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August 15, 2020

Lip Service

Lip Service is a writing advice column. A communication helpline. Any time you’re at a loss for words, you can ask us anonymously for our best ideas on what to say, type, or share. Lip Service is free, so you can take it or leave it. It’s as simple as that.

How to Write a Tinder Bio Abroad

Question

Any tips for someone trying to date in a new country? I recently moved here solo, so I know few people. I downloaded a couple of dating apps to try to break out of my bubble but have no idea where to start with writing my profile. Help!

Answer

Writing a dating profile can be difficult under any circumstances. Just take a look at the evidence⏤dating bios are filled with vague travel lists, questionable dad jokes, and the classic “who even reads these things lol” deflect. Then, there’s the contingent that leaves the written section blank, ignoring it entirely.

Best case scenario, you aim for saying something clever and run the risk of sounding (hopefully endearingly) awkward. Unfortunately for most, the pressure gets to us and we resort to our factory settings.

Add to that regular old pressure a new culture and a new language, and yes, the blinking cursor looks particularly daunting. You’re adjusting to life on foreign soil, which might make you feel a bit strange, too. How to introduce yourself when you’re not feeling like yourself?

The first step is to flip the problem and see it for the opportunity it is. You have a fresh start in a new place, with nearly no one to debate your version of yourself. This is a gift like no other. For a very brief window, you’re free from personal history. The “you” you left at home doesn’t have to follow you here, at least not entirely. Amplify what you love about yourself, and choose where you want to grow.

I’m not saying be untrue; instead, be most true. Describe yourself and your interests free from hesitation.

Second, acknowledge that there’s no way to be perfect in this new place. As an outsider, you won’t know all the social norms. It’s a learning process that will make for many long days, but on a dating app, it’s liberating. With nary a social mold to fit into, your individuality becomes your asset. Leverage it, and look to see who’s curious.

Finally, remember that a dating bio is far from etched in stone. It’s flexible, like you. As you grow into your new home, it can evolve, too. It’s another reason to write honestly about what you’re looking for, whether that’s casual sight-seeing or an international love story for the ages.

Vulnerability is your reality right now, so use it! You’ve taken a brave step in moving abroad solo. Staying open now will boost your chances of meeting a kindred soul or two who can help make your new spot feel more like home.

As for the nitty-gritty of the description, I’d say keep it short and sweet. Start with something like, “Recently relocated engineer likes dance halls and seeks a friend for Saturday afternoon museum crawls.”

Except, you know, make it you. Good luck!

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