So you're on the prowl for a boyfriend, hunting for Mr. Right to potentially build a lasting and fulfilling relationship? You feel like you've got your head on straight, your life is in order, and you're ready and available for love. Perfect! The most important pre-requisite that's needed before embarking out into the dating jungle is a solid sense of self, an understanding of your needs and values, and a psychological readiness and maturity for navigating through a variety of interpersonal situations and relationship issues. You're equipped, motivated, excited... so where in the world do you find those quality guys to get acquainted with?!
As gay men, it can be a bit more challenging in our quest for potential dating partners since we're not always easily recognizable, that is unless you've got a finely-tuned sense of "gaydar." We don't have a rubber stamp with the word "GAY" printed on our foreheads to cause us to stand out from the crowd, so knowing who it's safe to approach can be made more difficult than our heterosexual counterparts face. But, it is not impossible, for as the saying goes: "We are everywhere!" This article will offer possible settings that will increase your chances for meeting other gay men, as well as to provide some practical tips for approaching these venues.
According to David Steele,M.A. and Marvin Cohen,M.A. from The Relationship Coaching Institute (*)in their program for relationship success training for singles, attraction venues are places and activities to meet potential dating partners, and there are four levels:
Level 1: Public Places. These are places such as malls, festivals, banks, grocery stores, etc. It's possible to meet someone compatible in these places, but not likely because there's such a large diversity of people to pool through.
Level 2: Generic Singles Settings. These would include bars, singles clubs, personal ads; places where you would specifically expect to find singles congregating. The odds are increased for meeting someone in these venues, but can still be difficult to find "qualified" partners.
Level 3: Special Interest Settings. Sports clubs, fitness classes, targeted workshops on a particular topic, etc. An even better place to meet people because you're living your life doing something that you enjoy with other like-minded people, already giving you something in common to build from. These are great places to make new friends too!
Level 4: Shared Mission Sites. This is the best venue to meet your life partner because it's a place where the people have a shared sense of values, purpose, and passion, which are important ingredients for relationship success. Places like churches, service clubs, and personal growth venues would be examples of such settings where they act as a community with mutual support and involvement.
You can meet the man of your dreams in any of these venues, however the more aligned the venue is with who you are and what you're looking for, the higher probability of success exists. Choose to involve yourself in settings that will attract the type of men you want to affiliate with.
TOP 5 PLACES TO MEET GAY MEN
Through interviews and polls taken with clients and men in the gay community, the following are the top popular picks for meeting potential guys for dating and mating.
1.Gay Bars & Dance Clubs: While these may be obvious places that gay men can flock to, be careful. You can meet a lot of nice guys in these venues, however the environment can be highly sexualized and prone to draw men who abuse drugs or alcohol and are only "cruising" for sex. If you're seeking a boyfriend, be clear on that and screen the men you meet carefully.
2.Personal Ads & Internet Chatrooms: Whether it be newspaper or telephone ads, online personals, or dating services, these can be ideal places to search for men, particularly for those who have extra-busy lifestyles or who don't live in large gay urban areas. These ads are a great way to creatively spell out exactly what you're looking for. Always meet in a public place if it gets that far and don't rely solely on this method at the expense of live human contact and social interaction.
3.Volunteering: Get to know the resources and organizations available in your nearest gay community and volunteer your time to some that resonate with and are meaningful to you. Examples might include The Human Rights Campaign, gay youth groups, gay community centers and health clinics, task forces, etc.
4.Friends: Build your gay social support system and expand your gay friendship circle. The more people you know, the more people your friends might be able to introduce you to. Lots of fulfilling relationships have started from "set-ups" by friends. It doesn't always work out, but friends can be a valuable resource because they know you and your interests.
5.Gay-Themed Events: Pride parades and festivals, drag queen shows, gay theatrical productions, charity events, classes and workshops with gay topics, parties, gay support groups, church activities, gay trade shows, gay speed dating events, etc.
Also, don't forget other places such as coffee shops, beaches, work, business networking events, restaurants, art galleries, museums, and health clubs as other possible gay guy meeting places.
DATING TIPS FOR THE HUNT
* Meeting Mr. Right takes careful planning and preparation; it's typically not always a spontaneous, out-of-the-blue experience. Know yourself and what you believe in and stand for, as well as what you're looking for. Ensure that you're emotionally available and ready for a possible relationship.
* Be friendly, open, receptive, and assertive when socializing. Your life partner could be anywhere, so don't limit yourself exclusively to certain meeting places. Expand your horizons and be open to new possibilities.
* Avoid expecting every encounter to lead somewhere. Not every hot guy you meet is Mr. Right. Use your screening skills and assess true goodness-of-fit.
* Don't let dating consume your life. Live your life in a balanced and fulfilling way. Be happily single.
* Defeat negative thinking that could undermine your confidence in social situations. Be affirming toward yourself and let each experience be a new learning opportunity to help you improve yourself and your approaches.
So there you have it! Mr. Right is anywhere and everywhere; you just need the readiness and emotional reserves to take the risks inherent in meeting new people. While dating venues can be important in helping you increase the odds of finding a good match, the most important ingredients are what you bring to the table. As long as you bring a positive attitude, strong self-esteem, good social skills, and an upbeat and assertive demeanor to the playing field, your chances of narrowing the market down and having a triumphant hunt for your future husband are great. Don't delay... boyfriend hunting season opens now!
*Reference: Steele, David & Cohen, Marvin (2003). Conscious Dating: Relationship Success Training For Singles. Relationship Coaching Institute. http://www.relationshipcoachinginstitute.com and http://www.consciousdating.org.
© Dr. Brian Rzepczynski, The Gay Love Coach