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'Two at a time' and other lessons from an online dating veteran

Never ask about online dating experiences on a first date

There are only mood-killing answers to "How is the site treating you?" It's the digital equivalent to talking about exes.  It's weird, and shouldn't be discussed until you're both talking about online dating as a thing of the past.

Don't be overeager

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This isn't Facebook: People can see that you've viewed their profile six times in four hours. Wait patiently for a response, and don't respond immediately to an interested person. Give the appearance – just a little – that you're not spending every waking moment on this thing.

Digital winking or waving or smiling is for losers

You're already behind a keyboard, there's no need to be coy. Say something. If a profile grabs your attention, message that person with something that shows you've made it past their photos.

Two at a time

Internet dating has a tendency to turn people into playing cards, where there's always a full deck and options to trade. If you're there to find a relationship, I recommend only really talking and arranging dates with two people at a time. Don't get so embedded in the "scene" that you wouldn't recognize a perfect match.

Write your profile in a text-editing application

Do a basic spelling and grammar check. You can be a beautiful, tall, successful man – but if you can't spell, we're done here.

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This above all: Do not lie in your profile

My first impression on dozens of first dates has often been "you dirty liar," which is never good. If you need a translator to communicate, fancy wearing tie-dyed shirts to swanky restaurants or want children so desperately you're asking about baby names before the appetizer arrives – please, own it in your profile. There will be someone who loves that, too, and it will be magical.


Share your do's and donts of online dating here:

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About the Author
Editor in the Opinion section

Amberly McAteer is an editor in the Opinion section at The Globe and Mail. She has been a homepage editor, online editor and community editor in Features - including Life, Travel, Style, Arts and Books. She's written columns about her quest to run a 10K and find the perfect dog. More

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