LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - FEBRUARY 08: General view of dining table decorated in the theme of the film 'Les Miserables' ahead of the EE British Academy Film Awards 2013 at The Grosvenor House Hotel on February 8, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Stuart Wilson/Getty Images)
  1. Choose the right place.  The location you choose sets the tone for your date. Unless you already know what types of activities your date likes, it’s best pick a neutral, low-pressure place where you can focus on getting to know each other and figuring out how well you connect.
  2. Prepare for engaging conversation.  Studies show that if you’re going on a date, with a woman especially, you should forget the cheesy pick-up lines and opt for an interesting conversation starter instead. Women tend to rate empty compliments and failed attempts at humor poorly. They are more attracted to dates who spark conversation topics that show they are curious, intelligent and cultured.
  3. Get your mind right.  One of the most important things to do before a date starts and before you leave the house is getting your mind right. While you can’t control chemistry, compatibility, or attraction, you can make sure you’re mentally ready if they happen.
  4. Learn from the past. If you’re having a hard time getting past bad dating experiences, focus on what you can learn from them rather than dwelling on the negativity. Did you engage in unkind or unfair behaviors on your dates? Is there anything you could have done to improve past situations?
  5. Make sure you are presentable.  Understanding the way you present yourself (and thus how others may perceive you) is important both before and during a date. In fact, if you’re venturing into online dating, then the “before” stage is extremely important.
  6. Be mindful of your body language.  Taking a deeper look at how you present yourself bleeds into your date in the way you communicate both verbally and nonverbally. In fact, your nonverbals (your body language and facial expressions) are perhaps the loudest thing you communicate.
  7. Be interested to be interesting.  Everyone — and I mean everyone — enjoys talking about themselves. By asking your date questions about them (and continuing the dialogue with your own thoughts when there’s an opening) you’re showing that you’re interested in them. That in turn makes you more interesting. Being aloof may look good on a magazine, but is no fun for anyone in real life.
  8. Know that a perfect match doesn’t require perfect compatibility.  Studies show that being less compatible also can enable a couple to withstand some of life’s difficulties more easily.
  9. Understand what fuels desire.  What fuels desire is truly in you.  No, it’s not just about how you look. It’s also not about your outfit or your success or anything else that makes up the superficial aspects of your life. Desire comes from you.  If you want to be desired, you must feel desire. If you want to feel desire, you have to feel secure in yourself. Relationship therapist Esther Perel discusses this in detail in a TED talk about desire and long-term relationships. But the lessons remain the same for all of us.
  10. Write your own framework.  When dating doesn’t go well, it’s easy to jump to extreme conclusions: There’s no one out there for me. My perfect match just doesn’t exist.  Why do we do this to ourselves? Because we’re surrounded by friends and family members who successfully have found their match. They make it look so easy.  It’s not easy to find the love of your life, but it’s so worth it when it happens. And just like any other goal you want to reach, it can take a lot of self-evaluation to make it happen.  Do you agree with these tips?