Diving Into The Dating Pool… Again

Learning to date again after having been in a marriage or other long term relationship can be challenging. It’s easier to get back into the dating pool when you have friends who are getting into it with you. If you’ve been in a long committed relationship you may not have any single friends — yet. Keep your eyes open because finding suitable single friends should be your first priority. Along the way you may also find your next love connection.

Put yourself in places where there are likely to be people who share your interests and values: volunteer organizations, business social gatherings, sporting events, cultural activities, cashier lines at restaurants and stores, groups based on things in which you have an interest.

When you’re with people, begin conversations by asking questions, asking for or offering an opinion or comment, expressing interest, showing concern or offering or requesting help. Once you’re engaged in a conversation, let the other person know that you’re listening to, and interested in, him or her.

Make and keep eye contact, don’t be constantly glancing around the room to see if someone more interesting has arrived. Adopt an open posture – don’t stand with your arms tightly folded or sit with your arms and legs crossed. Lean toward the person or move closer to show you’re interested in what he or she is saying. Nod. Take a genuine interest in what he or she is saying.

Listen more than you speak, but do occasionally repeat what they have said to reaffirm to them that you are paying attention to them. If you don’t understand something they have said, ask for an explanation.

Don’t expect every meeting to result in a new friend or more. Don’t be discouraged if you and the other person don’t “click.” Be bold enough to take the first step.

Make contact, don’t wait for others to come to you. If you don’t risk the possibility of rejection, you won’t gain the possibility of meeting someone new and special.

To put your people meeting skills to work, you’ll have to get out and get involved. Meeting people does take work on your part. If you expect to sit at home and that special someone will just magically appear at your door or call you on the phone — it won’t happen. (Yes, we do have a friend who answered her phone one night to hear a most pleasant male voice — a man calling a wrong number, it turned out — and that turned into a two hour conversation which turned into a meeting, which turned into…)

If you like to dance or want to learn, join a dance class. You can sign up at a local dance studio — one in your town may be offering free lessons or have an introductory special to get you acquainted with their services and their dance clients.

If you don’t want to pay for dance lessons or want a less structured environment, check the newspaper or call the local community college or the county recreation department to see when classes are scheduled. You’ll meet interesting people, and you don’t have to be part of a couple!

If you like to read, visit the library and instead of checking out a book to read, read it there. The library has some comfortable reading areas and you never know who you might meet.

If you’re thinking about joining the computer crowd online and you don’t know the first thing about computers (or even if you’re quite the geek and have been online for years), now is the time to join the local computer club. You’ll meet people from all walks of life, all levels of computer expertise.

You don’t have to be part of a couple to join these special interest clubs. Another place to learn about computers is the local community college or vocational training center. Call to get their class schedule.

How about a bus trip? Great way to meet people and see new places! Like to shop? Flea markets are a great place to browse. Note we didn’t mention anything about trying to meet someone? That’s because it isn’t necessary to spend every waking moment trying to make that special connection.

Learn to relax and enjoy yourself by yourself. When you become comfortable with yourself, you’ll lose the air of desperation that is a quick turnoff to the very people you’d like to meet.

How many times have you met someone who almost instantly wants to be your best friend or perhaps more? And you probably have the urge to turn and run as far away from them as possible. The desperate need to connect with someone is a definite turnoff for most people. Don’t do it. Relax. Enjoy yourself.

Two instances come to mind.

The first occurred one night years ago when a girlfriend and I were driving around town trying to meet guys. We didn’t have any luck in our search so we were just driving around town, laughing and joking and we forgot about our goal of meeting guys.

We were having so much fun that we literally didn’t hear the car horn blaring next to ours at several traffic lights. When we did, we turned and saw a couple of the cutest guys! It seems they noticed us because we were laughing and enjoying ourselves so much they wanted to meet us.

The more they tried to get our attention and the more we didn’t notice them, the more they wanted to be noticed! They were cute and they weren’t used to being ignored! Yes, they were nice guys and, yes, my girlfriend dated one of them for quite some time.

Which brings me to a favorite incident of a year ago. A girlfriend and I met at a local restaurant/pub early one week-day evening. Our circle of friends met there all the time but this particular night she and I were the only ones who didn’t have other things to do.

We carried on quite an animated conversation as we had much catching up to do. That did not mean we hadn’t already noticed the attractive and solitary man seated at a nearby table. We had not, however, made any overt moves toward him or entered into the competitive “look at me, I’m more desireable than she” type of actions that we’ve all seen at social functions.

At one point he asked for information about the local area and we invited him to join us at our table. His first question as he sat down? “Are you gay?” We laughed and returned the question back at him. Because we were two single, attractive females who hadn’t immediately made direct “come hither” actions toward him as he sat by himself, he assumed we must be involved with each other. Despite his short-sighted approach, he turned out to be a very nice gentleman, as well as a very eligible single.

In both cases, we met some nice men because we weren’t actively, blatantly trying to meet someone. That’s how it works. So, to meet people, you need to be interested and involved. That will make you interesting and make people want to become involved with you.

Singles groups are not necessarily only for meeting a potential mate. The first thing you’ll have in common with other members of a singles group is, you’re all single! Does that sound a bit silly? Maybe so, but that one thing in common will help to establish other common interest areas which will help to form friendships. And friendships are critical, crucial and all important to singles! Friends are a single’s most important lifeline.

You don’t have to join a singles group to meet other singles. There are special interest groups and clubs, social clubs, fraternal clubs, clubs in the area where you live.

© Pat Gaudette