Dear Readers,

Happy New Year!

Welcome to 2013, “The Year of The Risk.” At least that’s what I’m calling it. As your advice columnist for the past 18 years, I’ve seen a problem. In fact, it’s an epidemic. We live in a world where fear overpowers passion. We run from rejection. We hide from the truth. As a result, we live in a world with millions of people who can’t find love and millions more stuck in bad relationships. This year, I’m doing something about it. On Jan. 15 the Getting Naked Experiment will launch. The goal of this Naked Movement is simple: Help single people find love and help couples make their relationships better — or find someone better. I invite you to get emotionally naked this year and take THE RISK. To participate and find more information, please visit I wish you a peaceful, blessed and healthy New Year filled with love, happiness and abundance. May we all live our lives in the spirit of those who have been taken from the world far too soon. Happy New Year!

Hey Harlan,

I’m a 36-year-old female doctor who has a hard time meeting people. I’ve done the online thing before, and quit because of all of the fake losers I met. During the first two months back on the online dating scene, I’ve met two losers. One of whom I dated for a month before he just stopped texting and I realized that he was actively dating on another online site, seeing other people. The other one changed his profession on his profile from business owner to physician the day after our date. It was almost like he adopted my personal ad. I know your advice is to brush it off and move on, but some of these guys are sociopaths. How do I avoid them? I thought paying for membership would weed out the freaks, but this doesn’t seem to be the case. I just feel myself getting angrier the more this happens to me. Any advice?

Deceived Too Many Times

Dear Deceived,

There are lots of losers offline, too. In a way, it’s better to meet them online. You can do research. It’s harder to dig face-to-face. Online losers can be Googled (put names in quotes and use advance search tools), background checked (try and tracked via social networks (see past Tweets, blogs and status updates). If someone passes the test, meet for a quick drink. If drinks work, make it a date. During the date, find out if his exes still talk to him (that’s a good thing), if he loves his mom (even better) and if he doesn’t push you when you say “no” to sex (waiting weeds losers out). As you continue dating, sample online services. Try a spiritual online site. Change your profile and picture on a regular basis. Make it a rule that you do the pursuing and don’t respond to pursuers. Try a dating service for professionals (It’s Just Lunch). One last suggestion, an attractive, dynamic woman like you needs to make it easy for men to date you. Meaning, make it clear when you are interested (online and offline) and make it clear what you want. Men need to know it’s safe to approach you. But appreciate, that as a beautiful, intelligent, single female doctor, men might try to be more in order to impress you. And that can mean lying online and offline. Keep me posted!

Harlan is author of “Getting Naked: Five Steps to Finding the Love of Your Life (While Fully Clothed and Totally Sober)” (St. Martin’s Press).

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