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Chances are you’ve already had a few romantic dalliances, even if they only yielded to the status quo of hooking up and being “friends with benefits.” So, instead of being nervous about the next time you meet a new guy (or girl) in real life, use these tips to make dating more fun:

1. Ask out the bartender. Good luck with that.

2. Get drunk in public. A dater after our own hearts.

3. Be open to the worst-case scenario.

4. Be wary of cliché.

5. Make regular contact when you’re not seeing each other.

6. Don’t ask the other person directly if they’re seeing anyone else. If they say yes—even out of curiosity—then don’t ask, because it means they’re not interested. (Unless you’re starting a new relationship with someone and they mention they’re currently seeing someone else. In that case, it’s worth mentioning.)

7. Keep your conversation goal in mind.

8. If you see that cute guy/girl who you’re dying to go on a second date with, stop yourself and call a friend instead. If you’re a good enough friend, you might even be able to salvage a night out with him/her for another day.

9. Chances are the best pickup lines are not going to work for you.

10. Don’t turn your phone off when you go on a date.

11. Don’t turn your phone on after a date.

12. Avoid discussing your ex/current relationship.

13. Never ask someone out if your relationship is still going strong with someone else. Doing so might offend the other person.

14. If you’ve been dating one person for more than a few months, don’t ask someone else out within the first five minutes of meeting them, unless you want to send some potentially very uncomfortable vibes—and probably receive a very un-friendly response.

15. Don’t show up to a date if you’re hungover.

16. Be yourself. (But, clearly not that much.)

17. Don’t come on too strong or you might scare them off.

18. Remember that you’re a person on a date, and you owe the other person a certain amount of fun.

19. Don’t be the “friend” who is on a first date.
Take it slow. Sure, you’re going to meet loads of guys, or at least lots of ones who are interested in meeting you. But if any of them seem like a great prospect, wait two to three weeks to exchange phone numbers and see if you have a real connection. The sooner you do this, the less likely you will be tempted to sleep with someone just because he has a lot of money or a pretty face.

There is nothing wrong with using your beauty or charm to lure people into bed. Many women do it. But men should be choosy when they have nothing else going for them, and no one knows this better than we do. Plus, it’s best to get to know someone before having sex with him.

Ditch the chips. Meet people in restaurants, bars, coffee shops, and the gym, but don’t waste your time with people who are looking for something more than just casual fling. If you want a relationship, go on a date with someone you actually like, rather than one of those people you like who wants to date you. If you want to date someone without strings, spend time with someone who has no interest in getting you in bed, but who still seems like a decent person.

Don’t jump on any boat. People are constantly breaking up, but the idea that people are “picked up” out of the New York Times marriage column is a fallacy. As Matthew Hussey notes at The Huffington Post:

I’ve dated girls who loved to go out on the weekends to bars and clubs, and I’ve dated girls who hated the thought of being out on the weekends at all. I’ve dated girls who’ve dated guys who were both nice and nice-guy, and I’ve dated girls who’ve dated girls who had a whole group of guys they were with. One big thing you can take away from all this is the fact that it doesn’t matter how good of a person you are, or how good your relationship is with your family or friends, you can still wind up in a dumb situation. It’s not easy to break this cycle of bad habits and pick up some good ones, but you can.

Don’t go home with anyone who doesn’t know where to take you. Guys—dating or not—don’t understand what date means, they just think they’re going to get laid. There are tons of options. Maybe they’re just hoping that you’re looking for casual sex, in which case you have to

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