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Online dating: what not to ask

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Online dating can bring out the worst as well as the best in people. This becomes apparent when you're communicating with matches. Some guys go for the sexual advances right away, hoping to see how far they can get. Others take a more casual yet generic approach. But what strategy actually gets you the best response?

A recent article in Time Magazine discussed some of the worst questions women get when they are online dating. If you want to get more responses, pay attention. Being aware of how you come across to a woman who doesn't know you, your motives, or even your sense of humor, is critical. Don't expect replies when you say something like, "so, why are you single?"

Questions like this can bring up a range of emotions - some women might think you're calling them failures, while others might wonder if you're snooping around for bad relationship habits (like being too clingy, emotional, or angry and jealous). A good tip to keep in mind, guys: if you don't want to answer the question yourself, you probably shouldn't ask a woman.

Another question guys tend to ask is: "what do you do for fun?" While this seems pretty harmless, it shows you didn't really read her profile. Chances are she's already mentioned some of her hobbies or interests. To make your question a little more engaging or interesting, why not get specific? Try this instead: "I see from your profile you love scuba diving. Where is your favorite place to go?" It shows you are interested and paying attention to details. That's attractive.

One standard but boring question guys ask all the time is: "how was your day?" It's way too generic to take seriously. Again, try to be more engaging. Instead, how about saying: "after a week at your job, what do you most want to do when you wake up Saturday morning?" That way, you get a real sense of a woman's happiness and how she likes to spend her free time.

Bottom line: refrain from asking anything that you wouldn't want to answer, or you wouldn't find particularly engaging. Remember, you're looking to light a spark. Use your creativity.

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