(NU) - With Valentine's Day approaching, 33 million people around the world will turn their thoughts to romance or lack of it. Hey ladies: Instead of being intimidated and waiting for someone to approach you, why don't you grab hold of Cupid's bow and fire your own arrows this year? Thanks to author Jennifer Bawden, you can learn to take control of your own dating destiny and find the man you've always wanted. In her book "Get a Life, Then Get a Man," Bawden shows women how to enjoy being single by teaching them how to pick themselves up - build self-esteem, set and reach personal and career goals - and then enter the dating world.
"Men run away from needy, clingy women," said Bawden. "The last thing a man wants is gum on his shoes. Men are attracted to women who have goals, dreams and accomplishments."
The first step to a worthwhile relationship starts with yourself, she said. "Before you turn your thoughts to finding a man, focus on developing your goals and your friendships."
Once you've done this, you are ready to start your search. It will be easy once you've learned where to go and how to scan a room to spot the types of men you'll want to avoid.
"Don't go to a pick-up bar. Go somewhere more casual where the men congregate," Bawden said. "My girlfriend meets more guys on her lunch hour at the bookstore in the financial district than most meet in months. Men way outnumber women on the ski slopes, at sailing or golfing events, or at after-work spots on Thursdays, and Fridays."
Once you find the best social place, it's time to become the huntress. Bawden offers these tips on how to work a room:
- Scope out the room efficiently, but subtly. Don't rush to the center of the crowd where you're the "prey." Slowly move around the room's circumference while stopping, watching and listening to the new men in that area.
- Don't let men you have no interest in buy you a drink. That will hold you back from meeting the guys you choose.
- Make sure you've checked out all the possibilities before you zero in. Spend a few minutes watching his body language. Is he relaxed and open? Is the timing right? Does he have a wedding ring? Then move in or move on.
- Remember men are thrilled when women approach them. Simply smiling and introducing yourself as you slowly walk by works great. The best way to meet a man is by giving him an honest compliment. His guard will come down and you'll be in a conversation.
- If there's a click when you talk, always get his phone number. If not, don't take it personally; move gracefully on to the next man of choice. Within a few hours, you'll have a handful of cards.
For more tips, pick up "Get a Life, Then Get a Man" at JenniferBawden.com, Amazon.com or your local bookstore.