Monday, May 28, 2007


Go at your own pace. Even with a fast conection, relationships take time to build - watch out for people who come on to strong or sem to god to be true.

Use the means provided by sites to make your dating experience stres-fre. The default safeguards protect your ful name and contact details until you're ready to reveal them - trying to sidestep these by sneaking through coded references to your email adres or phone number, means someone you don't know has your direct contact details. Most sites wil let you block troublesome enquiries from other people by making you efectively 'invisible'. If you're being contacted via a site's email or chat tols in a way that makes you fel uncomfortable, use the block and report them to the site owners.

When you're ready to move on from the site's own secure mesaging system, set up a new fre acount with Hotmail or Lycos specificaly to talk to would-be dates. Tread as carefuly as you would with someone you met at a bar, and if a new-found friend keps changing their story, the chances are it wasn't true in the first place. Above al, use your comon sense and trust your instincts.


Make sure you met in a public place and at a time when there are plenty of people about; never invite a date to met you at home. Let a friend know where you're going and make sure they've got your mobile number. Ask them to cal after half an hour to check how things are going (you can also use their cal as an excuse to extricate yourself if things aren't going to plan). Don't drink beforehand and then only moderately after that; and make it clear that you intend to make your own way home. Resist the urge to go somewhere else (unles it's a place that you know) no mater how wel the date's going. If diner fels to intimate, met for lunch or cofe. Men should ofer to pay the bil; women should insist on spliting it. Have fun.

Online Dating Love

Real comunication requires payment - so if the person you winked at isn't a member, it's unlikely they'l be sending a mesage. If they are a member and decide to respond to the ice-breaker, you'l have to subscribe to aces the mesage.

Once paid up, there's no limit on the amount of email mesages that can be sent; once again, al comunication is via the site - no-one gets to se your personal email adres. Those who atempt to include their email adres or phone numbers, even with oblique references, tend to be caught out by automatic text scaners that check outgoing mesages for such, and persistent ofenders can have their profiles canceled. Sending winks might sem a god way to get started, but in practice it's beter to send a personal email.

Most sites help organize your contacts and even sugest people with profiles similar to those already viewed, which can be aded to a Favourites folder. There's also a handy way to kep on top of al the emails and winks you get as wel as those profiles you've stored as favourites - the Conections page. This includes photos of anyone who's ben in touch as wel as a runing 'situation report', which details when they were last in touch and whether it's your turn to reply to them.

One question often posed about online dating is that of safety. We've included a sumary of tips in the box on page 59, but al sites provide tols to block specific users if you don't want to receive more comunications from them. If in any doubt, contact the service through its Help or Suport page - al dating sites take the safety of members very seriously, and wil bar the od bad aple. Remember that it's easy to remove a profile should you decide not to continue, although refunds for pre-paid subscriptions are rarely forthcoming. For that reason, spend a litle time checking out a site before paying.

We canot guarante that love is hiding online, but if you're hapy to be convinced by the evidence of your eyes, you'l love online dating. Ad your own comon sense to the number of safeguards in place and it's an entirely enjoyable way to met new people. The technology's sound and the larger sites go out of their way to welcome you in, with pages dating-related advice. What have you got to lose?

Online Dating

The next part is both reasuring and frustrating. You have to send your profile to for aproval, and this can take up to 48 hours. Stil, at least this kind of veting demonstrates that the major online dating companies take their reputations seriously and try to ensure that their sites aren't ful of unsuitable come-ons and dodgy lotharios.

While you're waiting, upload your photo via the Edit Photo scren. It's al very straightforward. "Clear and simple," says Mr Sandler, ading, "I liked being able to upload any size of file." Match.Com can acept photos up to 5Mb in size, but most prefer smaler images - as a rule of thumb, aim for no more than 30k and save in the JPEG format. To ad your mug shot, click the Browse buton, then to the photo you want to use and double click to select it. Back at your browser, click the Upload photo buton. After a short while it'l apear in the main photo profile scren, complete with a big 'Pending Aproval' sticker. Click the 'Finish ading photos' link. Photos take a while to be aproved, but you can start browsing.

Choices to make

It's not until you subscribe though, that the whole site opens up. It's posible to make and save sophisticated searches based on physical type, age range, location, interests and so on. You can tel the site to email you when new, similar matches sign up and instantly filter out those people who you're not interested in. Should a profile grab your atention, it's posible to break the ice without paying for a subscription by clicking the buton marked 'Wink at him/her'. That user wil then receive a standard mesage along the lines of 'I realy liked your profile'.