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How to Write a Personal Ad

Looking to add some spark to your life?

Looking to add some spark to your life?

Selecting the Right Venue for Your Personal Ad

One of the first things to consider is what venue you'd like to use for your personal ad.

Do you want to write a personal ad and post it on a website such as Craigslist.com? You could do that for free but be sure to understand that anyone can post or respond on Craigslist without much “filtering” of the ads, so please be cautious.

There are plenty of online dating sites to choose from. Many do charge a fee to join but a lot of them offer free trials as well.

Maybe you’d like to place a personal ad in your local newspaper in an attempt to meet someone who lives close to you and avoid wasting time meeting people that live long distance.

Keep in mind that print ads typically have a much shorter “shelf life” than those created online. In addition, the space allotment for a newspaper ad will usually be much smaller than the information you can provide with an online ad.

Whatever venue you choose, be sure to do your homework to make sure that it is safe, reputable, and you are not wasting your time or money.

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So, have you . . .

Marketing Yourself through a Personal Profile

Relationships of every possible type have begun by placing a personal ad in print publications or online websites. Writing a personal ad is a way for you to market yourself. It is your opportunity to let others know what you are all about.

With online dating sites, many will give you a template where you answer questions that will be converted into your personal ad. Others may ask you to complete a survey. These tools will make writing your personal ad much easier.

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What are you looking for?

Personal ads are often broken down into categories that specify what you are looking for, such as:

  • Women seeking men
  • Men seeking women
  • Women seeking women
  • Men seeking men
  • Just friends
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Acronyms Used in Personal Ads / Dating Profiles

Many people use acronyms (abbreviations) when writing or responding to personal ads. You may be surprised at some you've never heard of.

Compiled by Sharyn's Slant

ACRONYMMEANING

A

Asian

AKA

Also Known As

B

Black

BBW

Big Beautiful Woman

BF

Boyfriend

Bi

Bisexual

C

Christian

CPL

Couple

D

Divorced

DDF or D/D Free

Drug & Disease Free

DOB

Date of Birth

DTE

Down to Earth

F2F

Face to Face

F

Female

FS

Financially Stable

FtM

Female to Male Transgender

FYI

For Your Information

G

Gay

GBM

Gay Black Male

GF

Girlfriend

GLBT

Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgendered

GSOH

Good Sense of Humor

GWM

Gay White Male

H

Hispanic

HWP

Height/Weight Proportionate

IR

Interracial

IRL

In Real Life

ISO

In Search Of

J

Jewish

K

Kids

L

Lesbian

LD

Light Drinker

LDR

Long Distance Relationship

LS

Light Smoker or Legally Separated

M

Married

MBA

Married But Available

MBC

Married Black Couple

MM

Marriage Minded

MSM

Men Seeking Men

MSW

Men Seeken Women

MtF

Male to Female Transgendered

MWC

Married White Couple

NA

Native American

NBM

Never Been Married

ND

Non Drinker or No Drugs

NK

No Kids

NS

Non Smoker

P

Professional or Petite

PDA

Public Display of Affection

S

Single

SBF

Single Black Female

SBM

Single Black Male

SD

Social Drinker

SGL

Single

SI

Similar Interests

SO

Significant Other

SOH

Sense of Humor

STDs

Sexually Transmitted Diseases

STR

Straight

SWF

Single White Female

SWM

Single White Male

TG

Transgendered

TLC

Tender Loving Care

TS

Transexual

TV

Transvestite

VBD

Very Bad Date

VGL

Very Good Looking

W

White or Widowed

w/

With

WAA

Will Answer All

WI

Widowed

WLTM

Would Like To Meet

WTR

Willing To Relocate

YO

Years Old

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Main Things To Include When Writing Your Personal Ad or Profile

Age and Race

  • Tell your age or at least include something like “30-ish,” or “late 40's” ~ some descriptor that gives the reader a close idea of your age.
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  • Knowing the race of the person is important to many people. By adding this, you may eliminate wasting time on those who may not be interested.

Height, Weight and Body Type

  • Be honest with your height. It’s not like you can hide it if you meet in person.
  • You also cannot hide your weight if you meet in person although I think fudging the truth here just a little bit is okay. But seriously, do not say that you weigh 185 when you really weigh 310.
  • When it comes to body type, it is not necessary to include this information although it does appear that this is a major factor for some people. If you do not include it, you may get asked the question later.

Hair and Eye Color

Of course, include your hair and eye color.

Religion

This is a personal preference. If it matters to you that someone knows your religion or that you find someone who practices the same religion, then definitely mention it.

