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When is the last time you wanted to go on a date and actually went on a date? Like a real date? I don’t mean “hanging out,” or “Netflix and Chilling.” I mean going to dinner, a movie, a festival, a concert, a carnival, or dancing? Maybe even taking a walk on the beach or in the park at sunset?

SIDEBAR – Taking a stroll at sunset is a cost-effective way to swoon any hopeless romantic without them knowing you’re on a budget. I promote budget-friendly dating because student loans are real, the cost of living is high, and employers are cheap. We can debate this later.

If you haven’t been on a date and you’re in the mood to hang with someone other than friends, your pets and your “food delivery” person, you need to get out there and test the waters!

But Shannon, I don’t know the first thing about dating! I don’t even know how to flirt!

Don’t fret, awkward friend. A lot of us get sweaty palms, respond to compliments with completely unrelated answers, and trip, stutter and stumble over our words when our crush speaks to us. Are you talking to me?

Yes, they are talking to you, and so am I when I say that your nervousness and anxiety are contributing to your missed opportunities.

Whether you want to send a risky text, approach your crush or meet someone online, the following tips can be helpful in breaking the ice and starting the conversation:

  1. Take the edge off with a shot, or two, or three of your courage juice of choice.
  2. Stop overthinking. Look at you! You’re overthinking about the fact that I know you’re overthinking.
  3. Smile! Wait, not that big. Ok, close your mouth some. If your jaws hurt you’re smiling too hard. Think of something funny. BOOM! There’s the smile.
  4. Compliment them!
  5. Tell some jokes. Studies show that laughter eases awkwardness in tense situations. Actually, I don’t know if that’s true, but you believed me because you’re desperate. So just go for it damn it.

Being sexy on-purpose is not always easy, because guess what? We all can’t be Beyoncé. So be your best self. Not only will you attract the right people, but you’ll enjoy yourself more. Not working? Just keep trying. Your light will brighten someone’s life soon. Just be patient.

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