How to use dating websites

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A lot of the outdated dating rules don’t apply, and sending the first message online is actively encouraged if you want to get your profile looked at. “Set aside an amount of time every day and write a handful of tailored introductory messages to new people,” he says.

“It’s always obvious when someone is cutting and pasting the same general ‘hi’ message.

Ask your friend to keep an eye out for overused phrases.” Honey adds: “It's a good idea to emphasise your activities as people tend to be attractive to those who convey health and vitality.” It’s true – two of the most commonly used words in profiles on Ok Cupid are yoga and (slightly more intimidatingly) surfing.

But running, skiing, tennis, dancing and cycling were also rated highly.

“This is online dating, so most people will be talking to a few people at once.

Don’t take that personally, just be honest about it.

Here are five facts about online dating: Online dating has lost much of its stigma, and a majority of Americans now say online dating is a good way to meet people.

You're not monogamous just because you've been emailing each other for a couple of weeks.” Which is why, Peter adds, it’s worth meeting up as quickly as possible.

This is the big one, because depressing though it may be, your smiling face is the first thing on which people will judge you.

Relationship psychologist Honey Langcaster-James says: “Look straight into the camera and smile showing your teeth – this says open, friendly, healthy and confidence.” A recent study of the most popular profiles on dating sites showed 88 per cent are making eye contact with the camera in their profile picture.

Jim Talbott, director of consumer insights at Match.com, also suggests: “Keep your photos fresh, and swap out your primary photo frequently.

You look like a new user and people who might have missed you before are more likely to give you a second look.” A final thought from Honey: “Don't be tempted to airbrush your picture or present yourself looking too much better than you do in real life, and give group photos a miss to avoid confusion.” It might feel a little awkward, but dating expert Peter Spalton says it’s a great idea to ask a friend to cast a fresh eye over what you’ve written – and not just to check your spelling.

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