Is your bed too big? Are you waiting for someone to share your headphones with? Someone to text “what do you fancy for dinner?” Someone new to take photos with? A plus one to the seemingly endless weddings and other events?

Sounds like you want to find out how to get a boyfriend. Not just any boyfriend at that. A boyfriend who wants to get to know you, like you, date you. A boyfriend who makes you feel special, a nice guy who just wants to spend time with you, find things you’ll be interested in and just makes you feel good being you. Something serious.

A lot of women simply wait around for a single man to approach, maybe out of shyness, maybe out of an old-fashioned sense of tradition, or maybe because they understandably don’t fancy the hard work of sifting through the chaff in order to find their special someone. To be fair, finding a guy you like is hard enough, let alone dating to find a boyfriend. There are so many men out there, especially men who will date because they want a meaningless fling, that filtering through the bad to get to the good can take a few steps. That’s where we step in!

Looking for love is hard and maintaining a healthy, loving relationship with a guy is even harder. But fortunately, plenty of boys look for single women too. And when two like-minded people find each other through dating, the work put in is always worth it. It just needs time, patience and effort put into both oneself and the dating process. If you’re feeling a bit more energetic and determined, you need our fail-safe method of getting a boyfriend. Get ready, because it’s pretty in-depth.

Phase one: feelin’ pretty prep

In order to get yourself in the zone for that taken status, you’re going to have to make some changes. In the words of RuPaul “if you can’t love yourself how in the hell can you love somebody else”. Getting up every single day and focusing on yourself, your relationship with yourself, and taking the necessary measures to treat yourself and make yourself feel attractive inside and out is the first step. This could be getting your eyebrows waxed, taking a long bath and full body moisturising, or going for a new haircut. Do it for you before you do it for a significant other and you’ll be sure to attract worthwhile potential partners with a new set of confidence.

Don’t worry about losing weight or anything you don’t feel like doing but society pressures us to. That’s not what dating is about and if you Google or WikiHow how to find a boyfriend and find an article that tells you to change yourself drastically in any way, just ignore it. Instead, just boost your confidence by giving some TLC to the areas you love about yourself. Do you have luscious lips? Treat yourself to an incredible lipstick shade that makes you feel glorious. Proud of your pristine nails? Get a manicure that gives you that invincible feeling. In love with your long, flowing locks? Make sure you keep them looking sleek using conditioning treatments and your favourite products.

You might be asking: How is spending money on myself going to get me a boyfriend ?

Sigh. It’s not. You don’t have to spend any money to get a boyfriend – you can weave yourself a new hairband if you like. It’s just a way of subtly altering how you feel about yourself. You might find that an easy way to boost your confidence is to accentuate your favourite physical traits, perhaps in a new, slightly daring way, but one that’s true to your own style. But if you get the same kick from spending time with an affirming friend, or going travelling – then do it. Go with your gut and let it lead you to self-satisfied sexiness. This is how to get a boyfriend 101: simple stuff, but it actually works.

Phase two: the mind-set method

When you’re in a relationship, some automatically go into what I like to call “Don’t Notice Me Mode”. It’s a way of ensuring you don’t end up in any awkward situations with other men grinding on you in clubs, thinking you’re single. So, what do you do? You keep your head down and only flirt in a light, slightly awkward way, usually mentioning your boyfriend in every other sentence.

Then, suddenly, you’re single, and you’ve totally forgotten how not to be in this frame of mind. This isn’t how to get a boyfriend. The usual cycle is for desperation to kick-start the “Definitely Notice Me Right Now Mode” which gently fades into the more attractive “You Can Notice Me If You Want Mode”. This transition can take weeks, months, or even years. But there are three neat little tricks or steps to skip the desperate phase, and gracefully slip into charming nonchalance:

1. Do loads of stuff

If being asked “how’s your love life?” fills you with pangs of anxiety then its best to get active. Activity is key. It’s hard to meet someone new if, well, you’re not meeting new people! Hang out with your friends. Rediscover a hobby. Go to exhibitions and do things you enjoy so that you can find a like-minded partner. Attend those networking events you always shy away from. Hit up dating sites. Be out and about. That way you don’t have to sit there worrying about how to get a boyfriend. And interesting things are far more likely to happen to you, so you’ll have loads of date anecdotes and a better chat.

2. Analyse as many men as physically possible

Men can seem terrifying when they’re strangers, which your future boyfriend probably is at this stage. A way to iron out this insecurity is to really look at them. Rather than having an instantaneous reaction of “thrust” or “throw up”, assess their personality and their physical form. What is he reading on the tube? What is he saying on the phone to his mum in the café? Do it with strangers, colleagues, and friends of friends. You’ll find you warm to men that you instantly dismissed just by focusing on a few details, and you’ll also be surprised to be turned off by some of the gorgeous specimens too. This does three things: it normalises men so that you don’t feel nervous around them. It also gives you hope – you will fall in love again. And it gives you a bit of an inkling of what kind of guy you might want to date.

