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“Often, friends or family will just fix up two people because they’re both young and single, without really taking into account whether they’re compatible,” says psychologist Edward A. Dreyfus, PhD, author of Someone Right for You. “In order to be successfully matched up on a blind date, you have to take steps that will ensure you’re only going out with people who actually have potential.”

Be Clear About Your Specific Criteria
“You have to guide matchmakers when they’re trying to come up with someone you might like,” says Dreyfus. And citing qualities such as cute, intelligent, and nice won’t cut it. You need to be as detailed as possible about what you’re looking for…and what you’re not. For example, if you love to jog and work out at the gym, don’t just say you want someone who’s athletic — it’s not specific enough.

Don’t worry about being too superficial either. While it’s unlikely you’ll find someone who meets all of your requirements, you do need someone who passes your must-haves. So if things like tall, successful, and great dresser really matter to you, put ’em on your list. “It doesn’t make you shallow — it means you’re realistic about who will actually pique your interest,” says dating agent David Wygant, author of Always Talk to Strangers.

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Pick the Right Matchmaker
Here’s where it gets a little tricky. Yes, you want to network, but you still want to be picky about who’s fixing you up. Obviously, your core group of friends knows your situation so you’re not likely to meet someone new through them. The solution: Cast a wider net…though still be selective.

“If your hairstylist comes across as really cool and you feel like you and your trainer are on the same page, hit them up for dating help,” suggests Wygant. “Not only are they people you feel a connection to, but they’re in professions where clients tend to get personal with them, so they get a sense of someone’s character and dating status.”

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