Help me out, please. I'm 58, no kids, divorced with an income, not a slob, not perfect but fair all around. Don't like dating sites. Would you like to coach me (haha) right? Hope to hear from you soon.
~ Lonely in Shelton
I can’t say that I blame you for not liking dating sites. Thankfully there are dozens of other ways to meet people from chatting with people at the grocery store to hanging out in bars every night. Whatever the method of approach though, the most important factor is you.
My father recently remarried. After his divorce, it took a while for him to feel ready, but when the time came he approached the dating game kind of like a math equation. And while not particularly romantic sounding, this kind of methodical approach makes a lot of sense.
Whichever method of approach you choose, be consistent about it. If you want to go to bars, give yourself a quota of days to go and women to talk to. In some ways, it’s even good to assume that you will get a "no" so that it doesn’t sting quite so much when you do. And you will – that’s part of the process.
That’s the hard thing about finding companionship: you have to put yourself out there over and over again. It can be exhausting, depressing, and fun all at the same time. Keep taking steps toward your goal and you will eventually reach it.
I would suggest trying dating sites again though because they can provide a much broader opportunity for connection. There are also dating sites aimed at different sectors of people. For example, I met my husband on a dating website called meetmindful, which is geared toward spirituality, philosophy, and environmentalism. My father met his new wife on CatholicMatch. So, while online dating can be a void for hookups, it can also be an avenue for meaningful relationships if you do your research.
If you’re really against online dating though, I suggest finding a group activity. Meetup is a great website for finding groups to join, but you can also sign up for college classes, join a sports team, or grab a paper and see what other opportunities exist in your area.
As far as starting a conversation is concerned, you’re welcome to experiment, but I always think a question is an optimal way to start.
You could start with something subtle like “what’s your favorite part of this event so far,?” something forward like “what’s the best pickup line you’ve ever heard,?” or something you genuinely wonder about “where do you think the concept of the moon being made of cheese came from?”
Any way you look at it, by approaching someone with a less common question you get to experience a slew of interesting conversations. It’s amazing how many things you can learn through an unexpected conversation (I once asked a city worker what the black strips he was placing on the road were for) and, if you keep at it, you may soon find love too.
Keep it light, keep it consistent, and trust that things are always working out in your favor.
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