Ask a Therapist: "Is Online Dating Really The Only Way To Meet Someone?"
I get this question pretty often in my work as a psychologist. Online dating can be really challenging, especially if you have tried it before. There is the scrutinizing over your profile and looking for just the right picture of yourself, and then wondering about the truthfulness of everyone else’s profiles. Many people wish they could just find a genuine connection with a real person and get off the internet. Here are a few options that can help you to meet people and make friends that do not involve answering 20 questions about your dating interests:
Geography - There is clear evidence that physical proximity is a HUGE factor in who we end up dating and marrying. Just being in the same physical location as someone ups your odds of connecting with them. Go to places where you can be near other people and look OPEN to having a conversation. Take your earbuds out, smile, and make eye contact. Good spots to try this out are at a park (dog parks are ideal, instant conversation topic!), coffee shop, book store, or smaller musical venue. Remember, you need to appear open to conversation: smile and make eye contact with others and even start a conversation about what the two of you are sharing (comment on the music, the cute dogs playing, even the weather can get the conversation started).
Be a Member - Join a fitness class or a sports team (like a casual kickball game where people bring their pets to the field, pick up soccer games, bowling with your age group on glow-in-the-dark-night, or trivia night at a fun restaurant). Bring a friend if you don’t want to go it alone, just remember to be open to interacting. A friend can be a great asset if he or she helps encourage you to strike up a conversation with a new person. If you two just hang with each other and send signals that you are not interested in anyone else, bringing a buddy will backfire.
Meetup.com – This one is secretly awesome! Meetup.com is a website that list all types of communities and events where people who are looking to meet new friends go on planned events like hiking, beer tasting, book clubs, learning to cook French food, tasting wines of California, playing broomball, etc. The cool thing is that you are meeting people who already have at least one thing in common with you, so it is that much easier to start up a conversation. You can even start your own meet up group tailored specifically to your favorite interests!
Social networking – This includes Facebook smile emoticon You can find listings of fun events in your community and meet new people who are interested in the the same kinds of things as you. There are also online chat options, blogs, and forums that can lead to longer interactions and even a relationship.
Speed dating – It takes only one night of many introductions and you’re finished with a few connections and likely some dates on the calendar. It’s similar to what you might imagine, one group sits still while the other moves around when the host or hostess gives the signal. By the end of the night, you may have met 3 or 4 interesting people who would also like to get to know you. The great thing about speed dating is it saves a ton of time, and you are only meeting people who are interested in a romantic relationship. I had a client who tried this option recently and actually made a connection with one of the organizers and went on a date with her the next week! Just goes to show you how important putting yourself out there is.
One Last Thing: Remember, it’s a numbers game. The more you put yourself out there, at sporting events, with friends at bars, going out with coworkers after hours, joining meetup groups, etc, the more chance you have of meeting someone."
Dr. Courtney Klein is a Psychologist at The Catalyst Center. She excels in her work helping people to find good partners and build healthy, loving relationships that really work. Give us a call at 720-675-7123 or learn more at: http://www.catalystcenterllc.com/courtney-klein.html