When it comes to dating advice, it’s often beneficial to look to the behavior of our neighbors in the animal kingdom. After all, who would know more about instincts and social status than creatures whose very survival depends upon such knowledge?

In honor of Shark Week, we’re examining the habits of nature’s fiercest and most majestic fish. What can sharks tell us about how to conduct ourselves in romantic endeavors? Lots, as it turns out. So, before you accuse this writer of looking for any possible excuse to write about sharks, look at the facts.

Here are five dating tips from actual sharks.

1. Keep Your Eyes Open

Many species of sharks never close their eyes — not even when they’re sleeping. People who are actively looking for a relationship should take notice. Paying attention to the details provides you with easy conversation starters and makes you more aware signals so that you’ll know when someone wants you to chat them up.

2. Don’t Attack Until You Smell Blood In The Water

Relax. It’s a metaphor, people. The reason that sharks attack when they smell blood is because it’s an indicator of easier prey. In dating, single folks too often make the mistake of asking a person out before they’ve actually shown any interest. This makes for a lot of unnecessary rejection. Have they been smiling at you? Touching your arm? Laughing at your jokes? That’s when you ask for the digits.

3. Use Your Senses

Through the use of their enhanced sense of smell, their remarkable sensitivity to vibrations in the water and their acute hearing, sharks are excellent at determining the position of their prey. You have senses that help you in dating, too. You just don’t always use them. Try getting out of your head for a minute and remember that chemistry is something that is felt and not always understood rationally.

4. Use Your “Gill Rakers”

Sharks are most well known for being the ocean’s most fearsome predators, but many sharks subsist mostly on vegetation. By swimming with their mouths open, sharks are able to catch floating algae as they swim. Of course, there’s a lot more floating in the sea than just algae. Sharks’ “gill rakers” separate the nutritional bits from the junk.

So what’s the lesson? Rather than hunting very specifically for what you want, keep your options open and weed out the undesirables as they come your way. It takes less effort and it improves your odds of finding someone who’s right for you.

5. Flexibility Helps

Sharks don’t have a single bone in their body (it’s all cartilage) but no one has ever accused them of being wishy-washy. The flexibility of sharks makes them better hunters — i.e. it makes them better at getting what they want. Being able to move easily in different environments will diversify the people you’re meeting. Practicing flexibility makes you a better date and, ultimately, a better partner.

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