People see dating as "mysterious". I dislike that. So I'm going to settle some misconceptions here which will help guide you through the BS that socially awkward people tell you over the internet. 99% of this advice applies to both genders, but I'm going phrase this as a guide for guys who are interested in women.
Misconception #1: Women Date Assholes
This is easily the most cringe worthy dating advice I've ever heard. No, a woman isn't going to fall in love with you if you treat her like crap. She isn't going to swoon if you tell her she looks fat in that dress. In fact, treating someone like dirt will make them dislike you. However, there is a grain of truth if you add a disclaimer: "Women sometimes date good looking guys, even if they are sometimes assholes". That's because your looks matter, especially at a young age. Good looking guys and good looking women catch the interest of many people way before their personality is revealed. Generally speaking, people who are both ugly and mean never get laid. Believe it or not, being a fun, pleasant person is even a plus.
Misconception #2: Be "Mysterious"
Ugh... really? No. Don't do this. A woman isn't going to go crazy over you for being dishonest about your feelings. Sure, be funny, be mature, and sometimes be a little unexpected with your jokes, but don't be dishonest about your feelings. There's no point. Women like it when guys they're attracted to are attracted to her. Similarly, men like it when women they're attracted to are attracted to him. Being open and direct about your feelings is the best way to get a "Yes" or a "No" so that neither of you are confused about what the other person's intentions are. A good thing to do in the conversation a few minutes before you ask a woman out is to compliment her appearance a little.
"Wow, you're gorgeous!" or "You look amazing!" will both work. Yes, you should also like her for her intelligence, personality, etc. and maybe compliment her on those too, but telling a woman you think she's good looking helps her consider you as a potential date. It signals that you're physically attracted to her, and when you ask her out 5 minutes later it won't seem like it's coming out of the blue. Honesty is the beset policy. P.s., a good, standard way of asking a woman out is "You look amazing and I think you're super cool. Do you want to go out to see a movie with me some time?" If she says yes, get her number. If she says no, accept it, move on, and don't ask again. Ignoring the word "No" and asking "Aww, why??" is immature, and asking her out a second time is creepy.
Misconception #3: Love Is Random
Yes, a person's preferences are sometimes completely random. No, they usually aren't all that surprising. Here's some things which people usually prefer in a date:
1: Be intelligent. If you want to capture the interest of someone who's smart and mature, then you're going to have a considerably better time if you have a college education, interests in academic things, and possibly a well used library card. Smart people like to date smart people.
2: Be good looking. Have a handsome face, a fit body, a good hair cut, clean hygiene, and decent clothes. If you want to get a woman with all off those features, then it really helps to have good features yourself. If you're completely willing to go after women who aren't conventionally attractive (for example, overweight), then feel free to do whatever with your body. But usually, women who are attractive date only attractive guys, and hot guys go after hot women.
3: Have a personality. Feel free to be fun to be around and have a pleasant aura. Acquire a set of hobbies and interests. The secret here is: having interests makes you an interesting person to people who share those interests. Do you like dinosaurs? Cool! Date a woman who also thinks dinosaurs are the bee's knees. You'll have something to talk about.
4: Be successful. Guys with a decent income and a responsible life tend to get more dates. Guys who live in their basement at age 30 and live on welfare tend to not get much commitment thrown their way. People who have their lives in order tend to catch the eyes of other people who have their lives in order.
5: Try to have the characteristics of the person you want to date. There are special exceptions to this. For example, a guy probably shouldn't have big boobs if he wants to date a woman with big boobs, but you get the point. If you want to date a good looking person who's fun to be around and gets straight A's, then having those characteristics yourself with greatly increase your chances.
One experiment you might try is to write down all of the characteristics you're minimally willing to have in a date (usually they'll fall in one of the four categories above), and then to reciprocate those characteristics. You'll have much more success with dating.
Well that took a little bit to write, but I hope it does something for someone. The above will take some practicing to get used to, but it will help you out a lot. I have one last bit of advice: Don't listen to advice which sounds bitter and doesn't follow logic. People who say "women only date assholes" tend to not know very much about dating. Side note, the people who inspired me to write this post are called "pickup artists". Don't ever follow the advice of a pickup artist or someone who identifies themselves as Redpill. Those people are often misogynistic poison. Here's a picture of the original show "The Pickup Artist" which demonstrates my point that pickup artists are just a bunch of socially awkward people trying to give dating advice to other socially awkward people.