Once full of stigma, Internet dating has really taken off — now it’s only 15 percent stigma. More and more people are turning to the web in order to add some romance to their busy lives. There’s no doubt it’s more convenient than conventional dating: you can take your time, peruse (though it’s difficult not to feel like you’re looking at a catalogue), and exchange as many messages as you want before committing to anything. On the other hand, you can also be granted opportunities to express yourself in ways you’d struggle with in person, which can be freeing.

However, due to the slightly detached nature of interacting online, there is the tendency to behave in ways that would be deemed inappropriate in public. No self-respecting human being would parade around in day-to-day life with no shirt on, so why post pictures of your shirtless self on the web?

Here are some dos and don’t of Internet dating, so that you don’t become that guy or girl.

online dating

Don’t: post outdated or unrealistic pictures of yourself. (Or five billion in-the-mirror selfies).

Yeah, we know how great you looked three-five years ago — but sooner or later, you’re going to meet some potential matches in real life, and there are few quicker turn-offs than finding out you’ve been lied to. Of course, appearances aren’t everything, but we’re kidding ourselves if we think they don’t mean anything. If you can’t trust someone to be honest about what they look like, how can you believe they’ll be honest about other things?

Also…how many mirrors can you realistically pose in front of? Ease up on the selfies — you’ll look like you’re trying too hard.

Do: be sincere, but subtle, with praise.

Compliments are nice. Relentless waves of gushing are not. Speak from your heart, but also trust the other party paid attention to your kind words and will remember them. Feeling like you’re being beaten over the head with praise is just as bad as too much negativity. Be cool, man/woman — there’s a fine line between being playfully affectionate and being creepy.

Don’t: be sloppy with your profile.

Internet dating profiles are a little like casual CVs: you’ve got to make a good first impression and get across the necessary information. Too many half-finished, lazily written, and typo-riddled profiles flood the databases — and there’s nothing more disappointing than seeing a nice picture of somebody that’s followed up with a series of LOLs, generic statements that don’t reveal anything unique, or no responses to questions at all.

Remember: five percent of profiles get 95 percent of the views. Make your profile stand out in a sea of mediocrity.

Do: read a potential match’s profile carefully.

One of the best ways to make a good impression on someone is to pay attention to detail. If someone’s gone to a lot of effort to present themselves honestly and attractively, you owe them a thorough read. Paying attention to someone’s profile shows you’re not just copy-pasting the same responses to everybody, and using online dating for the right reasons: to find a potential partner.

If you’re just looking for an easy hookup, go to a strip club or something.

Let’s get rid of that remaining 15 percent of stigma, shall we? Don’t abuse the online dating system, and it could well become your catalyst for a happy love life.