Here’s advice from an Australian dating expert for singles looking for love this Valentine’s Day

Love. Flickr/ Spenser.

Dating is not what it used to be, and with the annual day of love just around the corner many young singles are turning to professional matchmaking services to find their Valentine.

While dating sites are a popular choice among people aged 35 and over, Ideal Introductions Director and expert match-maker Linda Prescott says many young professionals are time poor and want quality over quantity when looking for “the one”.

“People are now abandoning social media and opting for traditional face-to-face encounters,” she says.

“They need help filtering out those who are not genuine and want to avoid wasting time sifting through online dating profiles.”

So according to Prescott, “[If you] have been out of the dating game for a while or… have just been unlucky in love, the key to success is being proactive, not sitting at home alone and wondering why that special someone isn’t knocking down your door.”

She says, “Just be yourself and don’t play games”. “Being open and approachable” will help anyone who doesn’t know where to start.

So to make sure you feel the love this V-Day, here’s her key pieces of advice for finding love.

Be proactive

“Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. You never know when cupids arrow will hit,” says Prescott.

“If this is another year that you find yourself dateless on Valentines, it’s time to do something different. Grab your single friends and go to an organised singles event, a great restaurant or your favourite bar.”

She also suggests blind dating.

According to her own research, based on 26 single men and 39 single women, Prescott said nearly half agree that some of their best dates have been blind dates and that over 40% of respondents would give blind dates a go.

Make sure the time is right

“Before you start dating again, make sure you are emotionally available,” said Prescott.

“Ask yourself these questions: Have you let go of the past and have you learnt from your mistakes? Remember what you want in a partner can be different to what you actually need. Do you know what you need?”

She also said that people need to be aware love isn’t going to happen overnight.

In fact she found that 32% of people wish they had more time to meet new people.

“Meeting the ‘right’ person and finding a compatible love interest can be complicated,” she said.

“Make sure to stay open-hearted, you may not find ‘the one’ straight away, but with outsourcing your love life, you are on the way there.

“[And] it takes more than one date to determine if there is chemistry and a romantic connection between two people. The magic number is around three dates.”

Know how to date

According to Prescott there are two main reasons people are single: “Men are bad daters and women have incredibly high standards.”

“I work with my clients in both these areas to find the happy medium,” she said.

“The longer you are single and the more heartbreak you have endured, the easier it is to get set in your ways and draw up an impossibly demanding wish list.” She says most successful couples are those that give their date a chance to begin with.

Here are 10 secrets to the perfect date.

  • Do pay attention to presentation. Make a good impression.
  • Do be polite. It sounds simple but paying a compliment can make a big difference.
  • Do be on time. When either of my daters was late I knew any romance was doomed.
  • Don’t drink too much. A drink or two can oil the wheels, a bottle or two can have you revealing too much too soon.
  • Don’t just bang on about your own interests, be interested in your date.
  • Do show you want a relationship. It’s great to make your life seem interesting, but not so full that you have no time for love.
  • Don’t be bossy. The date where the man insisted on ordering all the woman’s food for her didn’t end well.
  • Do be open to new experiences. Love blossomed for one couple as they got battered and bruised trying their hand at indoor surfing. But the man whose fear of heights stopped him going on the London Eye kissed goodbye to any chance of romance.
  • Do bring gifts. You can wow your date with a beautifully wrapped bottle of a wine or a small posy of flowers.
  • Do give your date a chance. Rather than send our couples on a single blind date, they went on three, and I cannot count the number of times our daters said it gave them the chance to find out how they really felt about each other. Snap judgments are at the root of many a ruined relationship.