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Schwartz was talking primarily about shopping, but this applies to other areas of life as well, such as dating online.

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At the same time, it’s no myth that identities can be faked. Personals, and other online dating sites, and reported that a good percentage (over 30 percent, and in some cases double that) lied about their weight and height.

Use caution about assuming anybody you meet online is who and what he says he is.

Then comes the problem with interpretation of the profile questions.

For example, if you want to weed out members by drinking habits, you may end up with results you don’t want or do the opposite and eliminate perfectly viable candidates. Well, let’s say you’re looking for a date who doesn’t drink alcohol.

Be prepared for the unfortunate fact that dating online is not always safe.

To avoid becoming a victim, SODA (Safer Online Dating Alliance) recommends you don’t display any personally identifiable information in your profile–including pictures of your kids; make sure someone knows the who, what, when and where of any meeting you set up with a date, and trust your instincts at all times. You can select your choices from among candidates that fit your requirements. It may be tempting to weed out as many candidates as possible to simplify your search.

Membership means that the site has to commit to an industry code of practice that includes honest communication with users, protecting their privacy and providing a mechanism for reporting abuse.

Inclusion of the ODA's logo on the site indicates membership.

Even then, you can choose to date exclusively online. As Barry Schwartz, psychologist at Swarthmore College, points out in his book on consumer choice, “The Paradox of Choice,” too many options can lead to anxiety and depression. Well, the fact that human beings are ill adapted to choosing from unmeasurable choices makes decision-making a tricky business.

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