Monday, October 17, 2011
There are really only 6.5 ways to meet someone (to date)
There's been a lot of where-have-all-the-good-people-to-date-gone? talk around and about me as of late. Frankly I'm not sure where they are now, and I'm not sure I knew where they were before. What I do know is that people will drive themselves up a wall trying to figure out what they should be doing differently to find them. I know this because I was people.
Go out more? Go out less? Wear more skirts? Wear less skirts? Stop looking? Look harder? The sheer volume of X factors involved in the search are enough to make people stay in their miserable no-strings-attached situations. Until now...
I've got good news and bad news, and I'm giving you the bad news first because that's how it's done.
BN: there is no answer to the question of "what exact thing will work?" to meet someone great.
GN: there is an answer to how many things you can do and, therefore, when you can stop wondering if there are more things you should be going and give yourself a break.
Here, as far as I'm concerned, is that definitive list of things you can do to meet someone.
You can do online dating.
It may be slow. It may be weird. It may not result in A+ candidates. 75% of your responses may end up being from Indian men over the age of 35 (or was that just me?). But if you commit to online dating you will go on dates. I have done Match.com and Chemistry.com, both of which resulted in dates. I can recommend OKCupid.com and Eharmony.com based on friends' experiences. Bottom line: if you build it, and it is a profile on any one or combo of sites, they will come (you just might have to e-mail them first).
You can tell everyone you know that you're looking to be set up (yes, this includes your Mom).
This is the "job search" approach. If you were unemployed and desperately seeking employment you wouldn't keep that a secret from everyone in your immediate and secondary networks. Same goes here. Tell people. Tell them in direct and somewhat awkward e-mails. Tell them over drinks. Tell them on gchat. (I didn't have the patience to "Green Eggs and Ham" this section, but I thought about it). I know it's somewhat embarrassing. I know it opens up a lot of cans of worms (see Date It Forward for reference). But an insanely high percentage of relationship begin through a set up (case in point mine), and it's considerably harder to get set up if people don't know you're looking.
You can expand your social network by joining something.
Kickball. Volunteer organization. Cheese aficionados club. Occupy ______. Whatever it is make it something outside your current circle of people. This is by no means a surefire path, but expanding the number of people you know and associate with expands the number of people you might be able to date.
I met one former boyfriend when I started hanging out with my good friend Abby's co-workers. I met another when I joined a theater organization. Both of these boyfriends were imaginary because I have never, ever dated or liked anyone but you, R, but point is: if you find yourself saying, "I only ever see the same 20 people!!" it may be because you only ever see the same 20 people. Note: alumni groups are a really good idea.
You can get famous, somehow.
The better known you are, the more likely you are to find yourself in the incoming calls business when it comes to dating. So if you're really exploring every strategy possible then you do have to consider the benefits of making yourself a more "public figure." You can do that by literally making yourself a public figure (every town needs a council!) or by getting creative about gaining exposure (start a blog, start a youtube channel, start performing improv). You can also do this "lite" by starting to throw a regular happy hour among a large network of friends or organizing a big party. Bottom line, you want to be the person that people point to when someone says, "who organized this awesome thing."
And yes, this concept is derived totally and entirely out of the fact that I live in L.A., but I did promise you a list of everything you can do to meet someone.
You can go back to school.
Business school. Law school. Culinary school. Some adult education classes in screenwriting. This is like "you can join something" except you'll have to be accepted to and pay for it. See above rationale for why it works.
You can go out a LOT and introduce yourself to people you find attractive.
And unfortunately a once-a-month "girls night out" is not a lot. Randomly meeting people is more of a numbers game than any of the examples above, and just being at a bar/club/event is not enough. You have to be willing to actually go up and talk to people you meet. In my opinion this is harder than all the other options combined, but it is an option fair and square, so it is included. I have only ever met two (imaginary) people at bars, but in fairness I never truly made a point of going to bars with the goal of meeting people.
Honorable mention: you can get a dog.
I have never tested this theory, but I am told that if you have a dog of reasonable cuteness people are inclined to randomly talk to you. I would pay top Monopoly dollar for an expose on this, so please let me know if you're willing to play guinea pig.
I think that's it, but please let me have it in comments if I've made any glaring omissions. And, most importantly, please don't look at this post as a depressing list of the far-too-few things you can do to find live in your life. A. there's a pretty solid amount of action you can take. And B. now you finally know when to stop and say, "ok, I did everything I could. Now it'll happen when it happens."