A lot of my single friends moan to me about how hard it is to date online.I can’t help but notice, though, that I hear very different complaints from men than from women (at least the straight ones—my gay friends are another matter).However, if you choose to write to women who share your interests, you gain many opportunities for intriguing opening lines.

Then write her with an intelligent observation—something along the lines of “I love author X’s books, too. ” Or if both of your profiles reveal a love of hiking, share a short anecdote about your favorite trail, then ask about her recent experiences in the great outdoors.

If she writes in her profile that she is studying a foreign tongue you happen to speak, open your first email to her by saying in that language “How was your day?

You are almost guaranteed to fail if you write to a woman on a dating site telling her “You are gorgeous/sexy/hot.” Sorry to break it to you, but this kind of e-mail makes you seem generic and boring.

Most reasonably attractive women with online dating profiles receive dozens of those kind of responses per week—in some cases, dozens per day.

Your compliment won’t stand out from all the other responses in her inbox.

She’ll be bored–not because she’s vain, but because you haven’t said anything to convince her the two of you belong together.

State up front, for instance, that you hate football. You don’t have to write a book about your little oddities and preferences—just a few succinct lines, couched in a humorous tone.

The result will be fewer men writing you, but those responses you receive will be from men more likely to appreciate you for who you are, not someone seeking to project some adolescent dream girl image onto you. My friend tried talking to a guy online who within minutes was asking her really personal questions and things like ‘what do you miss most about not being in a relationship?

I definitely don’t advocate dishonesty here—if you hate sci-fi and her profile doesn’t reveal any other common ground with you, simply move on.