“You have to recognize when the right place and the right time fuse and take advantage of that opportunity. There are plenty of opportunities out there. You can’t sit back and wait” Ellen Metcalf
I used to teach a class called Dare to Date. I met Kathy (my current wife) through the personals (forerunner of online dating services) and wrote several articles related to my dating experiences. This is one of the articles I wrote and also has been previously published as a blog.
Several years ago there was a National Geographic story about two explorers trekking through the jungles of Mexico and stumbling upon a place inhabited by millions and millions of butterflies. They had accidentally discovered the destination point of all migrating monarch butterflies. We have the same mindset about dating. We think that somewhere there is a bar, restaurant or singles group that is frequented by kindred spirits, soul mates and like-thinking people who would find us charming and fascinating beyond belief, and we just have to find this mythical dating Shan-gri-la. It’s a fantasy and doesn’t exist.
The reality (and good news) is that eligible people are everywhere, and there are many ways to meet and connect. Lack of opportunity to meet good people isn’t the problem. The real question is, do you have the awareness to see opportunities and the courage to pursue these opportunities? Do you have the self-confidence to risk rejection? If you are walking down the street and an attractive person of the opposite sex passes, what do you do? Do you think that’s an attractive person and keep walking or do you make eye contact and say a warm, sincere hello? Is your dating landscape littered with missed opportunities, or do you have the courage to go first in connecting with people? Somebody’s got to go first; why not you? This is the real question that must be answered.
I was teaching a Dare To Date seminar, and one young man would pipe up every fifteen minutes (like a damn cuckoo clock) and chime: “Yea, but where are all the chicks?” Later that evening I received a phone call from this young man. He sheepishly asked, “You know that blonde that was sitting next to me? You wouldn’t happen to have her telephone number?” Lack of awareness creates missed opportunities.
If you are going to go duck hunting, you need to go where the ducks are. Kathy once attended a military history seminar. There were over two hundred men and Kathy. (“So many men, so little time,” as Mae West would say). This was probably a better hunting ground than, say, cooking 101, or a learning to embroider class.
Be proactive. It’s OK to be creative and a little devious. Remember! Nothing ventured, nothing gained. A good-looking guy moved into the apartment complex of one of our friends. She really wanted to meet him but didn’t know how. She came up with a very creative (and somewhat devious) plan. She knocked on his door and informed him that the apartment had a long-standing tradition (pure fabrication) that, whenever someone new moved in, someone would take him or her out for a drink (the old welcome wagon trick), and it was her turn. They went out for a drink, had a good time and she fessed up to her deviousness to the enjoyment of both.
Always keep in mind that you are on the lookout for a mate. When you go to seminars or conferences, don’t sit down until you see who is attending. If there is someone who turns your crank, grab a seat next to him. Devious but effective. Nothing wrong with having a little hidden agenda. If you go to a dance or some other type of social gathering with your best friend, don’t go as Siamese twins joined at the hip. Separate yourself from your friend and mingle. It makes you much more available–and approachable. Not all guys have the necessary cowboy skills to cut you out of herd. When you make yourself approachable, it’s like subconscious advertising that you are available.
There are singles functions (mixers) in which activities are designed to be ice breakers and to force people to mingle. People might be asked to congregate based on their favorite food or dining preference. All those who love Italian food meet in corner A; all those who prefer French cuisine meet in corner B and so on. This is where it’s important to remember your objectives and not merely follows rules. If you spot an attractive girl or guy that you want to meet heading for the French cuisine group, I suggest you develop a real quick appreciation for Quiche Lorraine and follow.
Practice saying hello before you have a chance to talk yourself out of it. We over-think this conversation thing. “What should I say? Should I initiate the conversation?” Don’t think; just learn to do it. Action rather than passivity is what’s required. Change the sequencing: instead of thinking what to say and then saying it, say something first (hello is a great start) and trust that you will be able to handle whatever transpires after that. Learning to be more spontaneous and going with the flow will help in connecting with people. The more you practice, the easier it becomes.