Our conversation was condensed and lightly edited.

SHAME: What advice do you find yourself giving your clients most often?

Sara Sharnoff Tick: The number one piece of advice is that you've got to get very clear on what your non-negotiables are when it comes to relationships. I generally will tell people to pick three to five things that they need out of a partner to be able to have a long-term, healthy relationship.

It's very important to get clear because what I see a lot of guys doing is they're just clicking on a pretty face and it's kind of like throwing spaghetti at the wall. They don't always know what they're looking for so their chances of dating success are going to be drastically lower than when they go in with a strategy, parameters, and boundaries. This way, they end up not getting so burnt out by the dating process; it's a lot more fun to be out with people that you kind of pre-qualified.

SHAME: How do you make dating more fun? Especially at the stage before actually dating, so when you’re still looking for someone, meeting people and that jazz?

SST: Dating should definitely be a fun extracurricular activity and if it's not fun, then you're doing it wrong. Dating isn't all that different from trying to find a new friend group. So, really say yes to everything. Yes to meeting new people. Yes to going out. By being open and saying yes to opportunities that might feel a little daunting to you, you're going to learn over time that those kinds of environments are actually a lot of fun, [especially] when you don't put pressure on yourself.

When people say dating is not fun and it feels like a chore, a lot of times they feel like they need to prove that they are a worthy partner, that they need to convince the other person to like them. Flip [this mindset] on its head: part of the reason you're out dating is that you're qualifying to see if they fit into what you need, if they're the right person for you, and if they have the high qualities that you're looking for. [The goal is] to enjoy meeting new people, having a good story if it doesn't work out, and not taking it as seriously.

SHAME: Do you have any advice on finding these opportunities to say yes to?

SST: Join MeetUp. I think it’s such a great opportunity. There are also so many Facebook groups. Most people don't like Facebook anymore but the groups are great; they’re great for finding friends and for finding local events in your area where there will be lots of people. Also using things like Yelp to [search] “Where's the best gallery?” “Where is the best bookstore?” Use it as not just a way to meet women, but [to find] where you enjoy going. What's going to be a fun outing for you? It's living your life but living your life with the intention [of being] open to meeting people through your body language and your placement in spaces.

SHAME: What is your advice for men that want to make that first move but worry about coming on too strong or being considered a “creep”?

SST: I'm glad that men are aware that sometimes approaching women is not wanted and that they need to be mindful of how they do it. It's a good sentiment but it can't hold you back from pursuing a conversation. There are a few things you can do: You want to never walk directly behind a woman or touch her to get her attention; no tapping on the shoulder, no approaching in a threatening way. You want to come in almost at a diagonal angle so that she can see you but you're not walking straight up to her.

SHAME: What's the best way to start a conversation?

The best way to open up a conversation is to ask a question and particularly to ask an opinion. [For example], if you see a woman who has a book in her hand, you can kind of gently stroll up after you make eye contact, give a quick smile, and say, “I haven't read that book, have you read it?” and start a conversation that way. The worst thing that can happen is she'll say “I have a boyfriend” or “No, I'm not interested”. It's okay. It's practice that will make you more comfortable. You can practice not just when approaching women but also in general, being at a grocery store, chatting with everyone around you, men, women, anyone, and getting used to this chit-chatting and to social places, will make approaching women much more comfortable. It's a learned skill. Practice really helps because you never want to meet that dream woman and be like, I don't know what to say. I can't approach her. I'm freaking out.

@threeminuteadvice We have a lot of new friends here, so I wanted to reintroduce myself! My name is Sara Tick, and I’m a men’s dating coach and licensed couples therapist. Some call me “the female Hitch,” but I am your coach, big sister, friend, cheerleader, and strategist all in one! Dating doesn’t have to be stressful when you have solid strategies in your back pocket, so join us and get off the apps and into a relationship today! ##Singlemen##datingtips ##datingadvice##datingadviceformen##singles##findagirlfriend ♬ original sound - Sara Tick | Men’s Dating Coach

SHAME: What is a dating superpower?

SST: Every person has their own special dating superpower. And oftentimes, it's the things that we struggle with that end up being this superpower. For example, I'm very shy and introverted. A lot of times that feels like a deficit to me, like something I have to overcome. But the reality is, me being a little more introverted, I consider myself a really good listener. So listening and asking good questions on a date, that's my dating superpower.

Other people might be great storytellers, other people might have great recommendations and know the best restaurants in town and be really knowledgeable about how to plan a great date. We all have something like that.

There's no such thing as a deficit. I truly believe that regardless of who you are, and what challenges you might be coming up against that there is somebody for everyone. I firmly believe that it's about utilizing what you do have and amplifying and using it to attract someone amazing.

SHAME: If someone wants to work toward dating success, what is the first step they should be taking? What is the first task or thing you can do to get yourself on that path toward romantic success?

SST: If you're thinking about starting you're dating journey, I recommend a hybrid approach. This means being on two dating apps, no more than two or you're gonna burn yourself out, as well as implementing in-person strategies. This way, you know what to do when you're in public and you see someone that you're interested in and you have the skills to be able to date them while also utilizing the apps.

The apps are a phenomenal opportunity to meet people that you might not otherwise but when you're just beginning, they can feel really overwhelming. Having the non-negotiables [helps] because then you're actually reading the profiles of the women and not just swiping on the pretty faces. It's really about dating with a strategy and not just winging it, hoping it works out. You have to be really willing to put some effort into the dating game.

@threeminuteadvice Pick five nonnegotiables and leave the rest open to account for spontaneity and attraction. You never know who’s going to be the right fit for you. ##Singlemen##datingtips ##datingadvice##datingadviceformen##singles##findagirlfriend ♬ original sound - Sara Tick | Men’s Dating Coach

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