Your Ultimate Mating Season Guide: 20 Tricks To Finding, Keeping and Enjoying Love

It's that time of year again when your social feeds are starting to fill up with "ussies," engagement rings and lovey-dovey TMI. Whether you're in search of "The One" or trying to make it last forever with your soul mate, the ESSENCE Love Squad has allt he tips and tricks you need to win this season.

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It's that time of year again when your social feeds are starting to fill up with "ussies," engagement rings and lovey-dovey TMI. Whether you're in search of "The One" or trying to make it last forever with your soul mate, the ESSENCE Love Squad has allt he tips and tricks you need to win this season.

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In the season of Netflix and chill, you have to be clear on what you are in the market for and share your desires early.  If you are fine with a midnight lover and no Christmas gift, rock on. But if you are in the market for something serious, don’t settle for no commitment.  – Charreah K. Jackson

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Being single is no reason to miss the festivities this season. As the holiday party invites start to stack up, don’t pass because you don’t have a romantic plus one. Bring a close friend instead (man or woman), because you already know that you’re guaranteed to have a fab time if you do. The point is to come as you are and have a great time, not to stay home because you aren’t where you want to be. - Charli Penn, ESSENCE.com Relationships Editor

Watch what happens when ESSENCE plays matchmaker with four fab single ladies in NYC.

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When yet another of your friends or family members posts “He went to Jared” alongside her new rock, fight the urge to roll your eyes and send her a message of congrats. It may not be your turn to be a bride just yet, but one day it will be! Karma is real. – C.J.

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You know your worth and exactly who and what you deserve. Don’t ever let the lovey-dovey social media posts that fill your feed make you forget that the right love won’t require you to settle. When your will is tested and you find yourself wanting to text that guy you labeled as “Do Not Answer” in your phone, remember that you are worth the wait—even if the pace is driving you mad. – C.P.

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If you are in a relationship, the pressure can be even more intense when others wonder when you’re moving to the “next step.” If you are dating, it’s “when are you two marrying?” If you are married, it’s “when is the baby coming?” Before social engagements, chat with your boo on your responses so you aren’t caught in mix-matched tales. – C.J.

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You realize you’ve now been cozy by the bar making wonderful small talk with a dreamy stranger for over an hour. He has to run, but he wants to exchange information. Sadly, memories of the last time you gave out your number or added him on Facebook and quickly regretted it are making you hesitate. Don’t! Just give him a business card instead. That way you can keep in touch and still buy time to get to know him a little better in the light of day before things get too personal. – C.P.

Watch what happens when ESSENCE plays matchmaker with four fab single ladies in NYC.

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Sometimes marathon runners have to visualize the finish line to get there. As you continue on your journey to love and happiness, don’t be afraid to get visual about what you want in a man, a happy relationship or your marriage. Take a queue from Mary Jane and place post-it notes with love affirmations on your bathroom mirror so you’ll see them everyday. Or if you’re really crafty, get an early start on 2016 planning and create a vision board for your relationship or the type of husband you seek. - C.P.

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"When in doubt, write it out. If you find yourself feeling anxious after opening a cute holiday card of a cute dad and chubby baby, channel those nerves into prose for your future family. Write a letter to your husband or future family telling them about your experiences this season and what adventures you are excited to experience together." - C.J.

Watch what happens when ESSENCE plays matchmaker with four fab single ladies in NYC.

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It’s not uncommon to have the blues this time of year, especially if your relationship status isn’t what you want it to be—and you are not alone. As you seek advice from friends and co-workers remember that not everyone’s words of wisdom will be coming from a happy, positive place. When taking love advice this season, consider the source and take it all with a grain of salt. – C.P.

Watch what happens when ESSENCE plays matchmaker with four fab single ladies in NYC.

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Spending more time inside is the perfect time to update your online persona. In addition to dating websites, add new photos and info to your Linkedin, Twitter and Instagram bios. You never know who is watching, so give em something new to see. - C.J.

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Try not to get caught up in the whirlwind of love and press the gas when you should have your foot slightly against the break. Remember that if it’s worth doing, it’s worth taking all the time you need and doing it right. – C.P.

Watch what happens when ESSENCE plays matchmaker with four fab single ladies in NYC.

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One of the best technology updates for singles is the invention of Facebook Graph search. You can meet new bachelors by searching friends of your friends alongside common interest like Kendrick Lamar or NPR. — C.J.

Watch what happens when ESSENCE plays matchmaker with four fab single ladies in NYC.

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Never date without purpose. Are you looking to walk down the aisle or walk into a party with a sexy date on your arm? Or both? Know what you’re looking for or you won’t recognize it when you find it, and worse, you won’t be able to ask him if he wants the same things. – C.P.

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As many jobs pick back up after summer, it can be tempting to consider an office romance as you spend more time at work. Have an exit strategy before taking things further with the cutie that recaps Minority Report with you Tuesday mornings. – C.J.

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Calling all the ladies with a brand new love interest. Listen closely! If you don’t like when guys text instead of call, say so. If you don’t like to be all dressed up and still wondering if your plans are confirmed because he never said so, say so. If you don’t want to get intimate before you say “I do,” say so! Be clear on who you are on date one—if he runs, good riddance. If he stays, he might just be a keeper. - C.P.

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Do not feel pressured to make a rushed choice on one of the most critical decisions of your life: who you share your body and bed with! The season will change but the choices we make can have lasting results. - C.J.

Watch what happens when ESSENCE plays matchmaker with four fab single ladies in NYC.

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Don’t let our #KissAndTell daters have all the fun! Commit to going on at least one blind date this season if you are in the market. Coupled up friends and coworkers make great matchmakers and may know people who might be compatible that you’ve never met. - C.J.

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The fastest way to a few new introductions is trying something new. Shake up your typical winter routine by accepting some of the invitations you’d normally skip to stay in and curl up to a movie. Take that last minute trip to Paris with your former college roommate or reply “yes” to that “ugly sweater party” even though you’ll have to go buy one. Yes your couch is safe, but there aren’t any sexy, single guys waiting for you there. - C.P.

Watch what happens when ESSENCE plays matchmaker with four fab single ladies in NYC.

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It’s inevitable that somebody might beat you to the last piece of sweet potato pie come Thanksgiving – and Aunt Barbara will want to know what’s going on in your bedroom and womb. Get centered before spending time with family this season and get clear on your answers. Whether the sweet: “I haven’t met that someone special yet, but know he’s out there, and getting ready for our life together.” The subtle: “Did you know Tamara and Derrick split up?” Or the mic drop: “My vagina is not up for discussion today. Please try again tomorrow.” – C.J.

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If your new love story isn’t unfolding quite the way you’d hoped, don’t be afraid to stop production and try again. Wasting time on a bad romance does not make for a beautiful beginning to any love story. – C.P.