Rules of online dating

But if there's silence after two e-mails, cut your losses and move on. Taking the Relationship Offline The time to take your relationship beyond the boundaries of the dating site will eventually come.

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

though there is no body of evidence to support this.

Another criticism is that because The Rules advise rarely returning phone calls and other such hard-to-get dating methods, some men may have trouble telling the difference between a woman who is genuinely not interested (or not interested anymore) and one who is genuinely interested, thus leading to misunderstandings and stalkers; not only for women using The Rules, but any man who believes all women are playing similar games even when they are not.

"The amount of times that people are approached when they have photos is multitudes more than when they don't," says Gian Gonzaga, Ph D, e Harmony's senior director of research and development and head of e Harmony Labs. Leave behind group shots, which can make it confusing for other people to identify you, advises Spira, and choose a headshot in which you are smiling.

"Your primary photo should be all about you." She recommends posting between three to five photos only—any more and "it's as if you're already smothering your future partner." Also, be sure to include a shot where you can see your body.

It doesn't have to be provocative (and you most certainly do not have to have a perfect figure!

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Dating is complicated enough on its own; when you add in the confusion of online dating sites, it can be just plain intimidating. There is a technique to navigating the virtual playing field.

The shortest messages get the best response rate; the reply rate goes down as messages get longer.

This is likely because an initial message serves mostly to make your profile available to the other person.

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).

Ok Trends, the data-analysis blog for the dating website Ok Cupid.com, says that self-shot photos can actually be very effective in attracting partners, most likely because they are approachable, casual and make the viewer feel close to the subject—all good things! Your Profile Your goal should be to create an engaging profile that piques people's interest and makes them want to know more about you.

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