It’s the internet age—online dating is not just all the rage, but a necessity for single folks with busy lives. It also happens to actually be a great and safe way to meet the love of your life, or well, at least someone who can engage you in an interesting conversation over drinks or dinner for sometime.

Even though you are connecting with potential partners over the internet on your computer or smartphone, dating online doesn’t absolve you of bad behavior or inappropriate actions. If anything, you need to be even more alert since your profile pic, greeting style and choice of words tell the other person a lot about you and influence their decision to date you.

So here’s a list of five important things to remember when you date online:

  1. Make Appearances Matter: Like in real life, your looks are your primary opportunity to make a good first impression. So try to be well groomed and for goodness’ sake, be dressed. It doesn’t matter if you have killer abs or a cute belly button, posting pictures that have you semi-clad or worse, naked, send the message that you’re desperate. Avoid.
  2. Employ Spell Check: You may enjoy texting more than the average teen but that doesn’t mean you should use the same writing style when you prepare your dating profile or interact with others on a dating site. Use spell check and correct grammar not because you are pretentious but because you do not want to come across as illiterate, lazy or worse, plain stupid.
  3. Don’t State The Obvious: Everyone wants to find somebody unique and special so how about you stay away from spouting clichés such as hobbies that involve walking on the beach, watching movies or reading. Almost everyone enjoys these pursuits to different degrees and you will be lost in a sea of mediocrity. Show off your passions instead, be intriguing and celebrate the things that set you apart.
  4. Always Be Sincere: It may be tempting to embellish details of your accomplishments when it comes to writing your profile or be overly generous with the compliments when introducing yourself. Just be yourself and relax so that you don’t put off anyone interested in finding out more about you. Of course, don’t be too laid-back either. Make the effort to say more than just ‘Hi’ when you are chatting with someone for the first time.
  5. Show Some Respect: Just because you’re dating online doesn’t mean you have to be either rude or dismissive, since the absence of a face-to-face interaction means your words are doing the work that would normally be done by your expressions, gestures and body language. Most of all, don’t try to prove you are too good for online dating, and are trying it just for a lark. Everyone on that site has taken a risk and stepped out of their comfort zone, so resist the urge to be cynical or bitter and move on. Please refrain from using profanity; instead of making you look cool, it just shows you are immature and rude.

Just play fair, be honest and stay safe. Love could be just around the corner, or as the case may be, just a click away.

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Simona is a journalist who has worked with several leading publications in India over the last 17 years, writing on lifestyle topics and the arts, besides interviewing celebrities. She made the switch to public relations and headed the division as PR Manager at ITC Hotels’ flagship property, the ITC Grand Chola, but has since returned to her first love, journalism. Now she writes on food, which she is sincerely passionate about and wellness, which she finds fascinating and full of surprises. When she isn’t writing, she is busy playing the role of co-founder and communications director of The Bicycle Project, a six-year-old charity initiative that empowers tribal children in rural areas, while addressing the issue of urban waste.