People often wonder how much time they should be spending on Internet dating. Is there a benchmark? Rather than approach Internet dating as a cure-all, it should be treated as an ancillary service – one that can fill the gaps and expands your prospect pool when you are not being set-up on dates, going through a drought, a stranger in a new town or far too busy at work to have time to meet new prospects. The remainder of your time should be spent exploring other more traditional vehicles.
Dare to Do Things Solo: One of the biggest fears we all face is doing things on our own. Venturing out solo can be a test of the psyche, often invoking the feelings of inadequacy from yesteryear, high school or college when what others thought of you sometimes meant more than your own opinion. Ironically, doing so is often the best way to meet new people. So consider dining out or attending movies, benefits and functions alone on a regular basis. You never know who will be sitting in the row in front of you or at the bar stool beside you, and just how often you can strike up conversations in those situations.
Position Yourself Properly: Let’s be realistic – the chances of a woman meeting a man at the nail salon may be slim to none, but any guy who ventures into one may strike gold. If you’re wondering where the good men and women are hanging out, sometimes all you have to do is think (and act) like one of them. If you’re a woman, think driving ranges, ski lodges and steakhouses, or hit the local pub next time the semi-finals are on television. As for all you guys please don’t shy away from the shopping malls, cooking classes or Pilates studios. It’s a numbers game and, if you think strategically, the odds will be in your favour.
Don’t Be Too Shy to Pry: Wondering about the cute guy on the corporate intramural league or the woman you spot at the gym every morning? A little snooping (of the non-stalking variety) goes a long way and can make the difference in your love life. If approaching them directly is out of the question, ask a third party like a colleague or trainer for the inside scoop and let them know you are interested in being introduced. Don’t be shy about telling people you are actively searching for set-ups – meeting friends of friends is a tried and, often, true matchmaking technique because the people you know and love have your best interests at heart.
Engage in a Group: Being part of a collective can introduce you to a new world of people you never knew, offers a built-in support system and provides places to go and people to see on a regular basis. Sport or hobby clubs, supper clubs, charity organizations as well as professional networking and political lobbying groups are all out there, so join one that excites, interests and feels comfortable to you.
Shake Up Your Schedule: You may think it’s safe and sensible to stick to a rigid routine, but that too may be part of your problem. If you do your errands and chores at the same time every day, chances are you are missing out on meeting new people. With a few minor but smart schedule adjustments, those chance encounters can become more frequent. So the next time you hit the cleaners or the grocery store, step out of your comfort zone and try doing it a different time of day. Or take the bus or subway instead of driving, just to mix it up.
Try Breaking Away: Short and long escapes from your surroundings and social circles will do your mind, spirit and heart some good. If time and budget permit, plan to take a group trip for the holidays or invest in a seasonal timeshare with other singles. There are plenty of travel companies, cruises, even religious or fitness groups that cater to the singles segment. To make sure you are paired with other singles before embarking on your journey, call the travel provider and find out who else has signed up for the getaway you are interested in booking.
For some people, the hardest part of Internet dating is getting started, while others have a tough time sticking with it, and then there are the individuals who get so caught up in it that they lose sight of what they are searching for or neglect traditional dating techniques that are instrumental in meeting new people. As with anything else in life, the right balance will help you conquer your fears, avoid burnout and help ensure overall success.