As you might imagine, working at HowHookup means wading through lots, and lots, and lots of profile pictures. By now, we’ve got a pretty good sense of what works, and what doesn’t.

The best profile pictures are the ones which highlight the user’s personality and sense of fun in the most flattering way possible. Normal snapshots, goofy pictures, pictures of people jumping in the air, people on vacation, people in silly costumes, people earnestly looking at the camera — there are thousands of ways to do a really good profile picture.

There are fewer — way fewer — ways to mess up your profile picture. Luckily for you, we’ve rounded up most of them!

Just avoid the following things in your profile, and there’s a pretty solid chance your picture is golden.

1. A Picture Of You With Your Buddies

This is the first image your potential dates will be seeing of you, and remember, they don’t know who you are. You want to make it eminently clear which one you are, and, the best way to do this is to not have anyone else in your photo.

2. A DMV-Style “Serious” Picture

There’s serious, and then there’s psychopathic. Maybe you feel a little goofy smiling, but when it comes to internet dating, it’s extra important to look approachable. (Your whole aim, after all, is to reassure potential dates that you WON’T murder them.)

If you really can’t muster a smile, pull a Tyra and “smize” (smile with your eyes.)

3. A Self-Portrait

Ok, Webcam self-portraits are fine if it’s the only option, but you have to sort of acknowledge the cheese factor. A webcam self-portrait can’t be super serious, because, dude, you’re in your room, at your computer, taking pictures of yourself. Best to aim for sheepish/unassuming/cute than serious/important/sexy.

Any other sort of self-portrait is strictly verboten, ESPECIALLY mirror self-portraits and arms-length self-portraits!

4. A Glamour Shot/Head Shot

Maybe you have a professional photograph you use for work/burgeoning acting career. That’s cool — but don’t use it on your dating profile. It’s intimidating, and probably not a good representation of who you are. That’s a picture of you, with makeup and hair and lighting, being told to pose a certain way. But what do you look like on a date, or out with friends, or when you’re laughing really hard at a joke? It also makes it seem like the dating site is a casting call, and not a place where real people meet other real people.

5. A Picture Of You Standing Next To Anyone Hotter Than You Are

Ok, real talk: this is the place where you want to look as attractive as you possibly can. You definitely want to be the hottest person in the picture, and that is why God invented cropping. Snip snip snip.

6. A Picture Of You Holding A Solo Cup, A Bong, or A Baby

Whenever you’re holding an object in a picture, however casually, that object immediately has significance. It says something about you, and immediately becomes the thing an online dater will associate you with. The main thing. The only thing.

7. A Picture In Which Your Face Is Obscured/In Silhouette/Too Far Away

People will just think you’re ugly. And even if you ARE ugly, people will probably just assume you’re even uglier than you are in real life. SHOW US YOUR FACE.

8. A Default Picture/No Picture At All

Because no one, no one, is going to agree to a date with a faceless person from the internet.

What other mistakes have you seen in online dating profile pics? Tell us in the comments!