Profession/Occupation

Others like to know what you do for a living or that you are currently in college.

Education

This is another personal preference. If you really want others to know you worked hard and obtained a specific degree, then mention it.

On the other hand, if you did not graduate from high school or maybe you have a G.E.D. but never pursued a higher education, you might consider just leaving this part out for now.

Smoking Preference

If you do not smoke and/or you specifically do not want to meet others that smoke, definitely mention this. If you do smoke and/or do not mind that others smoke, mention this as well.

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Humor vs. Sarcasm

Using humor within your personal ad can be funny, charming and attractive if not overdone. But be sure to not cross the line over to sarcasm or just plain stupidity.

Wording that is negative or depreciates you, or anyone for that matter, will likely turn the reader away.

Keyword SEO

When placing an online personal ad, be aware that search engines will find you via the keywords that you use. Therefore, a longer profile is more search friendly.

Write Enough Additional Information to Pique Their Interest

It’s important that you give your ad a little personal touch. Consider answering the following questions to include in your personal ad to pique the reader’s interest.

  • What are your hobbies?
  • What activities to you enjoy?
  • Do you like to travel?
  • Do you like to cook?
  • What type of music do you enjoy?
  • Do you have a nickname?
  • Do you have any major pet peeves?
  • What are you hoping to obtain by posting this personal ad?
  • Do you have children or want to have children?
  • What are you looking for in the person reading your ad?
  • Do you enjoy going out to movies?
  • Do you enjoy staying home?
  • Do you have pets?
  • What are your future goals?
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To Include or Not to Include a Photo of Yourself

Chances are that if you do not include a photo of yourself, your ad may be easily overlooked. Find a good, recent photo to use or ask someone to take pictures of you. Don’t go too overboard with props, etc. for your photo. Be yourself. Look how you would if you were going to meet someone in person for the first time.

Enjoy whatever sparks may come your way!

Enjoy whatever sparks may come your way!

Be Yourself and Be Smart

Writing a personal ad or profile is a way for you to meet new people. Always tell the truth. Give an overview of yourself but don’t be too telling. If you really click with someone, you’ll have plenty of time to get to know each other.

Be sure to always use discretion when posting a personal ad or responding to a personal ad. If your gut tells you that something just doesn’t feel right, listen to it.

Best of luck!

This is Sharyn’s Slant

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Comments

Sharon Smith (author) from Northeast Ohio USA on October 11, 2012:

Hi Cyndi ~ ha, well I do like Pina Colada's! And yes, those acronyms are something, who knew there were so many? Thanks so much for stopping by!

Sharyn

Sharon Smith (author) from Northeast Ohio USA on October 10, 2012:

Hi Kelley ~ I'm so glad you enjoyed this. The table is so silly, isn't it. Who would have thought there are so many acronyms. Thanks for the votes and share.

Sharyn

Cynthia Calhoun from Western NC on October 03, 2012:

If you like pina coladas and gettin' caught in the rain...hehehe. I was thinking of this song as I read. In any case, very interesting read. I had no idea about some of those acronyms. The "married but available" one was intriguing, lol. That seems like a big can of worms right there. Fun hub and thanks for sharing!

kelleyward on October 03, 2012:

Sharyn, this is an interesting topic for a hub. Enjoyed your table! Thanks for sharing. Voted up and shared. Kelley

Sharon Smith (author) from Northeast Ohio USA on September 15, 2012:

Hi Tammy ~ you did? That's cool. Glad these tips seem helpful to you. Thanks so much for your feedback!

Sharyn

Tammy from North Carolina on September 15, 2012:

I met my hubby online years ago. Writing a profile was such a difficult thing to do. These tips are very helpful. Great hub!

Sharon Smith (author) from Northeast Ohio USA on September 05, 2012:

Hey Glimmer ~ Thanks for your feedback. I know people who are doing well after meeting online also. I appreciate you stopping by.

Sharyn

Claudia Porter on September 05, 2012:

Luckily I don't have to do this, but know many people who have. I also know a couple people who have met online and married. Great hub loaded with good info and loved the acronym list!

Sharon Smith (author) from Northeast Ohio USA on September 03, 2012:

Hey Kelly ~ The acronyms are so crazy, aren't they. I'm sure there are people who are MBA, ya know. I would think the WTR would mean that someone has nothing, no home, etc., ha. And I couldn't imagine using WAA, that's promising something that is too scary. What if the person comes across as "crazy." Ya definitely need to be careful. Thanks for your fun feedback!

