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And according to Spira, it should be sooner rather than later.

Exchanging two or three e-mails is a good way to get a sense of each other's personality.

The lesson: Spend time on your profile, and don't stress too much about your first e-mail! Be Direct When it comes to virtual dating, forget playing "hard to get." If someone you're interested in contacts you, it won't pay off to "casually" wait a few days to reply.

"If you play games and wait to get back to him, he may have already run off into the sunset with someone else," says Spira.

You need to show your interest right away; in the world of online dating you never know how many women one man has contacted, and how quickly the others may express their interest.

If you contact someone and haven't heard back in a week, it's OK to send a second e-mail.

"You'd want a rock star résumé for your perfect dream job, and you should feel the same way about your online dating profile." And the profile is just where it starts—we have plenty of expert tips, from sending the perfect first e-mail to picking your first date location.

It doesn't have to be provocative (and you most certainly do not have to have a perfect figure!

), but it gives the impression that you have nothing to hide; confidence is always attractive.

While the pictures you post should be clear—giving the viewer an accurate glimpse of what you really look like—don't completely discount self-taken shots (the ones where you hold out your camera to take your own portrait).

Ok Trends, the data-analysis blog for the dating website Ok Cupid.com, says that self-shot photos can actually be very effective in attracting partners, most likely because they are approachable, casual and make the viewer feel close to the subject—all good things! Your Profile Your goal should be to create an engaging profile that piques people's interest and makes them want to know more about you.

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