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Looking for Mr. Right? It’s your move

If you think romance is going to find you, you might be waiting a long time. Dr. Laura Berman gives advice on how to take control of your love life by perfecting your approach. (Hint: Ditch the pickup lines!)
/ Source: TODAY contributor

When it comes to meeting the man or woman of your dreams, sometimes you have to be the one to make the first move. Mr. Right might be sitting next to you on the bus every day, but if you don’t strike up the bravery to ask him out, the romance will never get under way.

However, the thought of speaking to an attractive man or woman and asking for or exchanging phone numbers can be downright petrifying. What if he laughs? What if she isn’t interested? And let’s face it, there is a right way to approach the sexy gal at the bar and a wrong (sometimes very wrong!) way.

Here are the dos and don’ts to creating a successful approach:

DO keep it simple Nothing is worse than a corny pickup line. Most women won’t give a guy the time of day after hearing an awful pickup line, so save yourself the misery of being rejected by laying off the cheese. Instead, keep it short, simple and honest, such as “Hi, my name is ___. How are you?” Works every time.

DO flirt
Pickup lines might be out, but flirting is still very in! Offer a small, genuine compliment, such as “You have beautiful eyes” or “I love your shirt.” You can also try mimicking their body language, which experts say can create attraction. Try a little “innocent” touching (on yourself!) and graze your fingers along your neck, legs or arms to draw his attention to your assets and give subtle cues you're interested.

DO maintain eye contact
Once the conversation has been sparked, keep eye contact and make sure that you are listening to what he or she is saying. For guys, by actively listening to her part in the conversation (rather than just ogling her), she will feel that you are really interested in getting to know her — and not just for a fling. For women, the active listening is a clear sign that you are interested, especially if you combine it with some positive body language like crossing your legs toward him or touching him lightly on the arm or shoulder.

DON’T be a wallflower
If you want to meet new people at a party, don’t mix in with the wallpaper. Wear something original or unique, something which is bound to be a conversation starter. It also helps to have a few funny anecdotes up your sleeve about a recent trip or funny experience that you can use to keep the conversation going.

DON’T rush it Yes, it is great to get the digits, but if you ask for his phone number right away, it seems a little forced. Instead, try to let the conversation flow naturally. When you two are parting, mention that you would really love to talk more about politics (or whatever it is that you might have been talking about) and it would great to get his number or e-mail address. Chances are that he will be so happy you asked! (One caveat: Once you get the number or e-mail address, don’t contact him right away. Wait a day or two so that he doesn’t think he is your only prospect.)

Not every situation is going to be as simple as the situation described above. Sometimes the scene can be even more intimidating, such as when you see a beautiful woman surrounded by her friends, or when you see a good-looking guy in the elevator of your office. How can you make a move in situations such as these?

Below are some of the common places attraction can strike, and how they should be handled:

When she is at a bar with her friends … Yes, it can be intimidating to walk up to a group of women, especially if they seem to be having a girls’ night in which men are persona non grata. Not to worry! First, try to engage a wingman (a good buddy) to approach them with you. Once you walk up to them, try to engage the whole group, and not just the woman in whom you are interested. This way, her friends won’t feel ignored or pushed aside, and they will be more likely to enjoy your presence. Once the conversation has been under way for a while, you can subtly zero in on the woman who caught your eye.

When he is someone in the same office building … Any situation in which you might have to see the person again and again can be tricky. If he should be silly enough to reject you, you will have to see him every day for quite sometime. However, it is worth the potential awkwardness if he might be Mr. Right. Start by chatting about mundane things with him on a regular basis, such as the weather, the awful office lighting, etc. Once you have a light rapport built up, you can suss out his interest by asking “So what are you up to this weekend? We should try and see each other outside just the office lobby someday!” If he is interested, this will be a definite opening, and if not, you can still look him in the eye without feeling too embarrassed.

Remember, when it comes to meeting the love of your life, the most important accessory is openness. Be open to love and meeting new people, and you will be surprised at how irresistible you will be!

Dr. Laura Berman is the director of the in Chicago, a specialized health care facility dedicated to helping women and couples find fulfilling sex lives and enriched relationships. She is also an assistant clinical professor of OB-GYN and psychiatry at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University. She has been working as a sex educator, researcher and therapist for 18 years.