Drama-free: The single phrase that is ruining your online dating profile

Browse through enough online dating profiles and one of the most common phrases one will encounter is “drama-free” or these close variants: “not looking for drama” and “no drama”.

Finding love online is not easy. Online dating can be confusing because of intentions that run the gamut from one-time hookup, friends with benefits, flirting, third wheel, text friend, professional networking, companion, troll, and finally someone you would like to meet with the possibility of developing into something more if all goes well. Add to this the difficulty in transitioning efforts online to offline chemistry and well there is going to be some frustration, miscommunication and failed expectations.

There can be some drama when it comes to online dating sites/apps when it comes to communication: when to ask out the other person once the two have matched, where to meet on a first date, how to seem interested but not overly eager and desperate to just being honest, timely and considerate. People have a hard enough time communicating in person; digital devices can make it more confusing with emojis, typos, response time and lack of clarity.

Being upfront and honest coupled with using good judgement will help to identify people who are a waste of time due to immaturity or lack of compatibility. Nothing is ever 100%. Dating sites and apps are platforms for introductions much like a bar or cafe. One still has to evaluate people on cues (photos used, grammar in profile, choice of app/site but also more subtle cues like background, others in photos, poses and general gut feel.)

No one loves drama or at least freely admit that they seek it out. When one sees ‘drama-free’ or variants of that phrase and the immediate thought that pops into the mind is that the person has either dealt with lots of drama in the past or at least has a disposition to not do a well enough job to filter out such people in their lives. Wanting a drama-free connection is understood — no need to write it out, it will only cause others to swipe left. The same goes for people who write: “not looking for a hookup” or “not looking for a player”. The assumption there is that the person has a history of not using good judgment to filter out people offline or online. It just presents a very negative look and feel.

Instead of listing things that are not appealing or one is trying to avoid, focus on listing hobbies, quirks, random facts, guilty pleasures and aspirations. When communicating with matches, ask questions and look for queues in the messages. Online platforms provide more ways than ever for people to be cryptic, weird, awkward and indirect. Be sure be patient, be open-minded, use good judgment and trust your gut. When in doubt, ask friends for advice — not just any friends, but friends with good judgment who are trusted and well-respected.

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Eddie Hernandez is an online dating photographer in the San Francisco Bay Area. He focuses on helping people complement their offline dating approach through digital means — photos, profiles and app/website consultation.