I have a history of dating lots of people. I’m not ashamed. It’s just that, for most of my adult life, getting new dates has not been a problem. Keeping a relationship thriving? That remains a complete mystery.

Only a year ago, I believed the majority of people really weren’t happy in their relationships. It was all a lie we were sold in songs and movies. I stopped caring about finding a relationship and simply started living. I developed the friendships in my life and lived on that love.

But then I started to recognize the depth that other friends enjoyed in their romantic partners. I decided to give it another go, and I’ve recently returned to online dating. My experience in tow, I’m going to try and help you lonely babies who may soon join me in the Internet’s laboratory of love. Here are my dos and don’ts for online dating.

DO have a plan, both of you. Let your date know you are intent on spending time together, and you are a person with ideas, man. You are a human with experience, not an isolated pod person.

DON’T try to initiate contact by saying “Hey.” This refers to online dating or a set up. Try and shoot for at least 20 syllables. I see you have a bachelor’s degree, graduated from high school and at least own a brain? Make this evident, please. At least for women, dating inboxes are flooded. I’m not looking for a résumé, but, then again, what if your résumé just said “Hey” or “Job?” Also not effective: “U R cute” and “Can I B UR CAT?”

DO pick a place where you’ll feel comfortableand maybe anonymous, too. I go on dates frequently, so I’d rather go somewhere I don’t know the staff. Ever move and go to a new school? You felt like you could finally be a cool kid, right? Give yourself that opportunity.

DON’T wear bad jewelry. (Confidential to men: Do not wear a pinky ring unless your name is Joe Pesci. I will call you on it, which happened recently. Poor guy.)

DO split the damn check. Regardless of your stance on traditional gender roles, unless one person is campaigning to pick it up, just split it. Splitting eliminates weirdness. But if your date is an asshole, they can pay.

DON’T lie online about how much you love working out. Have you ever uttered those words to anyone you weren’t intent on seeing naked? Online dating sites would have you believe we live in a nation of Tom Hardys and Scarlett Johanssons. Look around: We do not.

DO go out with someone regardless of musical taste. (I know, I know this is the INDY, and it’s totes cool to be a music snob.) Many people who share my musical tastes are made of emotional garbage.

DON’T compromise your personality by agreeing incessantly with what the other person says. You’ll turn yourself into a scrap of beige wallpaper, and it will only make you sad.

DO floss. You might want to touch mouths with this person, and it’s an easy way to feel more confident about that act. Maybe it’s pseudoscience, but some people say it even increases heart health. Flossing: It’s not just for lying to your dentist about.

DON’T go in with shame about your body or the dimensions of your face. If this person that you’ve given your time to rejects your appearance, they are not for you.

DO order whateverthehell you want. Sure, get the chicken wings. Life is messy.

DON’T hold your fork like a judge’s gavel. This is a restaurant, not a courtroom. Also, do not invite me to an unsolicited viewing of the food in your mouth, now or forever. Don’t be a gargoyle.

At night’s end, kiss this person or don’t. Your call, really. It’s rare that I want to kiss on a first date, as the probability I feel connected after a few hours is pretty slim. But go with your gut. If your gut is really hungry, let it be Thanksgiving. I just hate the idea that you’re supposed to touch in this way or that way to end the night. High five if you’d like, so long as they consent.