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The abundance of dating apps maximizes the chances of everyone connecting with at least one person who can tolerate their quirks. Someone out there will put up with your morning breath, will relish watching re-runs of your favorite TV series, and can master the effortless execution of your favorite sexual moves. Yet, folks still remain unsatisfied.

Men complain about women only wanting free food—who doesn’t? Ladies balk about dudes wanting sex too soon—again, who doesn’t?  The bigger issue here is that despite the access to abundant inventory, quality connections still seem to be lacking. And it’s so easy to blame the person on the other end of the swipe, right? We tell ourselves “he wasn’t serious enough,” or that “she wasn’t into me for the right reasons.” But that’s it: the blame game stops here. It’s finally time to start taking some accountability for the folks you’re attracting online and in real life.

If you’re struggling on the endless list of apps, the reality is there may be something else mucking up your odds for online dating success. And one of the main culprits? I call it ego clicking.

Dating apps create opportunities for people to meet others with similar interests, or to interact with the type of potential partner they wouldn’t normally have the balls (or boobs) to speak to in their daily lives. Enter ego clicking. This practice includes everything from creating superficial, boastful online profiles to selecting a person who you know isn’t in your natural dating pool. Unfortunately, too many folks think dating apps are like those magic mirrors in fairytales that will conjure up the mate of their dreams. And of course, there are others who seem to think the apps are best used to extend their ability to stunt—without real life accountability. The same core issue lingers in both scenarios: escapism.

It’s important to realize that you cannot run from the realities of dating. Finding a match is challenging. If you’re not successful after a few attempts, it doesn’t make you a loser. But if you’re not meeting any promising prospects, it may mean it’s time to adjust your expectations and perspective based on your core values, and the kind of people you really want to date.

Dating apps create opportunities for people to meet others with similar interests, or to interact with the type of potential partner they wouldn’t normally have the balls (or boobs) to speak to in their daily lives.

Think of dating profiles as ads for used cars—yes, I went there. You’re looking to both buy and sell. The goal is to create interest without wantonly lying because eventually someone is going to want a test drive.

So, how do you keep it real, while maximizing chemistry and the sexy? Amplify your assets, but don’t lie. And— really hear this one— don’t expect more than what you can complement. Think of what you have to exchange with a person that makes dating each other mutually beneficial.

Think of dating profiles as ads for used cars—yes, I went there. You’re looking to both buy and sell. The goal is to create interest without blatantly and wantonly lying because eventually someone is going to want a test drive.

Once you’ve identified a person you like online, don’t get stuck overthinking the connection. Just meet in person. The quicker you get this out of the way the sooner you thank yourself for not having to make lemons out of lemonade.

There are three lines of defense to weeding out the kooks. Add these tenets to your arsenal to bypass letdowns and maximize the funny stories to share with your friends (you can thank me later).

1 First line of defense: The call.

Texting isn’t just impersonal, it prevents you from determining whether you can tolerate the individual you’ve been imagining having sex with since you swiped right. A quick call reveals basic deal breakers like the cadence of his or her voice. It identifies the heavy breather. Do it ASAP. It’s your first line of defense. This should happen within two to three days of the initial connection.

2 Second line of defense: The meet-up.

This should happen within a week of the first phone call. It weeds out folks who are simply interested in phone entertainment because they are bored, traumatized from an old relationship or actually still in a relationship. Set up very clear parameters ahead of time. Have the balls to say you want to meet for “a drink.” Ladies, if you are initiating the meet up and you’re cool with paying, make intentions for “a cup of coffee” or “a walk” clear from the beginning. Here’s the golden rule: Never, ever take the “meet-up” to your fave locale. You know why.

3 Third line of defense: The first kiss.

Some people are boning after two weeks and others take it a bit more slowly. Relationships happen all kinds of ways, but we know, generally speaking, having sex before you truly know a person is a tantamount to negotiating your rent after you’ve already signed the lease. This isn’t about women keeping their legs closed until they get a commitment or a ring (even though some folks ascribe to that ,and it has its merits). This is about the power of good sex. It sullies all logic. It makes good men and women trick off their money, stay in ill-fitting relationships and general compromise all basic forms of pride, common sense, and wellness. Start it off with a kiss, early on, like in the first week or so. This lets you know if you even like the way a person smells. It affirms whether you have physical connection. Oh yeah, and it lets you know a little something about his or her skills.