NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – For single New Yorkers, the city can be a tough place to find love even with 8.5 million people in it.

If Cupid’s arrow keeps missing its mark, it may be time to take matters into your own hands, reports CBS2’s Cindy Hsu.

Susan Winter is a New York City-based “love mentor” and says first things first: Get off your phone!

“The very best way to meet someone with whom you resonate is to get out and meet them in real life, doing what you love and being yourself,” she said. “Even the dating apps, which by the way you should use as an adjunct to but not in lieu of meeting in person, they are going niche nowadays.”

Winter suggests getting out and doing things that you enjoy to meet people with common interests.

Another great way to find someone special: Try something new and bring your friends along. Maybe a fitness class or even an axe-throwing bar.

MORE: ‘Like Darts, But On Steroids’: Axe-Throwing Hits Brooklyn

“I mean, what a fun night!” said Winter. “Who would think of anything like that? But when you’re out living your life, exploring all the wonderful things that New York has to offer that’s where you’ll be in a relaxed mood so that thing can happen. They say it happens when you’re not looking for it.”

Look for things to do on websites like EventBrite. Even an innocent conversation at a drug or hardware store can spark something.

“Go to an Ace Hardware, ask a guy if this is a hammer. I’m trying to do this or that,” said Winter. “We forget when we’re going from point A to point B that’s a perfect opportunity to ask a question, get advice, start a conversation with someone.”

The most important thing to keep in mind is don’t lose hope. Valentine’s Day shouldn’t make you feel lonely. Research shows the strongest relationships are actually made later in life, when people are more settled.

For those of you who are a bit shy and don’t really do well in big social settings, Winter says look for groups that offer lectures or in-depth conversations as a way to get out there.

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