'The Modern Girl's Guide to Sticky Situations,' by Jane Buckingham

It's sometimes hard to comprehend that your interactions with others on online dating sites involve real people, so it's always best to react the same way you would in a real-life situation. Think about it: all day and all night, men make advances to women -- on the bus, on the train, in traffic, in elevators, at the grocery store, and, of course, in bars. So, just like in any other situation where you are approached by a man, respond politely. If the messages continue, how about a simple "No thanks" or "I don't think we're a good match, but thank you for messaging me"? Let the guy down kindly and promptly. For the most part, he will accept your lack of interest as part of the risk of online dating. Of course, there are the notorious e-mails littering the interweb written by men unwilling to accept rejection. If you get a nasty response, you have every right to ignore his message or block him (or maybe even forward his message on to Jezebel.com).

You've messaged a guy who looks perfect for you and he hasn't responded -- what gives?

Sadly, this is all part of the risk of online dating. You can't know why he's not interested -- maybe he's just online to browse and not to date, maybe you look like his nasty ex-girlfriend, maybe he started dating his coworker the very day you sent your message. Or maybe he doesn't think you are a good match. It's best to forget him and find a new online crush.

There's no chemistry on a once promising blind or Internet date.

This is why it's best to meet up with an interesting Internet swain before investing too much time in phone calls or letter writing. Sometimes a great pen pal just doesn't add up to a hot date. Cut the evening short and follow up with a simple "I'm sorry, but I just didn't feel we had a connection." It's all part of dating.

The Ex Files

You just ran into your ex with his new girlfriend and suddenly you can't stop thinking about him.

We always want what we can't have. The same exboyfriend who was so irritating last week suddenly seems appealing when he's on the arm of a new girl. It's okay to savor a few fond memories as long as it doesn't lead to any drunken texts or dramatic scenes. The feelings you had for him before seeing him at brunch with that blonde are most likely to be the accurate ones. So give yourself a few hours of delicious nostalgia, then refer to the laundry list of his annoying traits (write one up, if need be) and move on. And find a new place to have brunch.

If you catch sight of your ex with his new lady, suck it up and walk over with confidence. Even if you're slouching around in track pants on your way to the Laundromat (and isn't that always the case?), smile big and shake hands. The fact that you can be confident with your singlehood (or at least fake it) is inherently cool. And, if need be, it's fine to point out the awkwardness of the situation, as long as you do it with a sense of humor.

You run into an ex while with your current flame.

If you're the one with the new hottie on your arm, try not to rub it in. Be polite, introduce them, and, if possible, be on your way. It never hurts to be classy, even if you were the one who got your heart broken. Seeing you with a new man is punishment enough without forcing your ex to witness a PDA.

You and your ex have actually managed a great friendship, but so far you've avoided the subject of new romances. Now he wants you to meet his new love, and you're not really feeling it.

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