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Meredith Golden, married mother of two, will take over your dating apps and impersonate you for $2,000 a month - doing all the matching and messaging. Here are her do's and don'ts for finding a valentine online.

- Don't ask, "Hey, what are you looking for?" Note in your bio what kind of relationship you want, but avoid asking about specific character traits. Men are more inclined to ask this, Golden says. But, "It's such a silly question." Even the "right" answers don't mean much until you've met and can judge whether you have chemistry. "Just because someone's perfect on paper, that doesn't mean you're going to mesh well," she adds.

I can confirm this. On an app date last fall, my date kept asking what I was looking for and not-so-subtly telling me he fit the criteria. In his mind, maybe, but not in mine.

- Keep the conversation moving. "If someone asks you a question, respond and ask a question back," she says, and do so in a timely manner - back and forth twice a day so you don't lose momentum. This sounds easy, yet anyone on dating apps will tell you it's apparently very difficult.

- Be consistent. Some singles will say something like "Wednesday's my dating-app day." It doesn't work that way, Golden says. "You can't be on for 16 hours a day," she notes. But if someone spends 30 minutes a day swiping and messaging, Monday through Friday, that could yield them one date a week.

- After three to four days of chatting, schedule a date or move on. You have to do more than message to make dating apps work. That person who messages consistently, asking about your day, your week, your weekend - over several weeks or weekends - without asking you out? He just wants a pen pal. "They're on there to boost their ego," Golden says. "They're dating app recreationalists; they're just on it for sport."

Golden remembers messaging with one man, on behalf of a client, and to nudge him to ask her client out, she said how much more fun she is in person. He responded that he'd never met anyone from an app and never would. "I really hate my job," he said, "and this is a good way to spend my day."

To weed out the office pen pals, Golden suggests asking someone out after three to four days of messaging. It's fine if you schedule a week or two weeks out. Just get something on the books. If a date isn't happening by then, unmatch and move on.

- When scheduling that date, stay in the app. When someone asks for a phone number to segue to texting and schedule a date, there's a high drop-off rate. So "keep it in the app until you're scheduled," Golden suggests.


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