In “How to Win a Man,” an essay published in 1903, Cosmopolitan magazine told its readers, “The clever girl does not scintillate with brilliant speeches, overshadowing those around her and making them uncomfortable by comparison.” In a 1958 article titled “129 Ways to Get a Husband,” McCall’s, a now-defunct women’s magazine, advised women to have their “car break down at strategic places” and “read the obituaries to find eligible widowers.” In the 2001 best seller “The Art of Seduction,” the author Robert Greene recommended that those seeking a romantic partner should “use the demonic power of words to sow confusion.”
For more modern and less demonic relationship advice, we asked some of today’s most prominent dating advisers about strategies for finding love in 2023.
Kimberly Moffit, relationship therapist
Before earning her doctoral degree in psychology, Dr. Moffit, 40, was a member of Untamed, an all-girl teen-pop trio based in Toronto. Now she merges her performance skills with clinical research for her 1.8 million followers on TikTok, where she posts videos like “4 Psychological Hacks to Seem More Attractive.”
“When I started on TikTok, I thought maybe people still want to know how to kiss,” Dr. Moffit said. “I made a video, ‘How to Give a Good Kiss.’ That one did really well. But what was more surprising was when I followed it up with ‘How to Give a Good Hug.’ That video went insanely viral.”
DATING DO: “Equip yourself with an arsenal of tools. Sometimes getting what we want doesn’t come naturally.”
DATING DON’T: “Put all your eggs in one basket.”
RED FLAG: “White lies.”
PICKUP LINE: “Go up to someone at a bookstore and ask if they know where a certain series is.”
FLIRTIEST EMOJI: “Upside-down smiley. It’s flirty because the person on the other end never knows what it means.”
Lamont White, dating coach, couples counselor
Mr. White, a 42-year-old Atlanta-based matchmaker and relationships counselor for gay and bisexual men, is the founder of Better Way to Meet, a nationwide database of over 5,000 bachelors. His services include mock dates, with Mr. White as a stand-in.
“I give feedback on how they show up,” he said. “People say, ‘Oh, I smiled, and I was polite.’ Well, did you give the guy a compliment, tell him he smells nice? Did you touch him?” To make the best impression, “You want to smell fresh. Smell very, very airy,” he said. “I need you to go home and shower. Wear fresh clothing. If you’ve been at work all day, you smell like work.” He also recommends active dates like indoor rock climbing and ax throwing. “I have some advice for the gays,” Mr. White said in a recent Instagram reel. “Do not take your guy out for dinner. I repeat, kill the dinner date idea!”
DATING DO: “Make the person feel special.”
DATING DON’T: “Lie.”
RED FLAG: “Short tempers.”
PICKUP LINE: “Compliment followed by question: ‘I love those glasses you’re wearing. Where did you get them?’”
FLIRTIEST EMOJI: “You cannot properly communicate via text.”
Maria Avgitidis, matchmaker
Ms. Avgitidis, 38, says she has set up more than 5,000 first dates through her matchmaking company, Agape Match, based in New York. “My job is to take off rose-colored glasses and be like, ‘Hello, you’re confused,’” she said, “If you’re still in a situation-ship after three months, he’s wasting your time.”
Ms. Avgitidis describes her business — which derives its name from the Greek word for a selfless, spiritual love — as a decidedly old-school alternative to dating apps. “I set people up for a living just like my grandmother!” is how she describes herself in her Instagram bio. In addition to trying to find matches for her clients, her Dating Refresh Program provides personal styling and professional photography for an optimized online dating profile. On her podcast, Ask a Matchmaker, Ms. Avgitidis offered the ‘Tucci Theory’, which posits that men who appreciate the actor Stanley Tucci are attentive lovers.
DATING DO: “Know the difference between eros love and agape love.”
DATING DON’T: “Fixate on the spark. The purpose of a first date is to go on a second.”
RED FLAG: “They listen to Andrew Tate.”
PICKUP LINE: “Hi. What’s your name?”
FLIRTIEST EMOJI: “The face that melts.”
