Still, navigating the world of online dating can definitely be tricky—what kind of message is clever, but not creepy?

What the hell are you supposed to say about yourself in your profile? [pagebreak] OUT-OF-TOWN AND OUT OF TOUCH The scenario: “A guy sent me a message saying that he wanted to meet up for a drink, but when I asked when he was free, he said he was ‘going out of town’ for the next two weeks and that we should schedule something after.” — Andrea, 31 The problem..the solution: If you tell a girl you’re “going out of town,” she’s going to assume you’re busy dating other women.

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A good rule of thumb: if you aren’t available for a date within 7 days of sending the message, don’t send it.

NOT-SO-SMOOTH OPERATOR The scenario: “I recently received a message that said, ‘Damn you’re a pretty white girl, you into muscular black men?

My buddy thinks you’re real and now we have a $20 bet going. ” — Kristin, 26 The problem..the solution: Aside from the fact that this is a pathetic pickup line, it’s certainly never going to work. [pagebreak] DUMPED AND IN DENIALThe scenario: “I went on a few dates with a guy I met online, and I eventually decided we weren’t compatible, so I was honest with him.

A lot of women are looking for something serious and have no interest in participating in your immature wager with friends. He refused to accept it and continued to message me listing all the reasons why we’d be great together.” — Ashley, 30 The problem..the solution: No matter how strongly you feel about your potential with a woman you meet online, accept the break-up gracefully.

MISSING IN ACTIONThe scenario: “One time I was messaging back and forth with a guy for two weeks and having a great conversation, but he was taking too long to ask me out, so I stopped talking to him.” — Kelly, 32 The problem..the solution: If you’re into her, ask her out! And if you’re not, why are you still talking to her? When she’s ready to make her exit from the online dating world, she’ll let you know. ” The problem..the solution: Sending a generic message—especially one as uninteresting as this—is not what’s going to make you stand out from other guys.

Or if you feel compelled to bring it up, say something like, “I’m not interested in meeting anyone else online. Trust us, she’s getting a boatload of uninspiring messages like “Hi, how are you?

’” — Kristen, 27 The problem..the solution: Aside from the obvious inappropriate nature of the comment to a complete stranger, men should never mention their physical characteristics or their own body parts in an introductory message.

Women are easily scared away online, so you should avoid saying anything remotely controversial or predatory.

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By pointing out your hesitations, she’s bound to assume you’re an insecure person. If you feel so inclined to explain yourself, wait to do it when you’ve met in person — and be confident about your reasons for joining.