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After that, have a phone conversation—trade cell phone numbers, never home numbers.

Or better yet, call him so that you won't have to give out your number at all. The Ideal First Date The perfect first date is a personal decision. "You can get a good feel for someone in 20 minutes," says Dr.

You need to show your interest right away; in the world of online dating you never know how many women one man has contacted, and how quickly the others may express their interest.

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The lesson: Spend time on your profile, and don't stress too much about your first e-mail! Be Direct When it comes to virtual dating, forget playing "hard to get." If someone you're interested in contacts you, it won't pay off to "casually" wait a few days to reply.

"If you play games and wait to get back to him, he may have already run off into the sunset with someone else," says Spira.

The best thing you can do is be polite and keep the date short, says Spira. "You know he looks nothing like his photo; he knows he looks nothing like his photo. Becoming Exclusive Since being on an online dating site puts you out there for everyone to contact, it can be hard to know when you have become exclusive with a partner. If you broach the topic and he says that he isn't ready to pull down his profile, Spira recommends saying something like, "Well, I am. I guess I'll keep mine up as well and continue dating." 9. Safety Taking safety precautions is always crucial, whether you're dating someone you met online or in person.

You may have stopped checking your profile and messages, but has he? Breaking Up If your relationship fizzles after a few dates, it may be tempting to revert back to e-mail to end it. "Don't go down in history as the guy or girl who dumped someone over e-mail, especially when e-mails can be forwarded." Instead, apply the Golden Rule and treat others as you would want to be treated. Never give out your home phone number or address until you get to know someone, and always choose a public place for your first date.

Make a Move In your initial e-mail to a potential partner, it's crucial to indicate that you've read his profile and took an interest in it.

According to Ok Trends, the top three phrases in initial e-mails with the highest response rate are "you mention," "good taste" and "noticed that." So, describe something that resonated with you from his profile, advises Spira, but avoid physical compliments because "they seem too clichéd." And keep it brief: Ok Trends found that the ideal first message length is only 200 characters, or one minute's worth of typing for the average writer.

And according to Spira, it should be sooner rather than later.

Exchanging two or three e-mails is a good way to get a sense of each other's personality.

), but it gives the impression that you have nothing to hide; confidence is always attractive.

While the pictures you post should be clear—giving the viewer an accurate glimpse of what you really look like—don't completely discount self-taken shots (the ones where you hold out your camera to take your own portrait).

According to Spira, the tone should be uplifting and happy. "The problem is that because you don't hear people's voices, it's hard to tell if they're being sarcastic or being rude." If you write something and are afraid that it might be taken the wrong way, it's probably best not to post it. Take Advantage Dating multiple people at a time is a strange habit to get used to, and can often seem irresponsible, but when it comes to online dating, meeting a variety of new people at once is a smart move. "I know people who go on dates three times a day, every day!