Online dating can either be the most frustrating experience you have ever had or it will be a the most fun in dating since your junior year in high school. The key to successful online dating is setting the proper expectations. Once you have set your expectations you can dive in and enjoy. Dating is about getting to know yourself as much as it is someone else. Exploring why you are nervous, embarrassed, happy, joyful, exhilarated, impatient and disgusted are just as important as finding a great partner. Here are several tips to make it a fun experience instead of a nightmare.

Yes, people do look at the pictures. Post as many as you can. I can not tell you how many girls I personally spoke to who said they DID care how the guy looked. Many times, people who want to see pictures of those they are going to date do not have any of themselves posted online. So this rule goes for both sexes. I am sorry to break the news to you but pictures are worth a million words. If the judging party does not like your looks in the picture, they aren't going to like your looks when they meet you personally. You might as well put all the cards on the table from the beginning. While you are doing that, make sure that the picture you have is the best possible picture you can post. Glamour Shots are NOT your best pictures. If you don't have an attractive picture of yourself, then take one! Take a bunch of them. This should not be that hard folks. Nice clothes, hair stylist, facials, pedicures, manicures, and anything else that makes you feel better about yourself are all fair game. Action photos, hobbies, work, family events, vacation pictures, and crazy snap shots are all good places to find those special pictures.

The online profile is the second most important part of your online experience. Once you have hooked them in with a great picture or pictures, it is time to give them the content that tells them who you are. The quick and dirty tips are; spell check, and talk about your interests, your future goals and what you want out of a friendship. The online dating sites get pretty close to listing everything you need to tell the other person, like no smoking, male/female, education, favorites, hobbies, etc Now it is your turn in the free write section to talk about you, tell them how intelligent you are, what other things you like to do. Have your friends spell check and look at the grammar. There is nothing worse than a misspelled word or grammatical error that makes you look like an idiot.

Do not lie! I cannot imagine a clearer statement, but it seems when I was in the online scene, no one knew what those three words meant. "I do not smoke", means you do not smoke. It does not mean, "I only smoke at parties or when I have a beer." Just quitting, is probably not a fair statement either. "I do not do drugs", means you do not do drugs, period! It does not mean, only occasionally or when I have to release the stress. I weigh 125 pounds means you weigh 125 pounds today and not ten years ago in high school or right after you starved yourself for six weeks on some fad diet. Honesty is refreshing and is an invitation to see each other again. Dishonesty is a recipe for nightmare online dating and really wastes everyone's time including your own.

Setting your expectations for each first date should be very easy. You have emailed and hopefully spoken on the phone with this person. There should be no surprises except those that you want to be a surprise. Thinking you are going to marry each and every person that you meet is a mistake. Think about your best friends, how long it took you to meet and get to know them. If you are looking for a friend, a best friend or a wife/husband, you should know what you expect from each date before you leave your home. This makes the time you spend with on the date ever so much more enjoyable for both of you. Talking about kids and marriage on the first date is okay if both of you initiated the subject. If you are on the only one talking about it and the other person's eyes have the look of fear, you have probably made a fatal mistake.

Remember this process can be a little scary for everyone involved and there might be some trepidation. This is normal and should not be misconstrued as insecurity. You and the other person have probably been on one or many different online dates and each one can be an experience with unknown outcomes. Give yourself and your date a break and be sensitive to the other person's feeling.

If you have sex on the first three dates, you are probably going a little fast. Do not be disappointed if your partner decides they do not want to see you again. Here is a novel idea. How about waiting a couple of months or longer? The longer you wait, the better it is and the better it is, the more meaning it has. Yes there are still people who wait till after marriage too. Having sex means a lot of different things to different people. For some it is just having fun and part of the whole dating scene. I hope those people get themselves checked often. For others it is a serious commitment that requires, trust and love. Remember to respect the other person's point of view.

Online dating should be fun. Discussing the nightmares you have had in the past, is not the best conversation material for the first online date. Think about what you are going to say. You don't have to be tight lipped but talking about how ugly the last girl or guy was or how stupid they acted is not a good primer for the rest of the night. Positive, upbeat, light conversation is the best for any first time meeting. Common sense should be common. Try using a little before you open your mouth.