As online dating sites go, I like OkCupid’s the best, because it has a smooth interface, and because its profile process tends to produce more interesting profiles than the other sites I’ve checked out.
To make a long story short, OkCupid has several short-answer sections in its profile, such as “what I’m doing with my life,” “the first thing people usually notice about me” (I give honesty points to women who put “boobs”) and “the six things I could never do without”.
One of these short answers is headlined, “on a typical Friday night I am…”
And I can’t believe some of the answers I’m reading on (female) profiles. I won’t post any examples out of respect for privacy, but they usually go something like this:
“Either at a happy hour, or watching a movie with friends.” [Replace one or both of these with any number of quotidian after-work events.]
It blows my mind how many people are missing the point of the question. It’s not a fact-finding exercise; the point is not to answer the question directly. The point is to give you a springboard, a constrained point of entry to express your personality.
Imagine all the questions you get at a job interview. There’s a subtext to all of them, subtexts you need to hit if you’re going to impress your future workmates. Things like “what do you think is your biggest weakness” is not really about your weakness; they want to hear that you have progressed as a person by identifying a flaw and honing yourself to eliminate it, so they know you can self-correct in the workplace.
Or consider a college admissions essay – they don’t really want to know the factual details of a time where you faced a moral dilemma in your life as a way of examining your character and integrity, they want to know you’re a living breathing person who is interesting and will add to the colorful life of their campus.
I should add this paragraph is a frequent victim of “can’t decide syndrome,” where a woman confesses that she likes to stay in, but likes to go out, enjoys meeting new people but has a core group of long-tenured girlfriends, etc.
A hint: it shows a lot more personality to put paradigms instead of events, like “Friday nights are for unwinding after a week of work” or “I’m getting a head start on the weekend.”