Widen Your Net, Find Your Catch
Finding quality people to date is tough, especially when you’re not supposed to date people at work where you spend the majority of the day. And, let’s face it: the people who our friends and family members set us up with are usually “nice” people, but perhaps not always so “nice on the eyes.” These are men and women who we want to like because they “fit the bill,” but we just don’t have that chemistry that makes us feel on fire.
From my experience, if you want to start dating more, and thus increase your chances of finding love, you should try the following three strategies: one, sign up for an Internet dating website to meet people outside of your usual circle of friends and colleagues; two, frequent coffee shops or cafés alone; and three, find a great wing-woman or wing-man to go to bars or clubs with on a regular basis, at least once a week. Dating websites are an excellent option, so you should get over any irrational fears of meeting people online. This is a way to get easy access to a pool of potential suitors that meet your criteria.
When I was browsing online, I loved that I could specify what I was looking for in terms of a man’s height, location, and desire to have children… With that said, it can still be a frustrating process to get to the actual real-life date. So be patient and, no matter how good your connection may feel, remember the following advice for your first meeting:
1. Do not give your last name
2. Do not say where you work
3. Definitely, do not meet at either of your homes
4. Chat on the phone first to make sure this person at least somewhat sounds like the person in the photo
5. Try to gather enough information to find their Facebook page or other online profiles so you can confirm their identity
6. Agree to lunch so that you aren’t committed to a whole evening, you can see the person in daylight (especially if they only had one photo posted online), and if the person doesn’t show up, you still have the rest of the day to make other plans!! We are in the digital age now with so many free dating sites, so embrace online dating! Coffee shops are great places to meet people. Find a favorite local spot and simply hang out for a couple hours. Do not bring your laptop and please turn your phone off! All you need is a beverage and something to read. A magazine, newspaper, book, or textbook are great options. Bring something that looks interesting and is a conversation starter for someone of the opposite sex to approach you. This is crucial!
If you are a woman, bring a nonfiction book; if you are a man, bring a fiction book (trust me – I work in a library). Take breaks and make eye contact with anyone you find interesting. Have that look in your eye like you are tired of reading and want to talk about what you’ve just read! And don’t be afraid to sit near or start a conversation with someone who is there with his or her reading material too. Bars are obviously also great places to meet people because lots of singles are out and about. Unlike the coffee shop scenario, do not go out alone though, and do not go out with a posse of friends either. This is too intimidating for most people to approach you.
Instead, take a wing-woman or wing-man. This is someone who is probably in a relationship or not looking for one who is also very supportive of helping you find a date. Let this person know your taste so they can scope the place too. Before you go out, get a second opinion on your outfit choice and hairdo. Dress appropriately for whatever your destination.
Ladies, always better to be more on the sophisticated side than party side if you are looking for a long-term relationship. In other words, natural-looking make-up, no clothing that is too revealing, and a simple purse (large, expensive-looking purses will scare guys off because it is a sign that you are high-maintenance).
Men, please don’t wear anything too tight or too loose, smell good, and have cash in your wallet (ATM runs show that you are not prepared for the night and you live off credit). My wing-woman is great at emphasizing my positive attributes around my potential love interest, encouraging a phone number exchange between my prospect and I, taking a picture of the new happy couple (potentially), and most of all making sure that my drink and I stay safe all night long! The only way to increase your dating numbers is to be proactive about it, and I am suggesting several avenues here that may lead to success.
Whether you meet someone on the Internet from the comfort of your own home, at a low-key café on a weekday, or at a hip bar on a Saturday night, always enjoy every moment as a character-building experience and an opportunity to meet new people, whether or not they turn out to be a toad or your prince charming. If you asked me last year what man would be my future mate, I never would have guessed the tall redhead I messaged online, simply to tell him how empty his profile was, but that I liked his guns!