09/27/2012 10:30 am ET

9 Steps To The Perfect Online Dating Message

Online dating: It is not that hard, and yet so many people make it so hard. I’ve been documenting OKCupid atrocities for a while now, and a lot of themes crop up in the terrible messages that daters send me for, um, critiquing. This is how to send a semi-decent online dating message in nine easy steps.

1. One. Paragraph.

A one-sentence message probably isn’t saying enough, but you also don’t want to send a novel. Responding to a few items in a person’s profile will take somewhere between three and eight sentences; if you find yourself writing a six-paragraph missive, work that delete key.

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