Personal Ads

    There have been two basic types of personals since personals became a mainstream way of finding romance. Some people focus on themselves, talking about who they are, what they value, and whatever they think makes them unique and attractive. Others focus on what they're looking for in a partner.

    There is no indication that one of these strategies is overwhelmingly better than the other. Generally people assume that by talking about what you want, you're actually revealing a lot about yourself. If you say you're hoping to meet someone artsy who likes the theater, particularly Ionesco and Guarre, anyone who reads that is going to assume it's because you like those playwrights yourself, not because you're looking for a partner who can do your homework for a required drama class that you hate.

    The Style and Content of Your Personal Ad

    If you are worried that either method of crafting a personal will turn off people who view it, the chances are slight, but probably equal with either type. A few people may have a negative reaction if it seems as though you're just talking about how great you are. For the most part people understand that it's necessary to illuminate many of your best attributes in a personal profile, but if you go to the extreme, you can intimidate or alienate some readers.

    On the flip side, if you are very specific in listing traits that you want in a mate, people may think you're too picky, or may not write to you even if they lack only one or two specific interests or traits that you list. A good rule of thumb is that you should list anything that's truly a passion, but don't list too many things that you only like. If you own several hundred Grateful Dead bootlegs, you should definitely mention how much you love the Dead and ask for replies from other fans. If you think the Constantines are a good band but you rarely listen to their music, don't say you want a partner who likes them or list them as one of your favorites. Gratuitous specificity will keep you from getting the kind of responses you really want or make people feel misled if they determine that you were just trying to seem cool.