Why is this so difficult?
This is a problem. We don't free-mix with the opposite sex freely. This is frowned upon as the general rule of thumb in Islam is . . whatever leads to haram is haram in itself.
There are opinions out there that state it's permissible to look (within reason) and talk to girls with the sincere intention of marriage. Note the keyword sincerity.You know where to draw the line.
This is where it becomes an issue. Muslims are scared because we ultimately think . . Who draws the line?
In regards to all aspects in life we have the same dilemma. How do we resolve it? Educate ourselves - Follow the Qur'an and Sunnah. Whoever follows these two sources will never go wrong.
Once you know your boundaries, stick with them and don't compromise.
This is where networking comes into play. It makes life somewhat easier.
Depending On Others
I dislike depending on others. Some are just lazy and see it as burden if you ask them, others won't do a very good job. Let downs is what we call 'em around here! Besides you accomplish and overcome boundaries by doing something for yourself.
I personally find it better to interact with the girl, you can find out sooner if we're compatible. Then we get the families involved.
Make It Easier
I think both guys and girls could ease the burden off one another. If you're approached make it easier for someone to obtain information. Don't become best friends and start flirting/giving your life story away. That's lame.
Girls like it when a guy's 'mysterious' and vice versa.
If someone shows they're not interested. Don't feel rejected or down, let it be known that person is not for you and move on. It wasn't meant to be.
Be smooth, pray to Allah, do dua, educate yourself and it's all gravy!
Have I missed some obvious option? How do you guys/girls like to be approached? Come forward and give a shout out!