And don't you think most of them look like they have something nasty under their floorboards?

When Lena Dunham slowly opens the door of her Brooklyn apartment one recent evening, the 27-year-old is in full-on cocoon mode.

This means sweatpants, a rumpled T-shirt, and no makeup.

Areas to avoid complimenting: breasts, lunchbox, arse, fascist opinions, courage in the face of considerable adversity when it comes to physical attractiveness. Don't treat anybody mean; there are specialist nightclubs for that kind of thing and they are worth a visit. The trouble with things that are hard to get, like, oh I don't know, validation from your parents or a table at a new pop-up, is that once you do get them, they turn out to be a disappointment and you either tire of them quickly or resent the wasted effort on obtaining them.

But anybody who wants to spend all eternity being treated with mild contempt by a potential lover probably deserves to spend their nights waiting for a phone to ring. If you're going to be a rare curio, at least be worth the wait.

Everyone loves banter A bit of bantz, some light negging, some hi-laaaar-ious putdowns, a bit of sparring. Compliments make you look sexist or needy If someone is handsome or funny or pretty or well-dressed, then say it.

It’s exhausting to be on the other side of this, believe me. I know some people really love being kept on their toes for three hours solid but you have no way of knowing this on the first date and one of you always takes it too far, usually over the subject of a fat arse or a big nose or dodgy taste in music. Compliments aren't necessarily cheesy or unwelcome; sometimes we need to hear it. The people who perpetuate this kind of hair-pulling and freezing out and generally having no sodding idea where you stand from one minute to the next shouldn't be dated anyway – whether they're doling it out or saying they prefer it as a seduction technique.

Being stylish is unmanly or too gay Turning up in a filthy singlet and frayedboot cuts might work one date in 100, or on a DH Lawrence-themed fetish night, but it is no way to live your life. You will meet someone when you least expect it Well, yes and no.

Nobody is going to drop through the ceiling while you're watching Match of the Day.

Likewise, I know guys and girls who wait for the big bang and never get beyond six months.

It is impossible to tell how a relationship will pan out, and, you know, some people just really like sex and are quite willing to show you just how much after merely three drinks.

Be the best version of yourself you can be without looking like you're actually wearing the pelt of someone much less horrible than you.