Need Some Smart Dating Advice?

You’ve come to the right place—this round-up of tips, tricks and strategies from best-selling books on love.

By Laura Gilbert

f you've ever wandered by the self-help section at your local bookstore, then you know that there’s no shortage of advice books offering to help you improve your love life. But if you took the time to read them all, it would take years that you should be spending on your love life, right? And so, to help save you the time and effort, we pored over stacks of best-sellers and pulled out the absolute best nuggets of advice no one should be without. Now, these tips may sometimes seem contradictory—each author has his or her own viewpoint—so dive in and see what suits you best. Happy dating!

Ditch the don’t-call-for-three-days rule
Is it really necessary to schedule a three-day “cooling-off” period between meeting a woman you like and calling her on the phone? I can’t think of a single woman I know
Is it really necessary to schedule a three-day “cooling-off” period between meeting a woman you like and calling her on the phone?
who honestly believes that a prompt telephone call is anything but a delightful compliment! If you like her, why not show it?
—from Lucky in Love: 52 Fabulous, Foolproof Flirting Strategies, One for Every Week of the Year by Susan Rabin

Don’t buy the “I’m busy” excuse
Oh sure, they say they’re busy. Bull. With the advent of cell phones and speed dialing it is almost impossible not to call you. Sometimes I call people from my pants pocket when I don’t even mean to. The word “busy” is a load of crap. It seems like a good excuse, but in fact, all you’re going to find is a man who didn’t care enough to call. Men are never too busy to get what they want.
—from He’s Just Not That Into You: The No-Excuses Truth to Understanding Guys by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo

Flaunt your assets
The things you wear and the essentials you carry aren’t just objets d’art—they’re bits and pieces of your unique personality. Put them on display and make the world a more stimulating place for all of us. Your antique hat, astrology book, or college beer mug may not seem like much, but knick-knacks like these give interested parties something other than you to comment on.
—from How to Attract Anyone, Anytime, Anyplace: The Smart Guide to Flirting by Susan Rabin

Give your date a job to do
Men love a challenge—that’s why they play sports, fight wars, and raid corporations. The worst thing we can do is make it easy for them. When a man is trying to set up a date to meet you, don’t offer the names of restaurants between your place and his. Don’t say
When a man is trying to set up a date to meet you, don’t offer the names of restaurants. Men really feel good when they work hard to see you.
much at all. Let him do all the thinking to come up with a place convenient for you. Men really feel good when they work hard to see you. Don’t take that away from them.
—from The Rules: Time-tested Secrets for Capturing the Heart of Mr. Right by Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider

See bad dates in a better light
Why beat yourself up about an embarrassing relationship when you can beat it into a frothy story? It was an embarrassing rebound? Say, “I wanted to try something new.” The only good thing was the sex? “I was learning to stay out of my head and really be in my body.” He was much older and paid for everything? “I was in a mentoring program.”
—from The Bad Girl’s Guide to Getting Personal by Cameron Tuttle

Tell yourself the buck stops with you
If your partner is not meeting one of your needs, that is your responsibility. It is also unfair to criticize your partner for not recognizing your needs when you don’t know them yourself. Your partner can’t read your mind; the only chance your partner will ever have of connecting with you and responding to your needs depends upon you teaching your partner what really makes you tick.
—from Relationship Rescue: A Seven-Step Strategy for Reconnecting With Your Partner by Phillip C. McGraw, Ph.D. (“Dr. Phil”), Hyperion

Put your own passions first
Woo yourself like the man you’ve always wanted to date. If you want him to be the type of person to play you songs on the guitar, take guitar lessons. If you want him to be a hiker, go hiking. In doing these things, you may just find the lucky guy.
—from The Break-Up Repair Kit: How to Heal Your Broken Heart by Marni Kamins & Janice MacLeod

Trust your date will get it done
For many men, it is important to prove that they can get to their goal, even if it is a small thing like driving to a restaurant or party. Ironically he may be more sensitive about the little things than the big. His feelings are: “If I can’t be trusted to do a small thing like get us to a party, how can she trust me to do the bigger things?” These are the times when he needs his partner’s loving acceptance the most and not her advice or criticism.
—from Men are from Mars, Women are From Venus: The Classic Guide to Understanding the Opposite Sex by John Gray, Ph.D.

New York City freelance writer Laura Gilbert takes her relationship advice from You Never Promised Me A Rose Garden.
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