In the age of online dating, there's a question you need to ask yourself concerning your political affiliation: Should you add it to your dating profile?
While searching on a dating site a while back, I found a fascinating profile. His smile was nice, his photograph flattering. He appeared to have a stable career in a field that suggested that he was an interesting person.
He was educated, obviously intelligent, and witty. Every sentence he wrote about himself grabbed my attention... Until I reached his last comment.
It was the answer to a question that went something like, "What are some things you can’t stand?"
To avoid controversy, let’s just say that my political leanings go toward the "No-Name" Party. Imagine my disappointment when his answer to the question about things he couldn’t stand was, "Avid No-Namers."
I was crushed but undaunted. I thought about the fact that he had qualified his answer with the word "avid." Maybe he didn’t mind people who are "No-Name," but not avidly so?
Unfortunately, that thought was no help; I’m hopelessly avid. But maybe I could send a cute, flirty message to him suggesting we could have spirited political discussions from opposing points of view.
Upon reflection, though, I decided he was a "naaaahhh." Disagreeing with my views is fine, but anyone who lists people who hold those views as the only thing he "can’t stand" is probably not open to respectful dialogue.
So, I moved on to the next dating profile. His loss.
In reflecting back on that incident, I wonder whether that comment on his profile worked for him or not.
Seems to me that there are good reasons to keep your political affiliation off of your profile and there are also good reasons to add it.
Here are 3 reasons to keep your political affiliation off your dating profile.
1. You might miss out on somebody great.
Obviously, someone like me, in the case of Mr. Wrong.
Is avoiding at least mild disagreement worth missing out on the love of your life? You might even learn something from that avid "No-Namer."
If political views aren’t a dealbreaker for you, you could be closing the door to compatible matches.
2. It may give your profile a combative tone.
If my Mr. Wrong had skipped that question, I’d have felt happy and friendly after reading his profile. But, just the mention of politics felt tense to me.
It became less, "Hi, let’s get to know each other," and more, "Everything you say is probably wrong."
Not the mood you want to cultivate when trying to attract dating partners.
3. It may give away more information than you're comfortable sharing.
While some people are proud and outspoken about their views, others prefer to confide only in people they know well.
Hey, in this crazy time, you never know how someone will react if they disagree with you.
For many couples, political views are more appropriately brought up, carefully and gingerly, on a third or fourth date.
For that same reason, I changed the name of my own political affiliation for this article: I’m a private person, and I don’t want to raise hackles and distract from my point.
On the other hand, there are also 3 good reasons to go ahead and let your views be known.
1. It can save time, money, and aggravation.
If Mr. Wrong had skipped that question, who knows? We may have talked and dated at least a few times before politics came up in conversation.
But then, once it did, what would have happened?
We’d have argued.
I’d have gone home to a pint of ice cream, he’d have done whatever it is guys do when they realize it’s not going to work out, and we’d both have felt frustrated.
Better I found out before contact was made.
2. Being specific can help you find dating partners who are suited to you.
The right person won’t know you’re a good match if they don’t know anything about you. Yes, you’ll attract fewer people if you state your views.
But that group is more likely to include the ones you are better partners for you. And the better partners for you are going to be attracted to your specific characteristics.
The way you talk about your convictions might be just the quality someone is looking for.
3. It can help you find out more about each other.
You’ll always have something to talk about. But more importantly, political views go deep.
They reflect your values and thoughts about what life should be like for yourself and other people. They define what you think is worth striving and sacrificing for.
You know a lot about a person after a political discussion, including how they handle themselves when talking about a sensitive topic.
So, in light of these pros and cons, what's the most effective approach when it comes to political affiliation for your dating profile?
Here are 3 tips for effectively approaching political affiliation in dating.
1. Is it a dealbreaker?
Before typing in your political party, ask yourself if disharmony over politics is a dealbreaker for you.
If politics isn’t important to you, then adding political affiliation to your profile will only alienate potential mates. Of course, if you’re looking for a fling, you probably want to stay away from serious topics on your profile altogether.
On the other hand, if you’re avid and if agreeing about politics is important to you, you might as well put it out there. Working your views into your profile may help you attract compatible people.
2. Find creative ways to get the message across.
Some people are dyed-in-the-wool "No-Namers" and want to be identified as such. Others hold particular views but don’t strongly identify with a party.
If that’s you, you don’t have to mention a political party at all. Instead, find a way to work something you’re passionate about into the profile.
Mention your volunteer work, your activist cause, or how much you care about a particular issue.
People will get the message and it will tell them more about you than any label.
3. Be nice.
Finally, learn a lesson from Mr. Wrong and say it in a nice way. Who’s going to be attracted to a profile that shouts, "Inferior people need not apply"?
Something flirty and positive along the lines of, "Looking for long walks on the beach and passionate political discussions about …" will invite people who want that, too.
Be creative on your profile. Be yourself.
If it isn’t important to you, keep it off your profile and don’t let anyone guilt you into doing otherwise.
If it’s important to you, put it out there in a positive way. Let people know who you are in a way that feels comfortable to you.
I hope you meet Mr. or Ms. Right (or Left) soon!
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Frances Patton is a marriage and family therapist. Visit her website for more information.