Being shy doesn’t have to be the kiss of death when it comes to dating. These 5 tips are all easy ways to start boosting your dating confidence. Try them out & tell us how it goes!

1. Practice Striking Up Conversations

If the idea of approaching someone at a bar gives you heart palpitations, try striking up conversations in less pressure-filled situations. Elevators are easy — you can comment on the weather, their outfit or the coffee they’re carrying. The subway also works, or the gym. The point is to just practice talking to strangers — the more you do it, the more confident you’ll feel.

Worst case scenario? You made a comment about the weather to someone in an elevator and it fell flat. Not the end of the world.

2. Branch Out From Your Usual Spot

Instead of going to the same old coffee shop or bar, try someplace completely new, maybe even in a different neighborhood. According to Cosmo: “It’s easier to step out of your comfort zone and make a move when in a new environment.” Grab a coffee, take out a book, and try to make small talk with the people around you.

Worst case scenario? You never have to go there again.

3. Go To A Bar…By Yourself

It’s hard for shy daters to meet someone on a crowded Saturday night! Instead, head to a local bar on a weekday when there won’t be too many people (and when it’s perfectly acceptable to grab a drink by yourself after a long day). Most bars have surprisingly convivial atmospheres on off-nights, and it’s easy to strike up a conversation.

Worst case scenario? Watch whatever game is playing on the screens, and leave after one drink. (But you really should try to talk to someone.)

4. Force Yourself To Go To That Party You Wouldn’t Otherwise Go To

You know, the one that your coworker invited you to, but you wouldn’t dream of attending because none of your friends are going. Lose the insecurity, and promise to stop by. A new group of people always means a new dating pool: even if there isn’t anyone available at the party, you might meet new friends who could eventually introduce you to someone. Just use it as an opportunity to practice striking up conversations with strangers!

Worst case scenario? Take off early!

5. Too Shy To Flirt In Person? Flirt Online.

We’re big believers in spending as much time offline as possible (i.e. post a date, make plans, and go out on the date), but if striking up a conversation in person is hard for you, use the internet instead. Comment on someone’s Facebook picture or status, forward an email, or instant message them. Of course, you’ll need to transfer this flirtation to real life soon enough, but flirting online can be a great way to break the ice.

Worst case scenario? Your comment gets ignored, or it doesn’t lead anywhere. Big deal!

What tips have you tried? How well did they work for you? Tell us in the comments.