers): I can only marry someone who is willing to move to my city. I am only open to someone who is willing to prioritize prayer and the spiritual life of our family. I am only open to someone who has lived away from home for some time (for work/studies). I am only open to someone willing to take at least a few months to date/court/get to know each other. I need someone who is willing to accept my choice to live as a missionary. I need someone who is fluent in English/ my mother tongue.
Picking a profile pic: Let people get a glimpse of who you really are by giving a real smile, taking a close up photo, and removing all obstacles like sunglasses or hats. Stand up straight, no need to pose in front of a car or bike, be casual but alive. A photo says so much. And it isn't too difficult to get good quality photos these days - just catch a friend with a good phone camera, find a nice backdrop (nature is usually great), be willing to pose for a few shots and choose the best one.
Anything to add? Any other ideas or suggestions for writing dating or matrimonial profiles?