I am always bombarded with questions regarding where to meet Mr. or Miss Right. “Where do I go to meet someone who is real, authentic, and fun?” As this is an important question, lets first dig into what exactly you are looking for in Mr. or Miss Right.
Part of dating with dignity involves the creation of an intentional dating plan. In this plan you must identify what characteristics and values you want your potential partner to possess. Choose no more than five values/characteristics that are non-negotiable, and then when engaging in your search, make sure that the places and activities in which you search reflect those values. For example, if you are interested in meeting someone who values spirituality, create opportunities to meet a spiritual person in a place that embodies this value such as a church, Agape meeting, or workshop held by someone who speaks on topics related to spirituality. What follows, then, are four additional guidelines to use in manifesting your relationship vision.
1. Don’t put your attention on meeting “someone special.” Put your attention on meeting people. According to Malcolm Parks, PH.D., who is a University of Washington communication researcher and author of Personal Relationships and Personal Networks, 75 percent of the people he interviewed who reported they “date extensively” said they had help from a friend. Parks calls this the “social proximity effect,” which holds that the probability of two people meeting is directly proportional to the number of contacts they share. The bottom line? Increase your social network beyond your typical circle of friends as introductions are more likely to come through casual friends than close ones. The secret isn’t blind dates and fix-ups, it’s party invites and casual introductions at places such as the Farmer’s Market, a BBQ or class.
2. Get out of your comfort zone. If the results you have had thus far meeting someone special have netted you mostly disappointment and frustration, take a chance and try something NEW. For example, sign yourself up to be on a coed kickball team where you get assigned to a team without needing to know anyone. If you think selflessness is sexy, join a Meetup.com volunteer group. Ixnay the singles groups; instead look for a group that engages in activities that reflect your interests, and the values of your potential partner. Want to meet someone who is oh so funny? Check out a local improv class. People connect on a deeper level when they share a challenging or new experience, and what could be more challenging than engaging in an improvisational exercise with that nice guy or girl from your class. Thinking about getting in shape, or want to find someone who likes sports? Train for a race. Check out MarathonGuide.com for a list of races, or if you’re not sure what activities you could be interested in, browse Active.com.
3. Venture to places that exist beyond your typical boundaries. If you are stuck in your routine, find yourself in the same Starbucks or Trader Joes week after week, take a new route and land someplace unfamiliar. Vary the places you go to make sure your dating pool isn’t the size of a Dixie cup. Not sure where to go? Check out Yelp.com to find a new cafe, bookstore or market and then become a tourist in your own city. Like music, check out RecordStoreDay.com to find a cool independent music store when you can find a potential partner with whom you might share musical tastes. Go retail to strike up a conversation with someone at REI if you’re into adventure, or perhaps the Apple store if you are seeking a confident techie. Not sure what to say? Ask a question, seek advice, or comment on something interesting you notice about a product. Talk to people. Seek human connection. And of course, remember to smile.
4. Don’t necessarily view the weekend as your optimum time to meet and greet! If you shut down during the week, you are grossly limiting the time you spend connecting with new people. What’s more, satisfaction with your life in general might plummet after months and months of a routine that consists of nothing but work, gym, dinner and bed. Get out. Put your efforts into collecting new experiences rather than phone numbers. Find gallery openings, take a class at a community college, or hit the bookstore. Having a social life between Monday and Friday could be the key to expanding your opportunities to meeting someone new. Looking for more ideas of what to do? Check out FestivalFinder.com, and for those in Los Angeles, try LosAngeles.Going.com.
The key to success? To meet someone who might be a match, take action NOW to diversify your network and routine, remember to be brave, and in the words of Henry David Thoreau, “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined.”