Dating in the 21st century

When it comes to dating, men seem to need more help than women. They’re more likely to put their best foot forward and carry themselves with an air of confidence and competence, giving off signals that they are secure, attractive, fun, and interesting. Women, on the other hand, are often more comfortable going after what they want—and that often means being a little edgy, a little naughty, a little bit of a party girl. Dating is a game of six degrees of separation (with the Internet making the game easier still), and women are more likely to be looking for the man right in front of them than the man who is three steps or six semesters away.

It’s not always easy to ask someone out, and most women, especially those of us who weren’t born with racks of Hollywood good looks or were just never given a chance to shine, have more of a difficult time with self-assurance than men. This, combined with the fact that women, especially younger women, are often seen as a mysterious and frightening creature of lust, makes it even more difficult to ask someone out. This guide is for the girls: to help you figure out how to ask someone out (or turn up the volume on your natural charming exuberance), regardless of where you are in life.

The Right Approach

Of course, the most important thing for dating is finding that someone you like, who likes you back. What matters is the fit, and that usually comes down to chemistry. Even if you’re perfectly put together and have a killer personality (and you know we all know you do), if you’re not hitting it off with your potential relationship, it’s probably not going to work out. But you can’t just wait around for «the one» to come along either.

Luckily, things are slowly but surely changing. The stigma of being single is slowly being washed away by the hipness factor, and we’re seeing dating trends that appeal to everyone, regardless of gender. Whether you’re getting back in the game after a breakup or are looking to take advantage of a different side of the dating scene, there’s no excuse for not getting out there and having some fun.

Take stock of your life, your goals and ambitions, and who you are as a person before you begin to date. Do you want a casual fling, or are you looking for something more serious? Is that someone who will be spending his life with you, or are you looking for
You’ve likely heard plenty of stories about why dating these days is hell, where your options are two hot girls or four mediocre ones, and where the game is just so damn hard that you just can’t seem to find a match. With more people on the market and more options than ever, it can feel like you’re spending an eternity on the A.T.M. waiting for Mr. Freezies to pop up. But no matter how bad things get in the dating world (and they can get very bad), you’ll always have friends, family, and your current relationships to lean on for reassurance, support, and perspective. Even though you may not want to share all of your intimate details about your sex life, your drug habit, or the body image issues that are haunting you, you can still have fun dating—and get the most out of it. For tips on how to approach a first date, read your first several dates with a checklist, and a checklist for what to look for in a potential partner, go here. (See also: If you want more single dates with your potential soulmate, check out MeetUp!)

1. Set up your very own speed dating event and line up 10-15 of your friends and/or acquaintances to pair up with each other in an organized meetup. Cover the event with a theme, ask your friends to dress in costumes, and then, try not to care as you attempt to locate three compatible people for every single person.

2. Join an online dating site for exactly what it says on the tin. Sign up to meet tons of people, make genuine connections, and find your person. Most sites have been so inundated with users (and expectations) that there’s no reason to sign up with a site in order to wait around for someone to sweep you off your feet. You can sign up for sites like JDate, Match, JSwipe, PlentyOfFish, and other niche sites, but as far as what you get out of it, there’s a ton of overlap between them. Be picky, try the site out, and if you don’t find any that work for you, you can always unsubscribe. (See also: 10 Online Dating Sites You Should Try)

3. Join the singles scene by attending or hosting a party. This doesn’t have to be a commercialized over-the-top-you’re-going-to-make-me-pay event: It could be an open

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