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However, upgrading to premium status allows you to chat and send emails to any other members. . For example, keywords can include topics such as wine tasting, historical fiction, or travel. Free users can take the personality test, see photos, and get matches; however, you must subscribe to contact other members. Also like PlentyofFish, you can upgrade to a paid membership, which provides ad-free browsing, preferential placement in search results, storage of up to 5,000 messages, and anonymous browsing. These are our key pointers for staying safe: Tell friends where you'll be on the first date. Get to know them properly first - your safety's more important. We emailed and spoke online for a few weeks, before talking on the phone most nights. The downside is that if there are no matches for you, there isnt much else you can do on the site. You can even set the parameters for who can email you. Com makes you pay for extra features, such as the ability to go online in 'unavailable' mode and request read receipts. We eventually met up for our first date and have never looked back. Make sure someone knows where you're going. ALWAYS read the terms before you join. If your image gets high enough ratings often enough, the site says they will make your profile more visible to other highly rated members. Action Fraud, or your local police station on 101 if you feel threatened. If you're not, it's only an hour to perservere rather than be stuck with someone for a whole evening.- chickalittle Beware dating site auto-renewals Before you sign up, always check. For example, you can choose an age and geographic range, specify that they must not be married, are nonsmokers, and so on. Only share personal details when you've got to know the other person, and you're sure it's a genuine online dater based in the UK. DO NOT send any money - report it to. As a nonpaying member, you can purchase coins to spend on additional features such as boosting your profile in search rankings, or sending virtual gifts. Met my lady nearly six years ago on Match. If you're embarrassed about looking for Mr or Ms Right online, don't be. You could always compose a standard introduction, and adapt parts to make it specific to each person, eg, "I love the fact that you're into hang-gliding". The cost of eHarmony in the U.S. A drink's cheaper than a meal - don't waste cash on a dud If you're looking for a first date venue, a nice cafe or bar's a far more MoneySaving. So if you're a huge Star Trek fan, don't think you have to hide it. Free sites may also work better for individuals who are separated, but not yet divorced (or separated with no immediate intention to divorce). Used right, they can be fantastic tools to help you filter through thousands of potential matches at speed. Trust your instincts Don't rush into meeting up just because your free trial's about to end (or because they 'liked' your profile). By continuing to answer questions, you actively update your profile, which leads to more views. I agree it's quite a daunting experience, but once you sift out the players, it can be positive.- FAIRYFOOTS. Yet with 1,700 online dating sites in the UK alone, it can be tough to sort the good from the bad, ugly and downright strange. When you feel ready to meet your online date face-to-face, make sure someone knows where you're going. If you can't opt out, set a free Tart Alert reminder for the contract's end, or a separate phone reminder, so you remember to cancel if you no longer need. Communication with other users on PlentyofFish is incredibly simple you can chat for free, as well as send and receive emails. Free Online Dating Sites If youre just dipping your toes back into the dating pool, free sites can be a great place to start. Also tell them who you're meeting, and when you'll be back. If your pics are all group shots, suitors may not know which is you. A coffee during a work lunchtime's ideal - ensure there's a defined end time. When someone contacts you, you can see how much of a Match, Friend, or Enemy  they are based upon how their answers compare to yours. Avoid exes - this isn't the place for your old wedding photos. Of course, dating websites are a huge boon in the digital age.