meeting someone.

Reader N. G. asks:

Everyone my age in the city where I live seems to be married or in a relationship, and I can’t find anyone I want to date. What should I do?

Dear N.G.:

Chill out! That’s the absolute best advice I can give you in this situation.

The following conclusion is based solely on anecdotal evidence, but I find it to be true:

The more you want a “real” relationship, the less likely you are to find one.

Once again, I don’t have any hard scientific evidence for this, but that deep yearning for sex or love apparently sets off a pheromonal stench that makes you undesirable for miles. Words like “desperate”, “lonely”, “needy”, “creepy”, and “weird” spring immediately to mind. Nobody wants to even casually date someone with those qualities. (Okay, bowing to a lack of scientific evidence once again — hardly anyone wants someone with those qualities. You never know.)

But once you get all that nasty desperate pheromone stench out of your system, where should you go next?

Oh hai

Oh hai. Image: Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I have a few ideas.

Braven up.

I just made up a word there, like it? But I think you get the gist. Find your balls. Stiffen your gut. Bite the bullet. This may be the most important aspect of meeting someone new. You have got to get rid of the notion that they’re just going to saunter up to you. You have to be willing to find them, first of all, and then you have to be willing to initiate contact after you’ve found them. This means talking to a stranger at a bar. Or asking someone to dance at a club. Or sending an email to someone you met in a class to see if they’d like to study with you. If you really want to meet someone, you’re going to have to be proactive about it.

Join a dating website.

Yes, I recommend this for people trying to get over their exes, too. It can work so well for so many things! You can find people with similar interests and even see their pictures before you ask them out. Free sites like OkCupid and Plenty of Fish are awesome places to start, and not just because they’re free. They also allow you to state what you’re looking for, and aren’t just geared towards the marriage-inclined. (You can even make friends! Yes, JUST FRIENDS!)

The only downside is that some towns are too small to have a big enough cult following on these free sites to make it worthwhile. You may have more success joining one of the bigger pay sites, although it grates me sideways to think you have to pay to meet people. Many local newspapers have great classified ad sections where you can post what you’re looking for, although I can’t vouch for the results.

Also, in a small town, there’s the issue of anonymity. As in, you kind of lose it. Especially if you’re posting an ad in the local free weekly that everyone reads. Be prepared to get a lot of, “Hey, I read your ad in the Alibi this week!” from your friends if you go that route.

Start up a class.

This has two parts: first, you’re making yourself better, i.e. more interesting, by learning more about something you like. Second, you’re joining a group of people you’d never have met on your own, who are also interested in your topic of choice. And you have to see them week after week, so you’re destined to get to know them better.

My top choice in this category is dancing. You have to touch new people in a dance class, and bam, there’s sex, right there! Of course, if you sign up without a partner, you may be left out in the cold. Which is never fun.

After a dance class, I’d recommend a cooking class, just because everyone loves someone who can cook. And it’s pretty gender-non-specific, so you’ve got a good chance of meeting someone you’re into.

Taking a language class, yoga class, or art class are good options, too, although I think these tend to be full of more women than men (which may be just what you’re going for).

Start volunteering somewhere.

This follows along the same lines as the taking a class idea, except you don’t have to pay for this one with anything more than your time. We all have causes we’re interested in (and if you don’t, find one — that may be why you haven’t found someone yet). Help clean out the kennels at the dog shelter. Go build houses with Habitat for Humanity. Feed the homeless. There are endless opportunities for you to give your time helping others some how. You’ll probably meet new people in the process, and even if you don’t, you’ll have something interesting to talk about when you do meet someone.

Ask your friends for help.

I don’t just mean this in a “find a good wingman” way. I mean, have them introduce you to people. I can’t tell you how many times my friends have said, “Oh, hey, I know this guy, he’d be great for you,” and then haven’t heard anything further. You have to push your friends for this, and be prepared to deal with a good amount of awkwardness. In fact, that should be a rule unto itself.

Be prepared for a good amount of awkwardness.

And be ready to laugh it off. Awkwardness is part of meeting people. You’re probably going to get spurned. You’re probably going to meet people who are more interested in you than you are in them, and vice versa. It’s all the fun of dating, meeting people, and, well, living in general. And it’s part of “bravening up”, too. Let the weirdness roll off your back. Get back on the horse after a really awkward evening. Don’t let one rejection by a particularly hot person make you think you’re never going to meet someone.

I’m sure there are plenty of other great ideas that I just can’t think of right now, but those are my best bets for meeting someone new, even in a town where everyone seems to be married.

Unless, of course, you want to move to a new town.


2 Responses to “meeting someone.”

  1. 1 booker
    March 31, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    I like this:
    You’re probably going to meet people who are more interested in you than you are in them, and vice versa. It’s all the fun of dating, meeting people, and, well, living in general.

    If I get one more grizzled, overweight 60-something or “mentally challenged” guy telling me how attractive I am, I’m going POSTAL.

    Oh, the joys of working in the ABQ public library.

    I’d just like to know why it is that the only attractive guys who come into the library have a little germ wagon in tow.

  2. 2 Consuelo
    March 31, 2010 at 6:52 pm

    I dunno…I’m pretty hot for lonely, desperate women sometimes.

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