I’m proof dating apps really work! After joining Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, OkCupid, The League, and other very real apps that I didn’t just make up, including Desperado, LoveBomb, Situationships Only, Cringe Connection, FriendZone, Bleak & Bleakr, Cupid’s Actually Not Okay, and LJ-DATE (Let’s Just Die Alone Together, Eh?), I finally met my future husband. And in just 10 long, stupefying years of swiping, you, too, can find the love of your life! Trust, it’s painfully (emphasis!) easy, and I’m here to walk you through it.

(For legal reasons, this is [mostly] satire, but still—take notes!)

First, start out wildly optimistic—hopeful and determined to leave your fate in the hands of the universe, a wonky algorithm, extraordinary timing, sheer luck, quixotic perseverance, and a stalwart sense of humor. They say time plus tragedy equals comedy, but in the modern dating world, time plus tragedy plus comedy equals a potential partner!

Your instinct will be to sign up for one or two dating apps, but instead, download as many as possible. (I’ve provided a suggested list at the top.) Doing so will increase your odds of finding love. But, beware…it will also increase your odds of having odd…encounters, which is the price we must pay when it comes to modern dating! When someone asks you what apps you’re on, you’ll learn to laugh and say, “All of them.” This is just part of the fun!

Your carefully crafted app profile should convey that you’re one in a million, because, well, you literally are. (Unless you have a long lost twin somewhere.) Separate yourself from the masses by putting your fantastic personality on display or, more effectively, by being naturally hot.

When you start getting matches and begin to engage in conversation, you’ll notice that some singles only know one word, and that word is “Hey.” The more verbose, poetic types might say something like, “I’m jealous of your heart because it’s pumping inside you and I’m not.” But most likely, your suitors will simply say nothing at all, basking in the thrill of merely being liked back. “More like vali-dating apps, am I right?” you’ll say aloud, to no one.

You’ll do a vigorous amount of swiping left and right, so pay attention to the signs you need a break. For example, if you say, “I think I saw that guy on Dateline!” several times in a row, it’s probably time to ice your fingers. The most fascinating profiles, of course, must be screenshot and grouped together in a folder titled “Alone forever?!” which will ultimately take up 60 percent of your phone’s storage.

You’ll send a few of the screenshots to your one other single friend left on Earth who will reply, “Would you like to give up dating entirely and start an all-female commune?” and then you’ll send them to your two dozen married friends who will all reply, “Ooh, maybe you should give him a chance?” even though he’s holding three guns, a bloody fish, and sporting a wedding ring.

When you’ve finally found someone who hasn’t roasted you or ghosted you, it’s time to plan a date. This could happen anywhere between one hour and 100 years after matching. It’s important to do a swift Google search (“Frank” “42” “NYC” “Architect” “Felony?”) before you meet at what will inevitably become your go-to first-date bar.

Going on a first date is a breeze! You just have to spend hours getting ready, then spend more hours being amazing, delightful, funny, sexy and charming, then wait to see if it worked. “Worked,” in this case, means you aren’t texting, “Are you alive?” three days later.

Once you’ve gone on one first date, you’ll be ready to go on 25 to 500 more! It may seem like you’re repeatedly sharing your entire life story with a stranger you might never see again, but really, you’re just perfecting your one-woman show. Hot tip: Keep the martinis, mimosas, and margaritas to a minimum when getting to know someone. (I never did, but you should.)

Even though some dating apps are “designed to be deleted,” resist the urge to do so out of frustration. Treat the apps like that one half-dead houseplant you just can’t get rid of, the one you remember to water on occasion that says, Hey, there’s still a chance my rotting roots could blossom into a lush bush!

After several years on the apps, you’ll realize how much everyone loves dating-related memes, bad-match stories and men-holding-fish jokes, so you’ll find fulfillment in sharing your experiences in lieu of finding a partner. Some dull observers will deem this tragic, but again—all part of the fun!

People (everyone) will demand to know, “How on Beyoncé’s green earth are you still single?” and you’ll revel in your creative answers. (“I was born this way!” “Getting ghosted makes me feel alive!” “Global warming’s made it too hot to get too close to anyone!”)

People (your family) will ask, “Why don’t you try meeting someone in real life?” and you’ll politely explain how unhinged that is because we haven’t invented a universal way to indicate that the cute guy at the grocery store looking at dates (the fruit) is also looking for dates (with you).

Other people (therapists) will instruct you to start dating more “intentionally,” implying that all these years you’ve been dating “by mistake” and…that’s accurate. (Apparently “double dating” doesn’t mean pre-gaming a Hinge date with a Tinder date—who knew?)

When you’ve really settled into the idea that being alone for eternity actually sounds quite lovely, one day, you’ll do your habitual, lackluster swipes with the same energy as hitting up your local T.J. Maxx—just wanna see if there’s anything new!—and it could be the last time you ever do (in a romantic way, not in a true-crime way).

The proof is in the swiping. All you need is unlimited sanity, stoicism, self-awareness, and an Obscure Love Timeline (another good app to download) and a decade later, you might be replacing your “Alone forever?!” screenshot folder with one of you and them called “It was all worth it.”

Headshot of Sara K. Runnels

Sara K. Runnels is a seasoned humor writer, copywriter, and writer writer living in Seattle. She is a regular contributor to the New Yorker, McSweeney’s, Yahoo! Life, and Betches, and her modern-dating witticisms, viral one-liners, and sharp social commentary can be found, quite literally, all over the internet under @omgskr. She’s currently working on a funny novel in between episodes of terrible reality TV, freelancing, and planning a wedding. Follow her on Instagram.