And, with millions of people dating online, sifting through all the thousands of profiles to find your perfect match can be quite a challenge. The key is in dating smart and making your profile stand out from all the others. Read below, my little love disciples. Are you committing one of the seven deadly sins of online dating?
Sin #1: Thou Shalt Not Wear Chartreuse
Many color experts believe that chartreuse (yellowish-green) is one color that actually repels both men and women. So, even if you're the rare person who looks good in fluorescent Slurpee-green, don't wear it in your photos or on your date. You're not doing yourself any favors.
Sin #2: Thou Shalt Not Forget To Post a Photo
It's a fact. Profiles that include photos get eight times the response. It's also important to remember that lots of people won't even consider dating someone without a photo. Pictures are the quickest way to show off your looks and your personality, and crank up your online dating odds.
Be sure your photo is up-to-date: since physical attraction is a big part of love, you want to find someone who's attracted to you right now. Not someone who is attracted to you 15 pounds lighter and seven years younger. With different hair. And one less tattoo.
And, when you're looking at other people's profiles, remember to consider the entire package before making a snapshot judgment. Shoshanna Rikon, New York City's top Jewish matchmaker says, "Oftentimes a person looks much better in person than in a photo." Jeez, I hope so.
Sin #3: Thou Shalt Not Give Out Too Much Personal Information
Robert Siciliano CEO of IDTheftSecurity.com says "Online dating is the textbook definition of the blind date. The biggest mistakes people make are giving out their first and last name, and then giving out their home or cell phone number. With these pieces of information, anyone can find out where you live and have enough data to compromise your identity. The Internet has made it extremely easy for a person to be searched via home phone, cell phone and name." He says, "Purposefully or inadvertently giving out a home address is never a good idea until you are positive this is a sane person you want to spend time with. If you're going to give a phone number, give out a non-traceable number." Services such as myprivateline.com can make it easier to keep your personal information to yourself.
Also, make sure that you meet your date at a public place, tell someone where you're going and take a cell phone and your own car. Another word to the wise -- if you have children, it is a bad idea to post photographs of them with your profile, or email them later on. It's just not safe.
Sin #4: Thou Shalt Not Search For An Exact Duplicate of Yourself (Thyself?)
Some common interests are great, but don't insist your personalities be matchy-matchy. It shouldn't be a requirement that you find someone who loves all of the same things you do. Why? Even a classics-loving, vegetarian cyclist can find happiness with a hard rock ballad-crazy, romance novel-reading steak lover. As long as you have shared values and your personalities click, your Sunday evening activity preference isn't nearly so important. Rikon says, "Stop putting too much importance on a person's listed hobbies." She suggests, "It's all about chemistry when you meet. Men and women usually have very different types of hobbies."
Relationship coach Toni Colman warns against, "using laundry lists of interests and activities. Not only do these bore and overwhelm the reader, they say nothing about the writer. They can also make the writer appear to be inflating themselves."
Sin #5: Thou Shalt not Lie
Ahh, the biggest of all dating sins. The problem with saying you're 27 when you're 47, claiming you look like Rob Lowe when you really look like Rob Reiner, or bragging that you own the building when you're actually the janitor, is that once you meet in person, you're exposed. Not only will you lose out on the person who is really searching for the 27-year-old, real-estate mogul, Rob Lowe look-alike, you'll also likely miss out on the person who's looking for a mature, Rob Reiner-ish guy who's handy around the house. You'll never find the perfect person for you if you're pretending to be someone else.
April Masini, author of Date Out Of Your League suggests, "Never overstate your background or qualifications, it can come back to haunt you. You want to start a new relationship on solid ground. If you don't want to reveal every detail about yourself at this time, that's fine, but don't exaggerate or lie about things. Just as you should be honest, expect the same from your date. If they are evasive or seem to be holding back on questions you have, don't be afraid to push a little for more satisfying answers."
Sin #6: Thou Shalt Not Eliminate a Potential Date Solely Based On a Bad Phone Call
You meet online, you whip out a few intriguing emails, and when you're buzzing with anticipation, you schedule that first magical phone call. And it's, um, odd. Suddenly, you don't have as much to talk about. Where have all the sparks gone? One telephone conversation and you've hit the skids? Never fear, and go ahead and make that date anyway. Rikon says, "Men don't give good phone. They don't usually like to chit-chat as much as women do... so don't read too much into a bad phone call."
Sin #7: Thou Shalt Not Cancel a First Date
Now, this isn't to say you can't turn down a first date, and then go on to have a great date at another time. If you already have plans, there's no need to break them for Mr. or Miss Possibly Fabulous unless you really want to. However, if you make a date, then break it, your date is inclined to believe that something better came along or that you just weren't interested. Yet another reason not to cancel a first date: Most people won't give you a second chance, they'll move on. According to Rikon, "That sends the message to the other person that you are just not that into them."
Are you guilty of committing a few online dating sins? Well, don't beat yourself up about it. Just confess your indiscretions to your favorite dating expert, make some corrections in your game plan and all will be forgiven. The beautiful thing about online dating is that you get a fresh start every day.
Dating Expert Lisa Daily is the author of Stop Getting Dumped!