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Your lifestyle, your quirk
Trying to get a date online? Did your still-eligible high school crush just accept your friend request? If you’re single and ready to mingle, it might be time to polish your Facebook and dating site profiles. No, I don’t mean changing all of your information to look like you love everything that you think prospective dates like. The trick is to let your own personality shine through in your profile picture, perhaps more than it already is, and keep the feedback positive. It will keep your profile looking presentable to your parents, boss, and friends, on top of love interests. Remember that your profile picture is the first thing people look at when they see your profile and likely the first thing that they click on. It pops up in newsfeeds every time you post something, so it’s pretty important.
A study out of the University of Missouri found that your profile picture can say a lot – or not enough. Participants were shown different profile pictures of the same person with different comments underneath. People tend to find profile pictures with a hint about who you are and what you enjoy doing more attractive than a plain old headshot. These hints are called social cues, and they can be something as simple as a photo of an athlete playing their sport or a musician with their instrument. Try to show something about yourself in your photo. Love to bake? A photo of you and your latest scrumptious creation would do (plus who wouldn’t want to date someone who could whip up something delicious?). If you’re a dog person, use a photo of you and your pup. I’m no researcher, but I would think that having a picture with a social cue would help others see if they have things in common, plus it could provide an icebreaking discussion topic on the first date.
It’s a good thing that Facebook lets you know when someone comments on your photos, because you should keep an eye on those. Comments on a photo had a big impact on perceived attractiveness, be it physical, social, or professional. Researchers found that people gave a lot of weight to other people’s opinions when forming their own. In fact, “Opinions of other people matter more than the target person’s own self-presentation,” said study co-author Seoyeon Hong. If there are lots of compliments under your photo, odds are that others will find your photo more attractive. No matter how great your profile picture is, make sure that your friends don’t post something damaging under it. Hong warns that even silly or sarcastic comments can be taken the wrong way and impact the reader’s perception.
So that’s how to make your profile picture more attractive to others. Easy enough. Pick a photo that shows something about you and your lifestyle and keep track of those comments. And it couldn’t hurt to ask your best friend to post a couple of positive comments on your profile picture if you’ve just added an eligible bachelor to your Facebook friends.