Ready to take control of your love future? We polled a bunch of dating experts and asked each for his or her number-one way to get your dating life in high gear this year. Here’s what they had to say — and be warned: If you follow these tips to the letter, you may be fighting off prospective love interests by Valentine’s Day!

1. Dare to have spares
“Dating is a numbers game, so skip the old ‘a nice person only dates one at a time’ rule. The more you date, the better the odds of finding someone wonderful worth weeding out from the pack. Plus, a full social calendar and lack of instant availability brings out the hard-to-get reaction in the opposite sex without actually having to play a game!”
– Dennie Hughes, author of Dateworthy

2. Roll up the rugs
“Throw a ‘widening your net of possibilities’ party. Love matches often come from your network of friends, colleagues and family. Invite everyone you know and ask them to bring at least one single person, or even a couple. The love of your life — or, at least, his or her cousin — just might walk through your door.”
– Diana Kirschner, Ph.D., author of Opening Love’s Door: The Seven Lessons
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3. Be captivated
“I often tell my patients (not to mention family and friends) that finding and sustaining love is like acquiring a piece of art. We should wait to be struck and captivated. But all too often, we walk around with our pre-crafted ‘frame’ — or idea of whom we belong with — desperately trying to fit someone into it. So this year, throw away your mental checklist of what you’re looking for and keep a truly open mind — you might be surprised at who actually clicks with you.”
– Ian Kerner, Ph.D., author of DSI: Date Scene Investigation

4. Get a planner
“Set dating goals. Writing things down helps you to achieve your goals. Think short- and long-term. Maybe it’s one date a week or meeting three new people a month. Either way, write it down and make it happen.”
– Lissa Coffey, Ph.D., co-author of What’s Your Dosha, Baby? Discover the Vedic Way for Compatibility in Life and Love

5. Risk embarrassment
“Don’t be afraid of going out on a limb. You don’t want to appear desperate, but at some point, one of you has to give up waiting three days to call the other person back and pretending you’re too aloof to fall in love. Why not let that person be you? A corny gesture — like writing a note telling your crush how happy you are when you see him or her cooking a meal — can make that person think it’s time to take things beyond the stage of shaky, unsure dates.”
– Gregory Gilderman, author of She’s the One: The Surprising Truth about What Makes a Woman a Keeper

6. Play the odds
“The quickest way to meet prospective dates is to hang out in places where the odds are in your favor. For women, that means sports grills or the driving range. For guys, try DSW (or any other gigantic shoe warehouse). These places are crawling with women, especially on early Friday evenings and Saturdays. Just ask the nearest unattached female to help you pick out a new pair of shoes. See where it goes from there. Also, consider book clubs: women love to read, and there are usually very few men in attendance. It’s a great pick if you’re interested in dating someone brainy.”
– Lisa Daily, author of Stop Getting Dumped!

7. Listen up
“One of the most engaging ways to get people to feel close to you is by being a good listener. Why do you think people love to go to the hair stylist? Good listening requires paying close attention, asking for details, and then echoing back the important points of the conversation. If you take the time to listen to someone, he or she will feel like you really care. Also, it gives you the chance to see what kind of person he or she is without having to worry about what to say back!”
– Scott Haltzman, M.D., author of The Secrets of Happily Married Men

8. Get some class
“Sign up for one thing you’re interested in that involves a group meeting on a regular basis. I recommend gatherings that focus on your own interests: yoga, a cooking or kayaking class, a gardening group, political activism, or a co-ed sports league or team. In no time, you’ll have gained a wider circle of friends, and when you meet a dating prospect, you’ll already have some idea of that person’s character and personality. This will prevent you from wasting a lot of time on a mismatch.”
– Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D., psychotherapist and author of The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again

9. Savor your senses
“Have a romance with life! Tap into your senses and you’ll come alive with positive energy. Really taste your food and savor your coffee; enjoy your music and the sounds of nature; feel the sun or the breeze on your skin and smell the aromas around you. When you get in the habit of living life like this, others are drawn to your passion and enthusiasm.”
– Debbie Mandel, author of Turn On Your Inner Light: Fitness for Body, Mind and Soul

Lisa Lombardi is a writer and editor in New York who has written for Maxim, Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan and other magazines.