With cuffing season behind us, we’re finally coming out of winter hibernation to embrace summertime and all that comes with it: warm weather, late nights, pool parties, beach cookouts, sun-kissed skin… and, hopefully for many of us, summer romance.

One thing we can all agree to leave behind with the snow and heavy jackets? Bad dates and equally-as-appalling dudes. Whether you’re swiping right or mingling at a happy hour, here are the best tips and advice scoring (and keeping) bae way beyond the summer months:

7. Don’t Be Afraid to Let Your Guard Down

Summer is the best time to let loose and have fun! Don’t spend time stressing about the small stuff and playing games — like waiting two hours and fifteen minutes to text back or worrying about Snapchatting at the wrong time. Just be yourself (easier said than done, I know) and have fun without the drama of playing hard to get. Ultimately, that just leads to a ton of miscommunication — which isn’t good for anyone.

6. Leave Your Worries At The Door

Take a deep breath and start living in the moment. Things have a weird way of working out if they’re meant to be and wondering what happens next isn’t helping you at all. Therefore, don’t spend your time with the person you’re digging questioning when the next date will be, if you’ll see each other again, or if you’re catching feelings too soon. Be confident that you’re great just the way you are – and if this person isn’t feeling it, then you don’t want them anyways.

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5. Spice Up Date Venues and Activities

Step out of your comfort zone and stop doing the overdone dinner-and-a-movie nights every time you two hang out. Instead, take in the summertime weather and get outside. After all, if things last, you’re going to be spending all winter doing indoor dates. Be ~adventurous~. Go for a walk, bike ride, or hike. Swim in the nearby lake or ocean, or relax in your backyard or a nearby park. Check out local outdoor concerts. There’s always a ton going on in the summer, so take advantage of it while you can.

4. Take Risks, Have Fun

Don’t be scared or think “what if” about every move you make. After all, the whole point of being with somebody is hopefully being happy – and making them happy too. Trust your gut and don’t second-guess yourself or your instincts. Ultimately, it’s just putting a damper on your mentality and the good times you two could be having. Do you, stay grounded, and enjoy wherever this date/relationship/experience will take you… and buckle up for the ride.

3. Go In With An Open Mind, But Don’t Be Oblivious

While it is important to have fun and be open-minded, don’t be oblivious to the situation. For example, it could be possible (especially only after one date), that you’re not the only girl in the scenario. Take the time to feel out the situation and be aware and cautiously optimistic. Again with the whole trusting your instincts thing, but this time – feel out whether you’re both on the same page or not. Don’t waste your time on someone who’s not looking for what you are!

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2. Reserve Time in Your Schedule for Dates – and a time for friends

Not gonna lie, dating is always about striking a balance. No one wants to be that girl who starts seeing someone new and goes totally AWOL on her girlfriends. While flexibility is key, you want to be sure you’re leaving at least one weekend night a week for your gal pals. Also, most love experts say that only seeing each other once a week is a perfect amount for someone you’ve just started dating. Setting these boundaries is a healthy way for you to maintain your own independence and social life while also allowing yourself to explore and have fun in your love life.

1. Don’t Be Nit-picky

It’s so cliché, but this seriously couldn’t be truer! Don’t stress the small stuff. The reality is that you’re never going to find someone who’s 100% perfect in every way and setting arbitrary “deal breakers” based on things like height, age, or profession just might rule out your soul mate. Seriously. Give someone you typically wouldn’t a chance. Who knows? It just might be the best decision you ever make. Chill out, and enjoy the journey!

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