If you’re a woman searching for true love, the bar scene might not sound like the ideal place to initiate a long-lasting relationship. Nonetheless, despite their reputation as hangouts for drunks, creeps and sports fanatics, bars in general present a wide range of dating possibilities. And not every single guy who frequents bars is a total loser. Is he?

Fact: long-term relationships do start in bars. Fact: many married couples have met for the first time at a bar, huddled closely over a pair of drinks. Those might be exceptions to the rule, but they do happen, occasionally. If you want to meet and hook up with a guy at a bar instead of make contact with him all night, you’ll have to do two things: (a) get over your fear of rejection, and (b) learn to read male body language. Not only should women approach men they like, they should be adept at reading the signs men give them, too.

Every woman has been hit on by a man at a bar at some point in her life. It comes with the territory. For the most part, people at bars are relaxed and enjoying themselves. Conversations flow casually, making it easy to meet new people. But there are also hazards. For example, having too much to drink and doing something you’ll later regret. You’re there to have fun, but wouldn’t it be nice to meet an attractive, single man?

Next time you’re planning a night out at the bar, take heed of our expert advice and set yourself up for success.

If you’re looking to meet your future boyfriend, you’ll need to stay sharp.

Hit the popular spots

Research the local bars in your area. Read their reviews. Do reconnaissance. Find out which places attract the most interesting men and which bars are simply not worth your time.

Dress to impress

When you dress nice, you feel nice. Rocking that hot new outfit boosts your confidence and makes you more noticeable. But be conscious of what you wear, as the wrong kind of outfit can send the wrong message.

Drink responsibly

If you want to get hammered at the bar with your girlfriends, nobody’s stopping you. But if you’re looking to meet your future boyfriend, you’ll need to stay sharp. Keep your drinks to a minimum. And definitely no shots!

Practice makes perfect

Meeting men at bars is a social ability that requires practice and patience. Nobody is born knowing how to be friendly with complete strangers. Conversation skills are very important. Keep practicing.

Curb your desperation

It’s not healthy to go out every night thinking “this will be the night I meet a man.” Guys can usually smell desperation from a mile away. Don’t rush things or get overanxious. Eventually, the right guy will come along.

Make eye contact

What’s the best way to get a guy’s attention? Make and hold eye contact for a few seconds. If he returns your stare, you have two choices: wait for him to approach you or go over and speak to him yourself.

Become the hunter

At bars, most of the guys who approach are not going to meet your standards. Locate someone you like and go on the offensive. Do the approaching and start up a conversation. It’s a lot easier than you think.