Dating in Miami: Six Things You're Doing All Wrong, According to Local Expert Nikki Novo

Dating in Miami can be downright daunting, especially for women. From one disappointment to the next, we encounter the wrong types of men -- men rife with fakeness, narcissism, and always, always that one annoying thing that sends us packing. Miami women with the desire to find true love often feel like they need to move to another city, state, or, hell, even another country to find someone they are compatible with.

Nikki Novo -- Miami native and author of the blog the Art of You & Me and an in-the-works advice book -- believes the answer to women's bad luck in love in Miami is never about the city itself. It's an inside job.

"Yes, you're going to meet the same type of guy over and over again, like that guy who has lots of money and finds the need to show it off all the time, or even the starving artist," Novo says. "But as long as you are you and in line with yourself, you're going to be able to spot who's the fake and who's not."

Novo is the founder of the Love Club, a group life-coaching course for singles seeking real love in the rough-and-tumble world of dating. Held at the Standard Spa in Miami Beach, the three-part dating workshop helps locals navigate the ever-finicky mating scene in Miami, answering burning questions like "Do I really have to wear a tight dress to score a dude in Miami?" and "Do I have to leave this city to find love?"

Tonight, Novo's first workshop focuses on the person who's really sabotaging your love life, the one person who's keeping you from finding and maintaining that perfect, healthy relationship. (News flash: It's you.) "The classes are to see the fun in dating and make dating more durable and more fit for your lifestyle so that it works for you," Novo says.

And she's no Patti Stanger. (Bandage dresses and full hair and makeup to impress a guy? Get real.) Novo supports dressing for yourself and not for the guy, an idea that would leave the explosive star of Millionaire Matchmaker fuming through her nose and ears faster than she can say, "Show some more cleavage." Novo's simple approach to dating is refreshing in that it all starts with you, because hey, guess what, girl? You're also the one to blame for why you're still single and unlucky in love.

If your love life (or lack thereof) has you at the point of collecting cats off the street, leave your checklist at the door and, please, stay in those jeans and T-shirt. Novo gave us the lowdown on all the things women might be doing wrong in their approach to dating.

1. Pessimism (AKA assuming all your potential mates are douchebags)
"The number one thing people are doing wrong is seeing dating as something dreadful, just a means to an end. Some women hate the process so much they're closing themselves off to opportunities," Novo explains. Say a guy hits on you at the bar. Are you going to assume he's a creep, or are you going to have a conversation with him for three minutes to find out for sure? "Maybe a date won't come out of it," Novo says, "but a good laugh certainly will."

2. Having a perfect-man checklist
"I'm absolutely guilty of doing this when I was dating," Novo confesses. "I thought, He must go to work in a suit and has to live in this area and be this tall, etc., etc." But perfect doesn't exist anywhere, honey. "The checklist is very closed-minded. Yes, I'm not going to lie, I don't want to date a guy who's shorter than me, but I do believe those restrictions won't get you what you're looking for," Novo explains. "I think what'll get you what you're looking for is following the feeling of what you're looking for. Instead of thinking, I want a guy who's 6'2', I do believe it's better to say, I want a guy who makes me feel small. Instead of having that perfect checklist and thinking everything comes in that perfect bow, look for a feeling instead. It's just like following that feeling that leads you to your dream career."

3. Not staying in your lane
"Don't get obsessed with your best friend's love life or your co-worker's love life," Novo advises. "For example, seeing that your best friend got engaged to the last good guy on Earth or being upset that all the girls in your group of friends got hit on and you didn't. Stop looking around, and focus instead on yourself and what's fun for you and works for you. As cheesy as it sounds, there really is someone out there for everybody. Just because that one guy you had your eye on at the bar all night was taken by your co-worker doesn't mean there aren't any guys out there.... If you stay in your lane and forget about what's going on around you and who's dating whom, you'll have a better chance about not feeling bad about yourself. You'll just be happier, and people want to be around happy people at the end of the day."

4. Dressing for him
"There are so many beautiful women in this city that it's all kind of like a competition. I definitely think guys have better pickings than we do, but it can't be a competition. It has to be about what makes you feel good about yourself," Novo says. "I'm all about self-love and self-acceptance and obviously dressing a certain way. Dressing tight and short is definitely part of the culture in Miami -- hello, the heat! -- but it's important to be you and not wear the miniskirt because you think a guy is going to like you better. Go by how you like yourself better, and that's what you should be wearing.

"Some girls have it all wrong. Cool people attract cool people. If you're constantly thinking about how a guy is going to be attracted to you, how he wants you to act, and how he wants you to dress, you're not being you. Why would a cool person want to be with someone who doesn't even know who they are? The most attractive thing is to be you."

5. Thinking you have to leave Miami to find him
"I think one of the biggest problems about dating in Miami is that good, decent women will tell you they have to leave Miami to find a date and that there are no good guys here. Is there a typical guy in this city? Absolutely. Is he datable? No, not really. Look at the culture in Miami. Imagine what that attracts. A lot of them are staying out until 4 in the morning -- there's tons of drinking and drugs. It is easy for girls to assume they have to leave the city to meet a good guy. But Miami is so transient -- people come in and out, and there are so many different types of people that it's silly to assume that someone like you isn't out there. If you believe your counterpart doesn't exist, then yeah, you're never going to find your counterpart. That loser thought is just going to attract loser experiences."

6. Expecting to find quality men in bars and clubs
"Miami has a huge bar culture, and a lot of people can't help but assume it's the only social outlet in Miami," Novo admits. "But there are usually a minority of guys at bars and clubs that make good boyfriends. Sometimes we get stuck in the peer pressure, thinking it's the only way to socialize. If the cheesy bar is not your idea of fun anyway, it's literally a waste of your time. You're more likely to meet somebody like you and more compatible with you by doing something that truly makes you happy. For instance, if paddle-boarding is what really makes you happy, fuck it. It doesn't matter who you think will be there; get your stuff and go! If you're doing something that brings you happiness, you're likely going to attract that one guy there that you didn't even know would be there. You could spend one hour paddle-boarding versus three pointless hours at a bar, and you could produce more of an outcome in that one hour. Follow your bliss and don't pretend you have to go to a club every weekend and dress to the nines."

The Love Club begins Wednesday, March 13. The two-hour class will be held at the Standard once a month for three months (March, April, and May) from 7 to 9 p.m. and is $50 per class. To RSVP, email [email protected].

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Vanessa Martin