What if online dating is just NOT your thing? What other options should you try, might you try?
Here’s your short-list for what to do to stir things up for yourself over this coming 6–12 months, without online sites and dating apps.
1. Schedule Personal Outings. Yep, you’re going to plan dates with yourself, a couple times a week. Head out to explore, right in your neighborhood. Dine solo at sushi bars and sports clubs, sit at the counter at your local deli, have coffee outside your home, frequent your local bookstores, libraries, the Apple store – whatever naturally interests you. Eyes up (never looking down at your phone), armed instead with your pleasant disposition and your playful spirit. Bring your curiosity with you, as being interesting is alluring. Being fascinated is sexy. Need a crutch? Bring a dog, borrow one if you don’t have one – dogs are THE BEST flirting props. Practice the art of the casual chat. Release Your Inner Flirt. Social magnetism, I call it. It’s as simple as looking up, catching the eye of that total “stranger” with the intention only to bring a smile to this person’s face. Be present – accessible and available to those around you, wherever you go. Turn the corners of your mouth upward. Right – you smile first!
PZ: I wonder if women know this – even the most confident guy, when he sees a girl he’s attracted to, he gets nervous, self-doubt kicks in, along with that pesky internal voice that’s shouting “She’s probably taken.” It’s up to WOMEN to turn the cab light on, so we know you’re approachable and accessible. Just give us a playful glance, a cute little smile, and then we will take the lead.
2. Tap into your ‘hood. How nice would it be for you date someone who lives just a few blocks from you? How great would it be to have a few more close friends right around the corner? Do some research online to find Meet Up Groups and Singles Events that are already happening nearby. Bring a friend if you HAVE to, but you’ll meet more people if you attend local events solo. While you’re there, you have just one mission – to meet each person there and to make that person’s day just a little bit brighter. Focus on making other people feel welcome and comfortable; Take your attention outward, be curious and playful. Meet the organizer, offer to help, or give yourself a job.
“My client, David met his fiancé at a holiday block party – he brought a jug of his signature “Kick Ass Spiked Punch”, offering a cup to anyone who dared sample his concoction and, well… he’s engaged to Maria, who liked the punch a whole bunch.”
3. Leverage your network. Ask for referrals. This is bold, but I enacted this plan myself, and met over 20 men in six months – some good ones too. It took some courage, but my peeps came through for me and I bet yours will too.
Here’s the how-to. Put together a one page profile. A paragraph about who you are and a paragraph about the type of person you’d love to meet. Include on the profile two fantastic, current photos – a face shot and a full body shot – Send out an email to your closest friends, colleagues and family members, attaching your personal profile. The subject line of the email is: Who do you know? In the body of the email, say something along the lines of, “As you may know, I’d love it if my next first date would be my last first date. Let’s play the Six Degrees of Separation game – who’s in your network who might be a candidate? Feel free to share my profile, if you’re game for playing matchmaker for me, and we’ll see what happens.”
“My buddy, Jessica sent her personal profile to thirty of her pals and work colleagues, including her cousin, who introduced her to his attorney, who introduced her to his brother, and THAT brother is who Jessica is dating now. Wild, huh? And it all started with her bold Who Do You Know? email query.”
4. Throw a Plus One Party. Yes, YOU are going to throw the party. YOU are going to go through your Little Black Book – which is likely your Contacts List on your cell phone, plus you’ll want to scroll through your Facebook and Linkedin accounts. You’ll be making a list of all of the men and women whom you consider to be Your Pals. Choose men and women both, people you’re friendly with, close to your age, whom you’d enjoy seeing at a party. You’re going to host a networking / community building party. It can be a simple gathering at a casual, fun spot over Happy Hour, it can be at a private home, a BBQ at a park, a bowling alley – endless options, but what always makes this event a hit is that in order to attend the event, each person has to bring an opposite sex friend – someone whom YOU don’t yet know. It’s a community building event and you’re the community organizer. You’ll capture names, email addresses and phone numbers of each person who attends. Every few months, host another event, inviting the most interesting, intriguing people each time. Do this once a quarter and it’s likely that a year from now you will be off in a happy relationship. At the very least, your Little Black Book will have exploded with possibilities and as one who throws parties, you’ll be invited to lots of them too.
5. Find Local Matchmaking Registries. Did you know that today’s modern day matchmakers typically have a free registration option? It’s true. Some of the agencies require that both parties be current, paying clients in order for the introduction to fly, but this is becoming rarer. A good matchmaker is always looking for the best possible candidates for current and future clients, and your local matchmakers can’t match you if they can’t find you or if they can’t contact you. You’ll need great, current photos, of course, and some will want to meet you personally before referring you.
6. Share your Calling Card, to Close the Deal. Have personal “calling cards” made up, and offer them up to the most interesting people you meet out there on your scouting missions. Printed on that card – share just your first name, email address (that doesn’t reveal your last name), and a cell phone number. On these outings, whenever you find that you’re having a nice connection, practice closing the deal. In parting, say, “Such fun bumping into you; here’s how to find me.” Get good at capturing contact information too, and always reach out within a day or two, with a friendly text or email to solidify the new connection, and voila – you’ve just turned a Stranger into a Keeper.
Carla used all of these tips to overcome shyness. Here’s what happened:
“First I started leaving my phone in my purse – I disciplined myself not to look at it when I was running errands, at a coffee shop, etc. Then I started practicing the art of the casual chat (I started with cute little old ladies, then started chatting with moms and same sex contemporaries, then later … men) I had my first party, then another and then another. I give out my calling cards easily, all the time now, and I’ve literally outgrown shyness. I’m dating, I’m building a fantastic network of friends, and all of a sudden, I’ve got a spring in my step and I feel like I belong, right here in the same town I’ve lived in for ten years. I learned that people need me at least as much as I need them. Realizing this changed everything for me.”