Step By Step

1. Choose a Service 2. Set Up an Account 3. Write Your Profile4. Make Contact 5. Respond...Or Don’t 6. The Email Dialogue 7. The Phone Call 8. The Date

More Stuff

Features Reviews Rejections Maximum Visibility Safety Stuff Long Distance Links

Check Out

Step 2: Set Up an Account

To create an account, you’ll have to choose a username and password. Most sites distinguish between the username which you use to log in and the screen name which publicly identifies your profile. In that case, just pick a username and password that you won't forget. Unfortunately, you may not know ahead of time whether your user name will be used as a screen name, but it that happens you can always start over with a new account. Creating an account is almost always free.

Before getting to work on your profile, take a moment to check out your service’s optional settings. For example, most sites allow you to hide your online status. I always choose this option for two reasons. First, I don’t necessarily want the people I’m writing to know when and how often I log in. Second, I don’t like to do the chat thing. If you don’t hide your online status, you’re likely to receive random requests to chats online.

A teacher friend of TR who dates online is afraid that her students might findher profile, so she doesn’t post her picture. If you need to keep your online dating a secret, a better way to accomplish that is to hide your picture or profile. Most services allow you to post a picture or profile that can only be seen by people you contact. That way,  you can show people your photo without having to worry about being outed as an online dater.

Another option to look for is permission to publicize your profile. A friend of mine put her profile up on Nerve Personals and didn’t turn off this setting. Several weekslater, her friends called to heckle her after her picture was printed in TimeOut New York. If you crave that kind of attention, leave this option on; otherwise, turn it off.