02/09/2015 12:48 EST | Updated 04/11/2015 05:59 EDT

Top Tips For Singles On Valentine's Day

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Valentine's can be a tricky time of year for many people (myself included). I am not in a relationship but still want to feel a part of this special day.

It can also be a bit of a challenge if you have started dating someone new and want to have a nice day with that new partner but not sure of how to navigate this love-filled holiday.

To help me through Valentine's, I recently spoke with Paddi Rice, President of Executive Search Dating in Vancouver.

Paddi shared with me his "Valentine's Day Survival Guide" for local singles.

"Although Valentine's Day is a day of romance, it is the MOST stressful day of the year for singles -- particularly those who don't have someone special in their life," says Paddi.

Paddi's guide is a summary of tips and advice which can help singles not only survive, but thrive on Valentine's Day.

Paddi shared with me his top tips.

Which is the best strategy to meet a mate? (online, activity clubs, etc.)

The first step is to decide what are your "dating goals":

If you're just looking to meet new people and keep it casual, then meeting through friends or work, free online dating or Smartphone dating apps, meet up groups, singles events and activities or bars can work.

If you're looking for something more serious, try a higher end/paid online dating service (ie. eHarmony,, etc.), or a professional matchmaking service.

If you're looking for a relationship and are busy/time-constrained or concerned about privacy and safety, then a personalized matchmaking service would be best.

How to prepare for a first date and avoid being nervous?

Take the time to look your best, as that'll make you feel more confident.

Come prepared with some fun conversation topics to discuss on your date (travel stories, things you did over the holidays, movies, etc.).

Don't worry too much about "chemistry" -- focus more on making sure your date partner is having a good time.

Go on your date with a "second date mindset" -- resolve to see the person a second or third time unless the first date is a complete disaster.

A second date is a much better time to really get to know someone.

Here's a link to some more first date tips:

How To Have An Amazing First Date In 10 Seconds Or Less

What advice would you have for someone who hasn't been on the dating scene in a while?

Try not to think of it as a "date," but more as a chance to meet someone new and interesting.

Be prepared with some fun and interesting conversation topics to discuss on your date.

If you're feeling really nervous during your date, let your date know that it's because you haven't been on a date for a while -- they'll understand.

Above all, be positive!

Is it a good idea to date several people at the same time (if you are looking for a relationship)?

Dating more than one person initially is okay and even advisable if you've just started dating again. It's important to meet a number of people to fine tune what your looking for.

Don't rush into anything and proceed at a pace that you're uncomfortable with -- there's no right or wrong time to become more intimate with someone. This particularly applies if you've meet someone online or on Tinder!

Once you have met someone you've really connected with, your best bet is to focus on them and put a pause on dating other people for a while.

How soon should a person call for the second date? Or how long should you wait to speak again?

The best time to ask for a second date is while you're on a first date that's going well!

Forget what you've heard: there are no rules about when you should speak to someone again. If the date has gone well, the sooner the better!

Texting or emailing someone the next day and thanking them for a fun night is a polite and nice way to let them know you've enjoyed meeting them.

What is the best environment for a first date?

If you met someone online or on Tinder, best to go for a daytime coffee date in a public place, or an early evening after work drink at a local spot can also work.

For women in particular, remember that online dating sites and Tinder don't do any screening of your matches beforehand so be smart and safe about meeting someone for the first time.

If you've met someone through work, friends or a matchmaking service then it's okay to meet for an evening drink & appetizers.

In general, you want to keep the first date casual, avoid booking a long dinner in case you find that you're not really connecting.

Going for dinner is a better option on a second or third date once you know you've got some "chemistry."

I am going to use these helpful tips as I continue to date and look for that special partner.

Your suggestions are always welcome, as I continue on my journey to live life to the fullest. Let's have the very best 2015 and happy Valentine's day!

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