'Dating rules no longer exist' - A top matchmaker shares his top tips for finding love in 2016
For many single people the beginning of a new year is the perfect time to embark on a search for a partner.
Traditionally, most dating sites and introduction agencies see an upsurge in membership in the first month of the year.
Finding a partner features heavily on New Year Resolution lists.
"Ask any single person if they’ve honestly done everything possible to find their true love... Very few would say, hand on heart, that they’ve pulled out all the stops," Dave Merren of One2One introductions told Independent.ie.
He recommends taking a realistic approach to finding love, and advises people to stop looking for "perfection" as there's only a very slim chance of finding it.
Instead, Merren says, focus on what a future relationship will feel like, look at the bigger picture, and take the focus off daydreaming about a potential partner.
"Ask yourself how you will spend your weekends or downtime.
"Also consider what qualities your new partner will have that will contribute to a successful relationship," Merren says.
He says that dating rules, such as not to call the object of your desires for at least three days after acquiring their number, no longer exist.
"There's no three-day rule.
"Most people, if interested, will ask someone out on another date straight away or the next day.
"If a woman likes a man it's completely acceptable for her to make the first move.
"Research shows that men are increasingly open to and appreciate the woman taking the initiative," he said.
Merren says that a person who is comfortable and happy in themselves is very attractive to others.
And the best way to impress someone? Smile.
"This instantly makes you more attractive to the opposite sex.
"A direct smile from a woman is enough to send a guy weak at the knees.
"Equally a guy who can make a girl laugh by being himself is worth his weight in gold," he said.
The dating expert says that common interests, though they are a bonus, are not at the core of what makes a happy couple.
"A similar upbringing and level of education, the same values and family life are things that help a couple to go the distance," Merren said.