They say you shouldn’t judge a book by the cover, but when it comes to online dating profiles it’s best to read between the lines.

A typical story from a new client: A tall, good-looking guy, making over $150,000 with great photos, emails her. She excitedly gloats, “Finally!!! Someone normal!” She goes full speed ahead – emails back and forth rapidly, and goes on date number one. After four days, for whatever reason, he sends 50 mean/snarky texts between midnight and 3AM. I ask for the guy’s username, and quickly read his profile. Most times, either subtly or overtly, I can detect the “crazy” pretty quickly. What a person says and how they say it says a lot more about them than you realize. I look for these warning signs:

1. Anger
2. Commitment issues
3. Misogynistic attitudes
4. Negativity/bitterness
5. Sexual overtones – subtle or overt

Here are some online dating areas that deserve a look with your magnifying glass:

The Profile Text – Look for the Subliminal – What is he really saying?

1. Negative section(s) on what he doesn’t want. What a man rants or seems angry about often means, I bring these things out in women. Example: “I don’t need any crazy, jealous women” could mean, I will make you jealous and crazy. Another example: “I can’t handle a sad woman” could mean I will make you sad, and don’t want to deal with the consequences.

2. Says he doesn’t want “anything serious.” This is a biggie. We often think, Well, neither am I. But if were on a dating site for a purpose, we may, in fact, be looking for a real relationship. If he says he’s just looking for fun, he is. Proceed with caution!

3. Says he wants “no drama.” This often means he’s emotionally unavailable to anyone and will only do what he wants to do. Anything you ask/express to him will be considered drama. I bring drama out in women and I’m emotionally unavailable.

4. Talks about his personality, with obvious red flags. Real example: “I have an addictive personality. Words like addictive are big red flags. Don’t take them lightly.

5. Mentions a woman’s physical appearance in the first sentence or repeatedly. This means hes superficial and is looking for a short term relationship .

6. Says looking for sexy, foxy or hot. He is superficial and is looking for some quick action in the sack. Warning: If he has pictures with his shirt off and he’s reclining in bed, you know what he’s subliminally telling you.

7. Emphasizes affection/kisses/hugs/cuddling/caressing. This is usually a transparent effort to try to mask sexual overtures. I advise shying away from these guys. Weird/creepy. Guys that have these words in their usernames are also creepy.

8. Mentions sex outright. A huge red flag. Enough said.

9. Mentions drinking or getting drunk too often. Hes a party boy, and might not be your guy unless you want to hang out and clean up his mess at 3am. The First Email: “You’ve got mail!” and more clues – What he writes to you directly is extremely telling.

10. If the first email is too generic and mentions nothing specific about you or your profile, he probably didn’t read your profile and is emailing hundreds of women, meaning your probability of hearing back from this guy is low – especially if you’re around his age.

11. Criticizes something in your profile. He lacks basic interpersonal skills. I’m probably a jerk.

12. Immediately asks you for a drink, date or phone number. Hes too impulsive and wants to hook you quickly before you doubt him.

These are real examples of things I see daily. I advocate for casting your net wide and giving lots of different people a chance, but be smart. Don’t get romanced by great photos and a high salary. Turn your radar on and read between the lines before you agree to go out with someone – and if you’re unsure, seek out someone’s advice on it. Any doubts you have in the beginning will haunt you later, Sherlock, when you return to the scene of the crime, after the break up.


Anna Perkins is a relationship writer who offers her own forthright opinion over the worlds of dating, romance, relationships , marriage and friendships. She loves cats, traveling, spending time with her son and husband.

1 Comment

  1. I would add that if you’re a widow, or recently divorced, some predatory males see you as vulnerable and easy to exploit for many different things. So be extra careful.

Write A Comment