40 Dating DOs and DON'Ts

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40 Dating DOs and DON'Ts
Dating can lead to all kinds of tricky situations.

To help you navigate even the most awkward moments, we've compiled our 40 best dating tips--some new, some old--given to us by experts, moms, women like you, and even Justin Timberlake.

1. DON'T look for perfection.
Encouraging you to settle isn't our style, but separating your desires from your deal-breakers can give your love life a major upgrade. "There are some qualities that your mate must have-being honest, for example--and others, such as movie-star looks, that should be thrown in the would-be-nice category," says Elizabeth R. Lombardo, Ph.D., author of A Happy You: Your Ultimate Prescription for Happiness. "Sit down and realistically figure out what characteristics are nonnegotiable and then be open-minded about the rest."

2. DO expect to meet men in unexpected places.
"Keep your eyes open at all times for opportunities to meet quality men, not just when you are all dressed up to go out," says dateologist Tracey Steinberg.

3. DON'T assume that somebody's not interested in you.
Don't conclude that if you don't think you look cute, you don't look cute to someone else, says Paula Bloom, author of Why Does He Do That? Why Does She Do That?.

"So if you're running to the grocery store after the gym, and some guy starts talking to you and trying to make conversation with you, you may be thinking he just wants to talk to you when he's actually really trying to make a connection with you. If you don't think you look attractive, you might miss it."

4. DO be confident and make the first move.
The jury is in: Men really do prefer women who make the first move. "It's not because it takes the pressure off of them," said Christopher Brya, coauthor of WTF Are Men Thinking. "Instead, it shows that you're confident, which is really the biggest turn-on." Many guys sense that the frequency of men making the first move (asking for phone numbers or dates, etc.) is actually diminishing. As one guy put it, "Waiting for a man to make the first move is real old-school and outdated." Plus, if you're a take-charge woman in every other facet of your life, why be a wallflower when it comes to men?

5. DO make it easy for men to date you.
True story: Guys have a fear of rejection. If you make it easy for them to ask you out, the more apt they'll be to do it. "Making it easy means telling a man in the clearest terms that you are interested and wouldn't say no to a date," says Harlan Cohen, author of Getting Naked: Five Steps to Finding the Love of Your Life (While Fully Clothed and Totally Sober).

6. DON'T go out in one huge group.
"The best size group to go out with is three," says Shannon Fox, the author of Last One Down the Aisle Wins. Going out alone might invite men to talk to you but only because you seem vulnerable and desperate. Two is too easily unbalanced. (What nice guy wants to ask a girl to dance if it means leaving her friend all alone?) And four is too intimidating-no guy wants to risk putting himself out there in front of a gang of potentially critical women."

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