Anna Kai, dating influencer
Ms. Kai, 32, calls herself “a failure turned influencer.” What does that mean, exactly? “I make a living talking about my failed relationships on the internet,” she said. Ms. Kai posts videos in the “Get Ready With Me” genre, dishing out tough-love relationship advice and tells her own heartbreak stories while applying makeup.
In one video, Ms. Kai talked about an ex (“let’s call him Chad”) who worked in finance and spoke in dreamy aphorisms such as, “Life isn’t about being perfect, it’s about being real.” He also drank a nightly bottle of Malbec and smoked cigarettes, because, deep down, he hated his life, Ms. Kai continued.
While painting lash glue onto the roots of her false eyelashes, she explained that she “wasn’t dating the reality of Chad” but a “fantasy of Chad.” In the end, one of his sayings stuck with her: “Life really isn’t about being perfect, it’s about being real — with yourself,” Ms. Kai said, before slamming a tube of liquid lipstick down on the table and walking off-camera.
DATING DO: “Trust who makes you feel comfortable. You might not know if you love someone right away but you know who makes you feel at home.”
DATING DON’T: “Question your intuition. If someone makes you feel weird, they’re the wrong person.”
RED FLAG: “Bad tippers. If you can sit at a bar and drink an $18 cocktail, you can tip 20 percent.”
PICKUP LINE: “Do your research. My husband’s bio on Bumble was ‘condiment lover.’ So I asked about his favorite condiment. We have a lot of hot sauce in our fridge now.”
FLIRTIEST EMOJI: “Use the poop emoji and see what happens.”
Anthony Recenello, social skills coach
Mr. Recenello, 38, is a student of charm — who has it, and how it works — and he breaks it down in his YouTube videos like “5 Attractive Habits Taylor Swift Uses on Everyone She Meets.” “I like when things are really fully laid out and broken down,” he said in an interview. For the last 15 years, Mr. Recenello, who lives in Los Angeles, has been relaying his findings to private clients, YouTube viewers and students of his online courses (like Textual Healing). In the book “Dating for Introverts,” he cites three qualities that make a person attractive: presence, purpose and health.
DATING DO: “Figure out who you are, who you like, and where they are.”
DATING DON’T: “Hit on people. Just go into communities of like-minded individuals and make friends.”
RED FLAG: “Negativity on a first date. Also, neediness. Neediness is about taking; love is about giving.”
PICKUP LINE: “It’s not the first thing you say. It’s about 10 to 30 seconds into the conversation, and it’s this: Introduce yourself. When you introduce yourself, you’re saying, ‘This conversation is about you and me.’”
FLIRTIEST EMOJI: “Head-exploding boar.”
Daphney Poyser, matchmaker
Peak pandemic, Daphney Poyser, 59, hired a matchmaker. It did not work out. “They took my money and never gave me anything,” she said. The experience left her disappointed with the industry at large. “It was unfortunate when I realized not everyone works with trans people, or pansexual and bisexual people, or gender fluid,” she said. So, in 2020, Ms. Poyser founded Fern Connections, a L.G.B.T.Q.I.A. matchmaking company in Dallas. “One of the unique things I do is lay a foundation,” she said. “Say a client has H.I.V. I tell their match upfront: ‘This is the situation.’ They have to be accepting or it’s not a match. Same thing if a person is trans. No one should worry about telling their story and thinking they might be rejected because of that.”
Her matchmaking services include compatibility interviews with questions like, “What brings you joy on a daily basis?” In coaching sessions, Ms. Poyser gives practical advice, like her 30-day rule: “We all have things going on — entanglements with other people — we’re sending flirty pictures and text messages,” she said. “When you start a new relationship, people need time to clean all that up. Give them 30 days to get it together.”
DATING DO: “Go with the flow and have fun.”
DATING DON’T: “Be guarded.”
RED FLAG: “People not showing up as they say they will.”
PICKUP LINE: “How are you doing?”
FLIRTIEST EMOJI: “I’m all about the wink. Do it in person, too.”