At the same time, try not to overanalyse. When looking for love, searching for a Venn diagram of interests is a great way to look at it. In the middle, there are the things you have in common and on the side, there are your independent interests which you can enjoy alone and/or share with the other person. Having a boyfriend or girlfriend is all about shared experiences and the excitement comes from knowing that he can introduce you to new things but also listen to the things that make you you! For example, you may be into photography and he doesn’t even know what a jpg is! Or he may be into licensing his creativity and you may not have a clue how to unleash your creative potential. This is how you help each other!

3. Look people in the eye

This works especially well when you’re feeling a bit like nobody will want to go out with you ever. If you’re out on the train or in public and see a man you find attractive, look him in the eye. Not for too long of course (staring is rude in any case!) but let them adapt from looking at you. You may see them warm to you in all sorts of different ways. Some men might smile back in a fatherly way or in a way that says “I’m taken” while some might send a cheeky wink your way. Some might look touched, or vulnerable. And a few will look at you with genuine attraction and intrigue. So, what does this do? It makes you feel interesting and attractive and undaunted by new interactions. It makes you feel fearless. And it’s a useful way of learning how to read expressions and see if someone fancies you or not. Stick with it, you’re well on your way to mastering how to get a boyfriend!

Phase three: making that move

This is the point where women often cease to make an effort and just assume someone will saunter up to them and buy them a martini. Alas, British men are not as suave as we’d like them to be, and sometimes they need a bit of a helping hand.

The good news is, this bit is the easiest by far – just combine the three points above. Be out and about. See a guy. Assess him. Listen to him. Analyse him. Look at him. Let him look at you. Read his expression. At this point, you should be fluent in “smizing” and be able to gather whether he thinks you’re hot stuff or not. What happens next is really up to you, but the most important thing is either to be confident enough to go over and say hi, or to make it incredibly obvious with your body language that you would like him to come to you. Weirdly, and against expectation, often the former is the less embarrassing because the latter can lead to some disastrously cringe head-beckoning gestures.

Or, of course, you could avoid all this horror by just organising a Match date. Using Match avoids the need to approach a guy in person, or if you’re into shy guys then online dating is the best way to start a conversation. For introverts especially, it’s ideal because you just upload your jpg thumbnail photo, add a few lines of text about yourself and start a conversation.

Many feel anxious about approaching people in person and asking them out on a date. It can be intimidating and if you’ve been out of dating for a while, feel uneasy. That’s where Match soothes the process. It’s so totally possible to find a nice guy through online dating by looking through his images and text bio and sending a few messages to get to know each other. If he replies, develop the conversation, say things that pop into your mind, flirt and then maybe agree to meet for coffee – all you have to do is ask over a message!

First conversations are a wild card, but just use the situation you’re in to guide you, and be relaxed and informal. If you’re at an exhibition, talk about the painting that really grabs your attention. If you’re in a bar, discuss how shit the cocktail garnishes are but in a way that angles humour more than negativity. If you’re in the street, ask him if he’s seen an Eat anywhere because you’re desperately craving their little chilli cracker snacks. Just make sure it’s authentic and true, act the way you would with a friend and if the natural chemistry is there just go with the flow!

It’s not difficult. Take one weird or funny thing they say and make it “a thing”. Be passionate, be yourself, and don’t take anything too seriously. Formal and stilted means it’s a no-go, but if he matches and meets your tone – you’re on. He wants to see you again, so don’t be afraid to offer your number.

The final phase: making him your boyfriend

You’ve gone on a date or five. You’ve probably snogged. Maybe you’ve slept with him (Important note: sleep with him at the moment you think “Wow, I really want to sleep with him”. There is no right or wrong time and it shouldn’t affect whether you go out or not.)

Either way, how do you make him your boyfriend?

The simple, and disappointing answer is, that you don’t.

You can’t make someone be your boyfriend, silly! This isn’t Harry Potter! This is where you have to be strong enough to see when something isn’t working. If you’re five dates in and you feel completely comfortable with the guy, the sex has been amazing, and you’ve sussed out that you share the same values – politely inform him that you would like to make this official because you think he’s bloody amazing. He’ll probably (hopefully!) reciprocate.

And if he doesn’t? It means you missed something. You weren’t right for one another and he picked up on it. This doesn’t now mean you should carry on seeing him “just in case” or “try to make it work.” It means you sadly say farewell to this promising lead, and go out and start the whole process again until you find the guy who says yes. The guy who feels exactly the same as you do.

If it does fail, not to worry. You don’t need to Google “how to find a boyfriend” (which you might have to find this article but that’s okay) or order dozens of books on love by way of Amazon. Communications and chemistry are complex. Hardly anyone finds love on their first try and good love – and a good boyfriend – are worth waiting for.

Trying for a relationship is like trying for anything – there are peaks and troughs but the journey ends at some point. The power of the universe also plays a part, ask life for what you want and try to make it happen as much as possible. No need to fret, just go along with the ride, think well of yourself and you’ll attract like-minded people. Great friends will help build your confidence and dry your tears along the way. They’ll help construct a reply to both an exciting and disappointing text message and guide you on what to say. Ultimately, however, this life is yours for the taking and you need to take the autonomous reigns on what you want from dating.

How to get a boyfriend? You keep strong, keep looking and you’ll know when you find him because it’ll feel like he was always there.

For an easier way to meet singles, register for free with Match. Or, discover more of our expert advice, such as our 11 fun first date ideas.