Siblings Or Dating? Tuesdays 8pm ⏩

For starters, you’ve got to decide exactly what kind of relationship you want. Online dating is just a fraction of the dating scene, but it’s a big one. In 2010, 20 million Americans used a dating site or mobile dating app, and it’s easy to see why: online dating is downright freeing, and it gives you the freedom to date in your own time—that is, whenever you’re ready—rather than waiting to be approached and bumped into at a bar or club.

Most importantly, it’s—for most of us—simpler. Instead of marching up to a potential date to ask them out, online dating takes the chore out of the equation. You can find guys and gals to swoon over (or not) all from the comfort of your own home.

But you should still do your homework! Online dating is only as fun as the people you meet through it, so take the time to look over your potential dates’ profiles to make sure they’re the people you want to spend time with. Then, when the moment comes—whether it’s a phone call or a date—it’ll be easy to know whether you’re interested in someone. No idle chitchat required.

Then, start talking.

The most important part of any first date is to make sure the person you’re talking to isn’t totally crazy. That means walking out of the first dates—or e-mails—at the first sign of weirdness. Nothing breaks the ice faster than people hitting on you or being rude, so it’s best to be the first to say, “I think this is getting weird.” Your first date should be a relaxed one, but don’t let it be too comfortable for you to leave—if it starts to turn into dinner and a movie, or if you’re acting too nervous, grab your coat and leave.

The key to getting through the first date is to avoid bad first impressions. Sure, you’ll find yourself writing a nasty “Dear John” note if the chemistry isn’t there from the get-go, but the reality is, people aren’t always themselves on their first dates. It’s only human nature to have a few pre-date jitters before you get to meet someone in person, but you’re smarter than that. You know that something’s off about a guy or girl if he or she seems like they’re struggling to read your body language. Just relax and make your best effort at that—while you’re on
* **Settings.** You don’t need a lot of stuff to have fun at the club: A few dollars for your beverage and admission, a little money for dance floor shenanigans, and, if you want, the company of a new friend. The most important thing: An excuse for dressing to impress.
* **Apps.** Make sure your phone is set to allow your apps and dating apps to function, and be sure your phone’s battery will last all night.
* **Drinks.** You need a plan—especially if you’re going alone, a couple, or with a group. A Friday-night after-work happy hour is a safe bet, but if you plan it out, you can throw a themed night at home.
* **A Game Plan.** With a little planning, you’ll feel prepared and ready for the best possible time and place for your first date. Have your look and your game ready: Dressing to impress is half the fun, but you want to be that on-date energy that everyone remembers. Having one plan for both guys and girls is always a good idea— if you’ve never had a good time on a first date, you haven’t been ready.
* **Your Checklist.** As you get to know yourself better and feel more confident, you’ll have a better idea of what you want—relationships are all about compromise, after all. From that, you’ll be able to make a checklist of what you’re looking for in a partner. Before you put yourself out there, ask yourself, “What’s my checklist? Am I following it?”
* **Your body.** If you’re comfortable in your own skin, you won’t have to worry too much about the problems, blemishes, and imperfections that come with body-image issues. Those kinds of things will actually work in your favor, because you’ll look beautiful and be able to hide any imperfections. If you don’t have confidence in your own body, you might be nervous about how you’ll look on a first date or when you talk to a woman or a man.