Megan Weks, online dating coach
When Ms. Weks, 43, worked in telecommunications sales, her boss would throw a notebook on the conference table with a drawing of a funnel. Employees had to write names of prospective clients inside the funnel. “Only 20 percent of your leads are going to close,” her boss would say. Years later, Ms. Weks applied the funnel idea to her dating life. “If you’re not having luck out there, it’s not that you’re not lovable,” she said from her home on Long Island. “It’s that your process isn’t streamlined.” Her so-called Manfunnel Method is about not getting stuck on the 98 percent of online dating matches that are doomed from the start. “I see women get attached very early and spend years in these imaginary relationships,” Ms. Weks said. “In The Manfunnel, you focus on people who are focusing on you.” Her approach, which is geared toward straight women, includes searching for dates on LinkedIn or sifting through the Facebook friends of attractive married men.
DATING DO: “Let rejection roll off your back.”
DATING DON’T: “Something I call ‘lay and pray’ is the biggest mistake women are making. They have sex on the first date, then just hope it’ll work out on the back end.”
RED FLAG: “Pet names.”
PICKUP LINE: “I admire that you _______.”
FLIRTIEST EMOJI: “Emojis are cheesy and cartoony. I’m against kissy face and hearts. Use semicolon and parenthesis for a smiling wink. Nothing over the top. BlackBerry Messenger, baby.”
Thomas Edwards, “professional wingman”
Mr. Edwards, 37, is notably relaxed. In a blog post titled “How to Become the Most Chill Person on the Planet,” he proposes that cultivating “chill” is about “emotional fitness.” Through his online course “Dynamic Dating” and coaching sessions, Mr. Edwards, who lives in Carlsbad, Calif., teaches clients to hold back a little. “No matter how attractive she may be,” he says, you can act like it’s “not really a big deal.” When he first started his business, the Professional Wingman, he’d regularly accompany clients on outings to Starbucks and Whole Foods to provide in-the-moment feedback on behaviors that may prevent them from making romantic connections. He said his work had resulted in close to 400 marriages.
DATING DO: “Be willing to make the move.”
DATING DON’T: “Hide your intentions.”
RED FLAG: “The way they handle conflict doesn’t align with you.”
PICKUP LINE: “Hey, I know this is random, and you don’t know me, but I needed to come over and say hi, because I thought you’re really interesting.”
FLIRTIEST EMOJI: “You can’t go wrong with a kiss emoji. There’s the subtlety between the kiss emoji and the kiss emoji with the heart, but don’t panic. Whether you get one or the other, it’s a good sign.”
Matthew Hussey, motivational speaker, author
He is known as a dating expert thanks, in part, to his 2014 best seller, “Get the Guy: Learn Secrets of the Male Mind to Find the Man You Want and the Love You Deserve.” Mr. Hussey, 35, who was born in Essex, England, and lives in Los Angeles, dispenses enthusiastic actionable dating tips in YouTube videos, including “3 Texts You Can Send to Get Their Attention INSTANTLY” and “5 Irresistible Ways to Flirt With Men.”
In the latter video, Mr. Hussey advises women to “take a sip” of a drink to command the attention of the person they are dating. That will draw the person’s attention to the lips while giving them a chance to “take you in,” he said. And when you are done taking a sip, Mr. Hussey advises that you should say, “You can’t look at me like that.” (He cautions viewers to use this line carefully.)
DATING DO: “Play the long game instead of rushing into something. It takes so much time to get into relationships with the wrong people.”
DATING DON’T: “Don’t invest in someone based on how much you like them. Invest in someone based on how much they’re prepared to invest in you.”
RED FLAG: “Inconsistency.”
PICKUP LINE: “The greatest pickup line is having an energy that feels natural when you speak to someone, so that you don’t look like the kind of person that came over with a pickup line.”
FLIRTIEST EMOJI: “Blushing face. There’s two that blush. I’m talking about the one with the narrower smile. There’s a vulnerability to it. If you said, ‘Tonight was fun,’ that’s fine. But if you add the blushing emoji, it’s instantly more vulnerable. What it says is, ‘You’ve affected me.’”