There's actually a decent body of evidence out there about what works in online dating, coming from both independent academic researchers and internet dating companies themselves.This is their advice: Researchers have studied word choice both in people's profiles and in their messages — and found some tantalizing results.

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As you move past that 17 to 23 day sweet spot and continue talking just online, she says, you might begin to envision someone as friendlier, say, or as having a deeper voice.

Filling in those gaps with your imagination can later lead to disappointment, Sumner says.

But about 60 percent of women could expect to receive a response after reaching out to men first whereas only 35 percent of men could expect the same after reaching out to a woman.

(Much of the research on initial contact has focused on heterosexual interactions.) Making the first move can also have an impact on the well-documented racial boundaries in online dating.

A 2014 study published in found that the longer online daters talk online before meeting face to face, the more likely they will have negative or ambivalent feelings about continuing the relationship after their first date.

The 500 online daters in the study reported more positive outlooks on the relationship's potential when they had talked between 17 and 23 days before meeting up.That time frame is "the sweet spot," says the study's co-author Art Ramirez, who researches online communication at University of South Florida."The longer you wait to meet someone, the more chance you have to form an idealized perceptions of them," says Erin Sumner, who co-authored the paper and studies online communication at Trinity University.If you're tempted to lie, ask yourself how obvious you think your lie would be if you met someone in person.Someone might notice you lied, but it also might get you more first dates to begin with.That being said, the lies were generally small, and were about height, weight, or age. For example, you could fudge your height a little to get into the ideal range.