You've been looking for love in all the wrong places.
I’ll never forget how annoyed I used to be when my oldest sister would push me out the door on Saturday night, urging me to hit the bars because I would never meet my future husband eating Thai food at home with my girlfriends. Please, I told her, I am not going to meet a nice guy in a New York City bar.
Well, we were both right. I didn’t meet my husband at a bar, but he wasn’t my local Thai food delivery man either. Despite my insistence that there wasn’t, even back then I knew good guys in the city who went to the bar to have a drink and meet women.
So the real question is: if they are out there, how do you find the good ones?
To help us locate the elusive “good guy,” I asked Verily gentleman Isaac Huss to give us a few pointers from a male perspective.
Isaac, take it away.
I’m going to answer the question, but first: it's more about the how than the where.
With one notable exception, there really aren’t any bad places to meet good men.
In fact, some of the most (seemingly) innocuous places are also the best places: the grocery store, the coffee shop, the library, you name it. The real formula for success? Find a guy you like, make eye contact, smile, and, perhaps most importantly, linger in a manner that invites a conversation (you don’t know how many times I’ve had to sprint after a girl because she was booking it to her car).
That being said, here are three places to meet nice guys... if you do it right.
1. Attend church or a wedding.
I know, I know, it sounds cliché, and you might not even be religious for all I know, but that’s not the point. Places of worship—and for similar reasons, weddings—are a great place to meet men for two main reasons.
First, at church, much like at weddings, we are surrounded by other people who are already married with kids, and it makes us want to stop being so single. As much as we may enjoy the perks of bachelorhood, when a guy goes to his place of worship all by himself, it reminds him how much he would like to have someone there beside him and you will get his attention if you are there on your own too.
So yeah you better believe I notice every woman under 40 in that church by the end of the sermon, and I’m not the only one.
Try sitting somewhere visible where there’s some space for a single guy to sit next to or near you. In fact, I know women who have even made it a rule to sit next to the first single guy they see, and I’m not kidding, you will make that guy’s day. And that doesn’t just apply to churches: try it on a plane, a bus, in libraries, restaurants with communal tables, or concerts too.
Second, there’s something about churches and wedding ceremonies where even complete strangers have a sense of familiarity to them. For instance, at a wedding, you know whoever’s at a wedding must know the bride and/or groom to some extent and at church, you know this person is part of a community with which you share common beliefs. This means women will likely see the guy as more familiar, and that actually really helps us to have confidence in approaching her.
Believe me, we’re all too familiar with the cold shoulder that women give off when they’re being approached by a stranger, and that can impact our willingness to approach—even if they’re giving us the signs. Being in familiar territory, if you will, is helpful in this regard.
2. Try live music instead of the nightclub.
I really like to dance. I’m serious. Sometimes I can’t even help myself, regardless of where I am.
But in case you weren’t aware, many guys can’t or won't dance. And so most guys you find at a dark, loud, and wild nightclub are there for watching and/or grinding on women, whether they have any interest in a relationship with them or not. The problem is not that there are never any decent guys at these places, it's that there’s no way of knowing. It’s not like you can actually have a conversation, after all.
If you are hoping to meet a gentleman on a Friday night, the dark rooms, the loud music, and the all-too-often meat market vibe of a nightclub aren’t going to give you very good odds. Instead, if you want to dance and meet guys who actually want to talk to you, allow me to suggest you find a bar that plays live music.
The cover charge helps to keep most of the weirdos out, the music typically starts earlier in the night, and the lighting and sound levels are typically more conducive to actually seeing and hearing other people.
3. Sit at the bar.
Most of us spend a good bit of time and money out at bars socializing and hoping to meet someone special. But the time you would already be spending out at happy hour with your girlfriend can be extra productive if you are a little bit more intentional about your local watering hole.
First, even if you're not the picky type, find a place that puts time, thought, and effort into their establishment—because that’s where you’ll typically find thoughtful, hard-working people who value their time.
Second, sit at the bar if you’re able. The bar is obviously the point of focus in the room, but more importantly, it’s much more approachable than an individual table. Even the boldest of men will pause before approaching a woman seated at a table—the degree of difficulty is steep, and the potential for failure is off the charts. A gentleman would never presume to sit in an open chair at a lady’s table, so then he’s left to either hover over her (and her friends) or crouch down on the ground. Trust me, it’s an ordeal.
But if you’re at the bar? A man won’t have to traverse the dining section, you’re already at eye-level, and there needn’t be any open seats to have a natural conversation. And if you want to invite a man to approach you? Open up your posture a little bit to welcome a conversation.
Finally, if you're a regular somewhere, build up a rapport with the bartender, and tell him or her you’re looking to meet someone—but not just anyone. The guys and gals behind the bar see all—and can be an unexpected source of intel on potential suitors. They’ll be able to point you in the right direction and even help you steer away from the ones who don’t fit the description.
This article was originally published at Verily Magazine. Reprinted with permission from the author.