DO be proactive with your love life.
“A lot of people — men and women — expect relationships to happen to them. They’re not just going to happen to you. You’ve got to work for it, just like you put the work in to advance in your career. Go on lots of dates. Meet lots of people. Even if most dates don’t work out, you’ll have met some cool new people and grown your odds of meeting the right one.” —Emma Tessler, founder and executive matchmaker for The Dating Ring and veteran dater (she went on 115 OkCupid first dates before finding her now-fiancé … respect).
DON’T take the dating game too seriously.
“Dating in New York is tough. You shouldn’t give up on it, but it definitely demands a very honest relationship with the city. You have to take everything with a grain of salt. You shouldn’t take anything personally. It’s just too goddamn tough. Once you go with its rhythms, you’re a lot better off.” —Jordan Carlos, comedian, writer for Comedy Central’s The Nightly Show, cast member on MTV’s Guy Code and Girl Code, and guest star on Girls and Broad City.
DO give a guy (subtle) permission to talk to you.
“If you want to meet a better quality man, you’re going to have to get used to taking more risks. It’s extraordinarily rare that a woman actually makes our job easier. Us guys, we’re waiting for you to give us license. We’re praying for it. We want you to turn to us and be like, ‘It’s so busy in here.’ Say the most obvious thing you can think of because in that moment, we don’t hear, ‘It’s so busy in here.’ We hear, ‘It’s OK for you to talk to me.'” —Matthew Hussey, dating coach, New York Times best-selling author, Cosmo columnist, and Brit (making everything he says infinitely more charming)
DO give him some space after making a move.
“The best thing you can do is engage a guy for a moment — mention his shoes, his style, his anything — and then turn away. If you continue the conversation, you’ll never know if he’s actually attracted or just going with the flow. Within the next five minutes, you’ll discover if that guy is attracted to you. Don’t be easy, but in the first five seconds, be easy.” —Matthew Hussey
DON’T judge a dude by his pickup line.
“Listen, the city is soul crushing. All us guys can get out sometimes is ‘Hey.’ We’re just trying. Just say or text ‘hey’ back. You’re tired after a long day, right? Guess what? Men also lack energy after a long day. I’m not saying it’s an excuse, but sometimes that is the case.” —Jordan Carlos
DON’T let a boring Tinder bio keep you from swiping right.
“Being good at writing an online profile only means that you’re good at writing an online profile. That’s all it’s reflective of. That’s it. It’s a very specific skill, and it’s pretty useless in the rest of the world. A lot of great people suck at writing online-dating profiles and taking pictures. These are terrible reasons not to date someone. So date everyone.” —Emma Tessler
DO pick a first date spot you’re familiar with.
“Go someplace you feel comfortable. Home court advantage is huge. I would always go stake out a spot and get there early. I’d bring a book and feel like I was at home in the bar, so I wasn’t constantly like, ‘Oh my god, is he here yet? Is he here yet?’ If his train was delayed 20 minutes, I would still have a drink and a book to read. I was having a good time regardless. That way, when he got there, I was feeling in control of the situation.” —Emma Tessler
DON’T obsess over a “perfect guy” checklist…
“The first thing that you have to do is take your checklist and throw it away. Those checklists are really fucking stupid. If you’re in a city like New York and the pool of men is already smaller than the pool of women, don’t shrink it by adding requirements for height and hairline. Don’t do that to yourself. There are so many more important things to focus on, and you might end up being attracted to someone totally different from who you expected.” —Emma Tessler
…But DO set relationship standards.
“Everyone says they have standards for how they want to be treated because it’s fashionable to say, but they only have standards with people they don’t give a shit about. When they like somebody, standards tend to go out the window. I’ve seen it done even with the strongest women. The thing that actually makes a guy settle down is when a woman comes along who has a different set of standards than the other women he’s met. Then she immediately becomes unique.” —Matthew Hussey
DO focus on how someone makes you feel
“So many women go into a date thinking, ‘What do I think of this person?’ which immediately puts you in judging mode. You start picking him apart, like, ‘I don’t like his shoes,’ or, ‘He’s nice but I wish he had more hair.’ But a friend of mine actually gave the best advice about this. Instead of focusing on what you think of your date superficially, focus on ‘How does he or she make me feel? Does he make me anxious? Does she make me feel like the best version of myself?’ That’s really how you’ll know if this is someone worth making plans with again.” —Marina Khidekel, Cosmo deputy editor, who hears from women all the time about their dating triumphs and dilemmas.
DON’T be afraid to tell him what you need.
“I once had someone say to me ‘I know that you care for me, but you seem like you need to explore what you want, so I think you should do that. I don’t want someone who’s not completely 100 percent into me. That’s not my ideal, and hopefully when you figure out what you want, I’ll still be here, but we can’t know that. All I know is I think you should explore what it is you want.’ It did three things: asserted a standard, showed kindness, and introduced the fear that she may not be there. Men don’t like the idea of giving you up now, knowing they could potentially lose you for good.” —Matthew Hussey
DO know it’s time to walk away.
“When is a guy ready to commit to a real relationship? I’ve noticed it’s usually once he has gotten his first taste of career success or is able to provide for himself. If he gets a big promotion, the world seems bright and possibilities are endless. Beforehand, he might look at his position and say, ‘I’m not sure I want to commit to a relationship if I don’t have my own life together.’ If that’s the case, use the power you have and back away from the table. If you make an ultimatum, make good on it for yourself. It does hurt — but sometimes it has to hurt a little so you can gain a lot.” —Jordan Carlos