Home Advice & How-ToDating Do You Know These Common Dating Profile Red Flags?
Home Advice & How-ToDating Do You Know These Common Dating Profile Red Flags?

Do You Know These Common Dating Profile Red Flags?

by Nick Marshall

KittenfishingFake dating profilesRomance scammersPlayers. Sometimes, it seems the world of online dating apps is a minefield just waiting to blow up in your face. 

The truth is nowhere near that dark.  According to a Stanford University study, nearly 40% of married couples they surveyed in 2017 had met online.  While the risk of getting catfished or scammed is real, there’s a bigger chance of falling into another kind of trap — getting stuck with a bad match, or meeting someone and finding out that they did the dating profile equivalent of embellishing their resume.  Being aware of these common dating profile red flags can help you avoid not just the scammers, but also the disappointment of finding out that hot babe or hunk from Hinge isn’t quite as appealing as you thought.

They’re Wearing a Hat in Every Photo

Hatfishing is a thing.  It’s not unusual for people to post one or two photos of themselves wearing a hat — that adorable fedora tilted just so, for example, or the cool baseball cap (turned backward, of course).  You have to get a little suspicious, though, when you can’t find a single bareheaded pic of them on their profile.  Just what are they hiding under all those hats?  Inquiring minds want to know.

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Their Photos are Super Hot

We get it — everyone wants to put their best face forward on their dating profile.  But when all their photos look like they were clipped from a supermodel’s lookbook … they just might be.  If you’re suspicious, try a reverse image search of one or two photos and see where else they turn up. 

They Only Have One Photo

They could just be camera shy, but these days it’s so easy to pull together a variety of photos of yourself in different situations, that posting only a single photo on your dating profile raises a few questions.  A dating profile with only one or two photos — especially photos that are obviously staged — could very well be a fake dating profile

They’re Holding a Fish in Their Photo

There’s a long history of men showing off their fishing prowess — there’s a reason there’s almost always a photographer near the weigh-in station at fishing docks.  So it’s no big surprise that “men holding fish” has become a dating profile trend.  We’re listing it among the top dating profile red flags, but there’s a bit of debate about it, as this story in the New York Post points out.  

Whether you see it as a red flag or bait depends on your point of view.  On the one hand, it’s a hint that the guy engages in a time-consuming and expensive hobby, which may not leave a lot of time for you.  On the other hand, it means that he probably has the means to engage in a time-consuming and expensive hobby.  And if you happen to also enjoy angling, this “red flag” could be a bright green light.

All Their Photos Are Party Photos

Most people enjoy a good party now and then, but a profile that consists exclusively of the dating prospect doing keg stands, raising a toast, and just generally hanging out at bars and parties, should raise a red flag.  If their life looks like an extended spring break, it could just be that they don’t have much else going on. 

Their Profile Is a Checklist of “Must Haves”

Dating profiles encourage you to list what you’re looking for — it makes it easier for the algorithm to serve up likely matches.  But when the list of “must-haves” sounds like a job description, it’s a big hint to swipe left.  They’ll forever be measuring you against an imaginary “perfect match,” which is a perfect recipe for a superficial relationship.

They’re Looking for Someone Who Can “Take a Joke”

Aww, can’t you take a joke?  The guy — it’s usually a guy, though some women do it, too — who is looking for someone who “can laugh at themselves” is letting you know that you’re likely to be the butt of the joke way too often.  Likewise, be leery of people who say they’ve elevated sarcasm to a fine art.  What they often mean is that they think it’s funny to be mean to other people.

They’re Embarrassed to Be on a Dating Site

Meeting someone on a dating app is a pretty common experience these days, and one that no one should be embarrassed about.  If they think so negatively about people who use dating apps to meet someone, what does it say about how they view you? 

Their Photos Are Blurry, Dark or Far Away

There’s no excuse for bad photos, not when smartphones make it so easy to take good ones.  Obviously, there’s a lot more to a match than looks, but if someone’s photos make it almost impossible to see them clearly, you have to wonder what they’re hiding. 

Their Profile Bio Is Littered With Cliches

If their profile bio reads like it could have been written by ChatGPT, you’re not really getting to know them.  Some bio clichés are so tired that they’ve become jokes all on their own.  It’s hard to build a relationship with someone who only tells you that they like long walks on the beach and talking until three o’clock in the morning.  Don’t you want to know what they like to talk about?

They Want You to Follow Them on Other Social Media

Their profile says, “I don’t check here much.  Find me on Instagram.”  Or Snapchat.  Or some other trendy social media app.  Are they looking for a date or trying to add new followers for clout?  If someone can’t be bothered to check in on their dating profile, they can’t be very serious about looking for a match, can they?

They Have Multiple Profiles on Multiple Dating Sites

There’s nothing wrong with having a dating profile on more than one dating app.  When a person has multiple profiles, though, it’s a big red flag.  They’re either a player or a scammer, and definitely not someone you want to know. 

Most of these dating profile red flags aren’t necessarily deal breakers, but they should tingle your Spidey sense a little.  If something raises your suspicions, but you’re still interested, a simple Spokeo people search can help you learn more about the person behind the profile, and maybe even put those suspicions to rest.


Bustle – How to Spot a Fake Dating Profile

Metro UK – What Is the Dating Trend “Hatfishing”?

New York Post – Men Posing with Fish on Dating App — Hot Catch or Toxic Bros?

Mashable – 32 of The Biggest Dating App Bio Red Flags