Sharyn

Kelly Umphenour from St. Louis, MO on September 02, 2012:

Well I have never marketed myself online before but some of those acronyms crack me up. If I were anyone looking for someone - those MBA's make me laugh a little - I'd have to question the "Married but Available" that should be some weird oxymoron.

Also the willing to relocate - freaky! I mean check this out, a girl reads an ad and says to herself hmmm....he looks cute but lives in Alaska...his photo looks good, he has all his parts. Lets start packing! (But he looks real nice ma!) haha

And the whole WAA - thems the HO's!! hahahaha

Really fun hub SS:)

Sharon Smith (author) from Northeast Ohio USA on September 02, 2012:

Hi tillsontitan ~ ha, thanks! I too know people that have met through personal ads and have a great life together. Now I don't know people who would want a VBD but they may use the acronym when describing one though. Thanks so much for stopping by!

Sharyn

Sharon Smith (author) from Northeast Ohio USA on September 02, 2012:

DRBJ YW :)

drbj and sherry from south Florida on September 02, 2012:

T.Y.V.M. Thank You Very Much!

Mary Craig from New York on September 02, 2012:

Definitely potential for matchmaking! This is great information for those wanting to go the ad route but not knowing how to start. I know a few people who have met their spouses through ads and its all worked out fine. Is there seriously anyone out there who would want a VBD?

Voted up, useful, and interesting.

Sharon Smith (author) from Northeast Ohio USA on September 01, 2012:

Paula ~ I had heard IRL that they D? He was ISO of a J woman or something. They had NK as far as I know. She told me that she hated his PDA. They didn't have SI either. But either way, she was never WTR, ya know?

Sharon Smith (author) from Northeast Ohio USA on September 01, 2012:

Dr. BJ ~ ha ha, have you memorized all those acronyms yet? You are so DTE and have a great SOH.

SS

Suzie from Carson City on September 01, 2012:

She DID find someone......he was breathing when he met her......I haven't been updated. Porr guy may be D.E.A.D. for all I know Yikes!

Sharon Smith (author) from Northeast Ohio USA on September 01, 2012:

Hi Paula ~ oh gosh no, not a matchmaker here. Aren't those acronyms crazy. I actually had more that I did NOT put in, too overwhelming. I would love to go through the list and give each a different meaning. I kind of already did as I was writing, ha.

About your girlfriend, ha, I hope she found someone and he is still breathing! Thanks dear for your feedback :)

Sharyn

Sharon Smith (author) from Northeast Ohio USA on September 01, 2012:

Hey Michelle ~ thanks for the great feedback. I agree!!! And you have been blessed through a personal ad to have found Michael, and he's been blessed right back. I've met some really great people as well, just not my "soul mate" - you lucky girl! Thanks for stopping by.

Sharyn

Sharon Smith (author) from Northeast Ohio USA on September 01, 2012:

Hi Carol ~ Thanks for being the first to comment :) I appreciate your feedback and votes.

Sharyn

drbj and sherry from south Florida on August 31, 2012:

Important information here, Sharon. If it were not for you, I might go through life without the knowledge that GSOH stands for Good Sense of Humor and LS might be Light Smoker or Legally Separated ... or even Losing Strength. :)

Suzie from Carson City on August 31, 2012:

Sharyn! Great job......Are you a Professional Matchmaker, my friend? If not, you should be. You've got all the right instructions for these ads! Good Grief, there is a TON of acronyms. Looks like you need a translator to read them! Oh, dear, some wise guy like yours truly, could have an incredibly FUN time giving those acronyms different meaning. HA!! What a wonderful idea..lol!

This reminded me of a girlfriend of mine, at least 30 years ago.....She had been divorced for over a year and REALLY wanted to start dating. The personal ads back then, I'm pretty sure were just printed in the classifieds, in the newspaper. So she came to my house one evening to ask me to compose a good ad for her. I was so flattered she asked me and glad to help. When I asked her what sort of guy she was interested in.....she just said, "How about this?" MAN WANTED: QUALIFICATIONS- "BREATHING."

Yes, I know you can't imagine me hanging out with such a nut.

This hub is the PERFECT gift for single friends! UP ++

Motown2Chitown on August 31, 2012:

What a great hub, Sharyn! Love it. Of course, I'm a firm believer that it is possible (because I've done it) to meet lifelong friends, significant others, and eventually a soul mate through a personal ad. Be open, be honest, and demand the same from others.

And, of course - BE SAFE!

Great hub, chica.

carol stanley from Arizona on August 31, 2012:

Great informational hub for someone wanting to write an ad. I met my husband before this was common. I like your advice and ideas and I am voting up as it fills the bill.

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