Someone who has a chronic or life-threatening illness, for example, might feel compelled to talk about it, even during a first meeting.But this goes against the first rules of dating: Keep it light, and let your date see your most attractive characteristics first.

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Truly, the most winning way to get to know people is to get them to talk about themselves — and really listen closely.

Ask questions; help them be comfortable with you, and then reciprocate.

It never gets easy when we hear about rape and abuse here at loveisrespect, but we also know that things can get complicated sometimes.

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You need give and take, and being the life of the party isn't required. "I'm in good shape, and I look my best." If you've been out of the dating circuit for a very long time, it's possible that you've gotten a bit too relaxed about how you present yourself.

You might need to go to the gym, get a new haircut, or shop for some better fitting clothes.

That doesn't mean you have to be model thin or that you need to wear the latest style.

But showing some respect for your appearance will reflect better on you than sloppy grooming, wrinkled or ill fitting clothes and a dangerous body weight.

Meeting new prospects before you're emotionally prepared can feel infinitely worse than sitting home alone every Saturday night. If you agree with all of them, go forth and conquer.