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Top ten tips to making a success on the dating front

For some singletons, Valentine's Day is among the most dreaded of the year. Claire Hughes, who owns award-winning matchmaking agency Soiree Society NI, shares her advice for those looking for love.

1. Google Meet Up groups in your area ... that way you meet like-minded people who share similar interests, for example, hill walking, book clubs, singles groups, cafe meet ups, cinema and theatre groups.

2. When you go out, dress as if you are going to meet your ex ... looking good increases confidence which makes you feel good and most people find confidence attractive.

3. Smile and say hello to at least three people you don't know each day. It's amazing how good it makes you feel when people smile back.

4. Book a personal shopper/image consultant and buy an outfit in colours and a style that suit you - it will be great for your next date. Have a makeover - change your hair style - and that can apply to the gentlemen too. Many people have not been dating for years, so may have fallen into a rut in how they look and dress.

5. The relationship between you and you is very important. Rather than concentrating on your weaknesses, write down three things that you like about yourself, and they don't always have to be physical. It can be things like good conversationalist, kindness, recognition of an achievement. Thinking positive thoughts is uplifting and positivity is an attractive feature.

6. To be interesting, you have to be interested. When meeting someone for the first time, ask questions about them and what they love to do.

7. Meeting someone new is about creating a new future - so many people take their past and block the way to a new future. So try to not talk about the past too much until you get to know someone.

8. Leave room for love. So many people we work with let work and their existing single lifestyle stand in the way of living. So many singles are so busy with their friends (particularly women) that it can take weeks to get them out on a date, which gives the impression that they are not interested in a relationship.

9. People are not products and don't come in perfect packages. It's fine to have a wish list, but don't stick rigidly to desired criteria ... the majority of those that do are still single. Don't judge people on photos alone. Have a look at the couples you know that are happily married or are in a loving relationship. They have something that often overrides physical looks.

10. Take positive action so that you won't be alone this time next year - employ a matchmaker, someone who works with you and for you.

Visit www.soireesociety ni.co.uk for details

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