Last week reprinted a wordy e-mail from the user of online dating site OKCupid, in which the author broke up with a woman he had met through the site and with whom he had shared a sum total of three dates.

Count ’em again: three dates. Yet somehow he spun that into 700 words worth of impolite jabs, braggadacio, and unhelpful recommendations. Ouch!

So, now that this user has provided the rest of the world with this helpful example of how not to break up with someone you met online, how can you cut it off tactfully? Before you hit “send” on that e-mail, keep these tips in mind:

1. Keep it short and sweet. All you really have to say is, “I had fun, but I didn’t feel a connection.” Or, if that’s not quite true, “I don’t think we’re a good fit.” There’s no need for wordy explanations.

2. Be polite. Mr OKCupid probably thought he was doing his date a favor by pointing out her perceived flaws, and it does make for funny reading; but in real life, this is called “being rude”. Just keep your opinions to yourself.

3. Don’t overstate the relationship. Online dating tends to speed up the normal “blind date” routine; but don’t confuse all those exchanged e-mails and pictures for the months of face-to-face interaction that constitute a typical fledgling relationship. A date is just a date, and you can’t really know someone until you’ve spent time with them anyway. So if you meet up and realize the spark just isn’t there, don’t verbally wring your hands over the end of the “relationship”. A mutual love of coffee and classic literature does not a relationship make.

4. Don’t stress about it. Just like in the offline dating world, that initial spark of attraction sometimes fades after a few dates. As they say, there are plenty of fish in the sea, so don’t let a couple of bad experiences drive you away from online dating.