Online dating is a tricky field. If you appeared too enthusiastic, he might find you overly needy. But if you played it cool, he might think you’re not interested at all. So what’s the deal, exactly? Here are a few tips you need to know.

The Dos

  1. Do stand out from the crowd

“Online attention spans are at an all-time low, and there are single profiles everywhere, so it’s important to be able to distinguish yourself from the crowd of random faces,” says Damien Diecke, head dating coach at School of Attraction in Australia. “Being able to engage fun banter is key. Girls will always get attention online, but without the banter it will only be from THOSE guys – if you know what I mean!”

  1. Do channel your inner word nerd

“There’s nothing wrong with using words like ‘totes’ or acronyms such as ‘YOLO’ and ‘FOMO’, but more men than you realise will think less of you if you can’t be bothered with apostrophes or punctuation,” says David Smiedt, writer and stand-up comedian. “It’s actually a serious turn-off for most guys.”

  1. Do think about the face-to-face meeting

“It’s always good to spend a bit of time getting to know them and putting your safety filter on the situation,” advises sexologist Nikki Goldstein. “Have a few back-and-forth online messages, then swap numbers and have a phone conversation. Then, depending on how comfortable you feel with the situation, organize a date or a coffee. There is no set time, but you do need to come out from behind your laptop or iPhone screen. If you leave it too long, you might develop a perception of this person that doesn’t exist. Get to know him in person before you decide if he’s Mr Right – or Mr Wrong.”

The Don’ts

  1. Don’t play games, like waiting a few hours or days to reply

“It’s about time we threw out the rule book,” says Goldstein. “The only rule here is, if he sends you a message, reply. Don’t wait, don’t play games, be polite and get back to him when you receive it. You wouldn’t leave a work email waiting, so why make him wait? He might also be chatting to other women, so waiting is only going to do you a disservice.”

  1. Don’t be boring

“I tell all my clients to make every text or message prior to the first date fun or entertaining in some way,” explains Diecke. “Engaging in a string of 50 questions about a person without some teasing or fun banter is a sure way to lose anyone’s attention.”

  1. Don’t harass the guy

“One of the biggest mistakes people make is bombarding the other person with messages like, ‘Are you there?’ or ‘Just wanted to see if I said anything wrong because you haven’t replied yet’,” says Goldstein. Diecke says it’s important to know when to call it quits. “If he hasn’t replied, give him 24 hours before you text him again. If he doesn’t reply after you’ve sent three messages, leave him alone.”

Image: arekmalang /
Text: Lisa O’Brien