In the dating game we’ve all had our fair share of bad apples. You know, the kind of guys that begin awesome and end up not-so-awesome. It leaves you heartbroken and wondering where you went wrong. The good news is, as the old cliché goes, there are plenty more fish (or apples) in the sea (or tree). Your heart will heal, you will once again stand tall, and in time, you will find your Mr. Right. But there has to be special formula to find the ideal man. Surely, there has to be a secret code. Cupid’s Cronies did some investigating. Drawing upon our years of matchmaking experience, we came up with these 5 easy steps to finding your ideal man:

1. Write It Down

There’s no way you can know if you’ve met your ideal man, if you’re not really sure what you are looking for. I like to think of it as an ideal man wish list. Write down all the things you want and include some of the things you don’t want in a man. Don’t just focus on what he looks like (though that is an important part of chemistry), write down his values, what he likes to do on a Saturday afternoon, how he treats his mother. Write down everything you desire in your ideal man, and you will be completely certain what you are looking for.

2. Where Does He Go?

Now that you have a better idea of who your ideal man is, start thinking about the types of places he would go. Is he athletic? Does he run in the park? Is he a business professional? Does he go to business happy hours? Is he a little nerdy? Does he play checkers at the coffee shop? Wherever he is, go find him! Sometimes you can rely on the universe to put you at the right place at the right time, and other times you just have to do it your self!

3. Practice Talking to Strangers

If you are shy, you might find it particularly hard to meet people. But there’s help! You just have to push yourself out of your comfort zone. When you go out to with friends, practice by talking to strangers. Say hi to the doorman, talk to the new girl your friend just brought along, make small talk with the happy sales associate at the grocery store. You might be wondering how this will help you meet Mr. Right, but if you’re comfortable talking to someone you just met, you will be more likely to start conversation with that handsome stranger. Get talking! Get social!

4. Bring Men Into Your Circle of Friends

One of the biggest problems women face when trying to find their ideal man is breaking out of their social circles. If you go out with a group of lady friends, it is very hard for a man to break into the circle and talk to you. Think about it, would you go up to a group of guys and talk to one of them? What if they all laugh at you? Take a look at the social circles you hang out in and try to hang out with a good mix of male and female friends. You are far more approachable if you are not surrounded by a group of judgmental, possessive girlfriends.

5. Stop Trying So Hard

It’s such a cliché (just like the fish in the sea metaphor) but the minute you stop trying so hard, the universe gives you a reward. Trying too hard just gives off a really desperate vibe. When you finally say, “okay, I’m not going to wear the super high heels, I’m not going to check out my online dating profile every few hours, I’m not going to try so hard,” you will find something magical occurring: your ideal man will find his way to you without you even looking for him!

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