One of the best parts about being single is being able to go on dates. Dates give you the opportunity to meet somebody new, get to know him or her better, and do something fun.

Even if you’re not single, you can still go on dates with your significant other. I’ve gone on thousands of dates, and while not every one of them went well, I learned a lot about myself, my dates and dating in general. So I would like to share a little of my hard-earned knowledge with you.

A date is a more formal way of spending time with someone that you’re interested in, where you, the date requester, get to plan an outing with the object of your affection. It is a way to share a side of yourself, your interests, your talents or your curiosity with somebody who is (hopefully) mutually interested in you. As a good date, you should pick an activity that you’re actually into.

If you are strapped for cash, you can choose something cheap, like taking the bus to the park at St. Louis Heights for a homemade picnic. But if you just got paid, you can not only take the reins but make it rain, showering the apple of your eye with a good time and letting him or her know that you think they’re not only fancy, but worth it.

However, the point of a date is not to show off your means. Don’t overspend, or you might have a successful date with someone who just wants to enjoy the dollar signs instead of a sincere, good old-fashioned good time.

Another option for a date is to take somebody with you to a function or an event. Pretty much any pre-planned social gathering is a potential opportunity to show up with somebody of your choosing to make a metaphorical statement of “I like you.” Introductions are key, and it’s important to not overstate, understate or assume anything about you and your date’s connection.

When introducing your date to a friend, give context to how you and your friend are acquainted, as well as a compliment about your date that affirms your esteem. For example, “(Date), I’d like to introduce you to my friend (friend) from work. (Friend), (date) is an aspiring interior decorator in addition to having a lovely smile.”

This type of introduction not only makes your date feel appreciated, but creates a positive environment and comfort zone between your date and your associates. It also lets your friends know to back off and not holler at your date if you go to the bathroom or get caught in a peripheral conversation.

If you’re on a date, stay focused, don’t flirt outside of your date and don’t be afraid to get captivated. The more of you that you bare, the more open your date will be to share.

And who knows, maybe she or he will ask you out for a repeat.