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If you show up and your date looks nothing like his photo––and this does happen––don't run screaming for the exit.

Your Profile Picture It can seem difficult to stand out in the vast sea of online daters; the best way to do so is by creating a great profile—and be sure to always include a photo.

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.

After that, have a phone conversation—trade cell phone numbers, never home numbers.

Or better yet, call him so that you won't have to give out your number at all.

If someone is new to a site, his or her profile is often featured in the community and the person becomes inundated with e-mails.

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