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OK, so we appreciate that there are single men and women out there looking for dating advice, as well as non-binary genders.
Still, for this guide, we're focusing on guys as the largest online dating users, who most often contact us for help with working out how to break the ice!
The first issue we'll start with is how you know a woman is single at all. It's a vital consideration if you want to begin a conversation with someone out and about - because it's extremely easy to put your foot in it and potentially end up with a disgruntled husband on your tail!
In short, if you're unsure, approach the situation as if you are being friendly. Never, ever try a sexy pick-up line (they're almost always terrible!) and be prepared to back quickly away with a polite apology if the person in question indicates they aren't interested.
Of course, the only sure-fire way to know you're only trying to pluck up the courage to chat to a single person is to join an online dating site, where each and every member is looking for love!
If you've not tried it before, then trust me, it's a whole lot less stressful than trying to make a flirty conversation in a crowded bar or convince a stranger you're genuinely interested in getting to know them.
For recommendations of the best dating sites depending on what sort of relationship you're looking for, check out the top 10 lists on Best10.
These are the basic rules of thumb I'd advise thinking about before you head off into the sunset armed with some one-liners.
These are general guidelines to think about, but of course, you can go freestyle if you have a perfect way to introduce yourself!
It helps to be a natural comedian, but we can’t all be great at chatting up strangers. Take a few deep breaths, calm your nerves, and go for it without any pressure, and you'll be just fine.
Now, the online dating scenario is a little different. For starters, you already know that a person you want to chat with is single, so there aren't so many considerations there.
Also, you usually have a few features and games to find out whether you're likely to be compatible in the first place! For example:
If you are completely lost for words, you can also consider sending something other than a written message! Most dating sites allow you to send winks, likes, hearts or virtual gifts - depending on what sort of app or service you’re using.
I'd say, though, that where these features are free, it's not uncommon to get tonnes of them per day, so if you're feeling confident enough, follow it up with a direct message to make sure you stand out from the crowd.
Last but not least, don't sweat it too much. I hear from so many men who feel nervous about speaking to women because they have been rejected horribly in the past.
My advice would be that if you are polite, respectful and friendly and a potential date puts you down for making an effort, they're not the kind of woman you want in your life anyway.