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Instead of saying that you like to cook (which plenty of people will do), describe in detail what your favorite meal to make is."It gives a richer picture of who you are," he adds.The shortest messages get the best response rate; the reply rate goes down as messages get longer.

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.

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.

If you contact someone and haven't heard back in a week, it's OK to send a second e-mail.Until you've had a conversation about retiring your profiles, says Spira, assume that he is still dating other people. Spira employs a buddy system for initial meet-ups: Tell a friend where you're going and whom you're meeting. Be Patient If at first you don't succeed, don't give up!Midway through the meal, go to the bathroom and call or text your friend to let him or her know whether you're OK or feel uncomfortable. Even if sparks don't fly with someone you initially meet online, it doesn't mean that he won't turn into a great friend or helpful business contact.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 clich├ęd." 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.), but it gives the impression that you have nothing to hide; confidence is always attractive.