5 Simple Online Dating Resolutions… make for the year ahead. They’ll help you succeed in your hunt for love. Try them and get revved for success in 2009.

By Laura Gilbert

Resolution #1: “I will get noticed with my username”
Your username doesn’t have to be hilarious, but if it’s unique, people will be naturally curious to find out about you. So revisit your name to make sure it works super-hard for you in 2009. A clever handle actually gives members something to hold on to and can facilitate an introduction that otherwise wouldn’t happen. “Read a bunch of profiles and then ask yourself which names stand out,” says Evan Marc Katz, C.E.O. of e-Cyrano and author of I Can’t Believe I’m Buying This Book. “The best ones make you smile or are puns.” Not that you have to be overly genius—just take the obvious name and go one step further. “One client was into animals, but The Horse Whisperer had already been done,” he says. “We called her The Goose Whisperer and she got five emails just asking
Your username doesn’t have to be hilarious, but if it’s unique, people will be naturally curious to find out about you.
about the name. Another guy loved his car, an Alfa Romeo, so we called him AlfaMale. The truth is, everyone you find attractive is going to be attractive to other people, too, so your job is to sound different than everyone else. After all, with all the options, why would anyone choose you? You’ve gotta make that decision for them!”

Resolution #2: “I will pull a pop-culture reference”
Your profile should give members something to ask you about, and there’s nothing wrong with throwing in a few pop-culture references that are sure to resonate with most people. So re-spin part of your profile to mention that you can’t wait to read Frank McCourt’s latest or are addicted to Lost. “The one profile trick that’s worked like a charm is that I mention that I’ve read The Kite Runner,” says Miriam from Washington, DC. “Everyone else seems to have so it’s an easy way to start a chat with someone who looks cool.” Whether you’re a guy who loves Russell Crowe movies or a woman who’s all about Coldplay, by mentioning your cultural reference points, you’ll make it easy for someone with the same tastes to get in touch with you.

Resolution #3: “I will hone my headline”
Your headline is also an element that shows up on all searches, so make it work extra-hard for you in the year ahead. Sincere statements (“Ready to settle down”) can come off as needy in a profile; self-conscious lines (“Can’t believe I’m doing this!”) make readers worry you’ll judge them for online dating. And getting too specific can be a problem too—cribbing a line from your favorite Seinfeld episode, when out of context, may just register a lot of “huh?” reactions. “There are a million things you don’t want to say in the title, because it will blow you out of the water,” says Roman Griffen, author of Internet Dating: Tips, Tricks, Tactics. So go with something simple that gives a little detail about what makes you tick: “Classical music buff seeks same who also loves beer and bbq” is broad yet specific enough to get you a good number of responses. “You may not win anyone’s heart with a good title, but people will ignore you if you have a bad one,” says Griffen.

Resolution #4: “I won’t let things linger online”
While it can be fun to develop a good, bantering e-mail relationship, it’s wise to meet someone in person relatively soon so you can find out if you click when you don’t have hours to compose the perfectly hilarious e-mail. And for some, the faster, the better. So vow to meet prospects versus carrying out long online conversations. “I try to meet
While it can be fun to develop a good, bantering e-mail relationship, it’s wise to meet someone in person relatively soon.
people in person within a week of that first email contact,” says Matt Schneiderman from Raleigh, NC. “If there’s no chemistry, I’d rather know sooner than later. After all, if we just keep emailing, I’ll have all these expectations, and then it’s disappointing if it turns out to just be one more friend I’m not dating.”

Resolution #5: “I will print out key info”
“For each person you email, you should print out their profile so you can remember which person is which, and then keep copies of all your emails so you know what you’ve told to who,” advises Kathryn Lord, romance coach and author of Find A Sweetheart Soon. “When you’re emailing five or six people, it’s easy to accidentally repeat things or forget details about someone and write the wrong one to the wrong person,” she says. “I met my husband online in May of 1998 and we both kept copies of everything.” Not only is being organized practical, it can have a sentimental payoff. “We now have an entire set of the emails we exchanged before we even met, and every year on our anniversary we reread them.”

Freelance writer Laura Gilbert’s online policy is to distrust anyone who thinks she’s joking about being passionate about naps.
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