Before we get started let me be clear: This isn’t some awkward and creepy pickup artist’s guide to harassing and pressuring women into not rebuffing your shitty attempts at social interaction. It’s a simple, brief and common sensical guide to dating in a world dominated by the digital landscape.

Tinder is a fun app that’s exceptionally useful for people who don’t do well in social settings, suffer from anxiety or just really don’t know how to break the ice in the real world. Frankly, there’s nothing wrong with that. But when you get tired of cruising past your dream girl’s Tinder profile or matching with all those wildly attractive bots, and want to take a more direct approach to dating, here’s how it’s done:

1. Remember that nothing is foolproof, and no means no—really.
Make no mistake, bub: Part of dating inevitably means facing rejection. Even if you think she’s a goddess of some sort and you fall in love at first sight, it takes two to tango. If she’s not interested, don’t push the issue. Pick up your drink and go. It sounds like common sense, and it is, but you’d be surprised at the amount of people who don’t grasp the concept that, sometimes, things just don’t work out. That’s life. Plenty of fish in the sea. Etc.

2. Don’t just go for it.
I can’t stress the “don’t just go for it” thing enough. Being cornered by a random stranger anywhere can certainly make someone uncomfortable, and someone who’s uncomfortable is certainly less likely to talk to you. I’m not saying that strategy has never worked in the history of dating, but I am saying it’s 2017 and there are so many better ways to get the attention of someone you’re into that don’t include ambushing them like a junior high school kid at the spring formal.

Getting a woman to talk to you is about respect, charm and timing more than anything else. If you’re doing anything to make her uncomfortable, whether you like it or not, it simply won’t work. This brings me to my next point…

3. Gauge the situation and act accordingly.
At least 90 percent of the problem guys have with talking to women is during first contact. It seems everyone who’s never been flatly rejected by a woman tends to take the “just go talk” approach, but there are definitely easier and less potentially brutal ways of making first contact.

The first—and easiest—method is looking for body language and eye contact. Feel out the vibe of a situation and see if there’s any potential interest. Did she look at you or give you a passing glance? (Fun fact: Just ’cause a girl looks at you doesn’t mean she wants your attention.) Was there a smile? Any kind of indication that she’s even remotely intrigued by your existence? Proceed.

Nothing? Not even a hint of acknowledgment? Well, if you’re open to the idea of being rebuffed, there’s no real harm in angling your way in and hoping for the best. When you see her go up to the bar for a drink, grab the spot next to her and try making some small talk. If she seems interested in talking to you, ask her what she’s drinking and then buy her a drink. And if she’s not interested, don’t put unnecessary pressure on her to be interested. If there’s something there, you’ll feel it.

Very simply, know your audience and act accordingly. Good luck!

Photo: iStock/Portra