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I’ve recently become single after a two-and-a-half year relationship. Actually, I’ve been single for months but I’ve been so busy enjoying my free time and personal space that it’s only recently that I’ve start to think about dating again.

In keeping with my beliefs on equal opportunities, I’m not going to wait around for a guy to talk to me. If I like the look of him, chances are I’ll talk to him first.

That sounds positive right? And it is; it totally is! Except I do have a habit of overplaying my hand. You see, this business of meeting a partner can be likened to a game of poker. Not that I’m much of a gambler—I play poker with my coworkers for bragging rights, but no money—but the game struck me as a similar one. Here’s why.

You need a good poker face

It’s been a while since you met anyone who made you feel, you know, that sudden spark of interest that literally jumps up out of nowhere and lights up your day. Just like when you check your cards and find a pair of aces, you can feel all the emotions of this sudden opportunity, but try not to give everything away before the game has even begun. You have to play it a little bit cool on that first date, no matter how enthusiastic you are.

You’ve got to be in it to win it

You cannot just stand there saying “Oh my goodness I can’t even look at them in case I blush.” If you’re not even looking for the right partner, you’ll never make eye contact and you’ll never manage to strike up conversation at that moment when you both happen to walk up to the bar / coffee cart / bus stop at the same time.

Don’t show all your cards

Social media helps you out a lot here. The old cliché (but highly necessary) question “Can I have your number’” means that a call will then follow. When asking, you have to risk a rejection – this person may not want you to call, and that might be for all sorts of reasons, but it might also be because they don’t want to then have to decline a date invitation when you call. Instead you can just say “It was great to meet you, can I add you on Facebook?,” a perfect way to open the lines of communication but without making any commitment to actually communicate.

You’ve got to know when to fold ‘em

You check Facebook next morning. Let’s say you just met an awesome person named Joey. “Joey accepted your friend request.” Ah ha, let’s check out Joey’s page. Photos from a football game yesterday, an open post wishing their grandma happy birthday (cute!), photos of their cat (double cute!), photo of a girl holding their cat – caption “My two beautiful girls.” Photo of same girl, holding hands with them over a restaurant table – timestamp, last week. OK, time to stop now. Their relationship status may be hidden on Facebook, but the evidence is plain to see. It’s time to quit, before you risk gambling away your self respect.

On the other hand, if the odds still look good, keep betting

Let’s re-run that next morning scenario. You check out Joey’s page. Photos from his football game yesterday, the post about grandma’s birthday, photos of cat, photo of them holding a cat – caption “The lady of the house and I.” At this point, it’s a pretty safe bet that you could send a private message saying it was nice to meet them and asking what they’re up to next weekend.

You’ve got to know when to hold ‘em

Joey replies to your private message and likes your status at least twice in the first week of friendship. In the second week of friendship you run into them again at the same bar / coffee cart / bus stop and this time they walk over and start a conversation with you. The following week, they ask you out for a drink after work. It looks like you just played a winning hand.Nicola Ranger is a British girl now living in Sydney, Australia. When she’s not reading or writing she’s probably out dancing ‘til dawn. Check out her blog page at

[Image courtesy Sony Music Entertainment]