Ready to jump into the dating "pool" but afraid the water looks a bit deep or scary?
Were you married for over 20 years and now find yourself single? Did you try dating and it seems all the rules have changed? Perhaps your friends don't know any singles to introduce you to. Or maybe you're afraid Internet dating is filled with scammers and liars (not to mention it's complicated and expensive).
Divorce and death are creating more singles than ever before. According to a USA Today article, the number of men and women over 60 living single in the USA in 2011 was 11,500,000, an increase of 7% since 2005.
These numbers could seem discouraging if you think this way: "If there are so many single people my age, why aren't I meeting them?"
I’d like to suggest another way to look at this: "How wonderful that there are so many single people my age that I have the potential to meet and where can I meet them?"
Like most of us, you probably have platonic friends to share activities with such as lunch, theater, golf, dinner, and walking. And like most of us you'd like to have a romantic partner for some of these activities as well. So, the $64,000 question is — where do you find those elusive singles?
If your daily routine has become "routine" then I suggest using a method I teach my coaching clients called "visiting a variety of pools." You can imagine — if you go to the same places with the same people — the odds are small you'll meet new single people. By visiting a variety of new pools you'll definitely meet some new people and have the opportunity to get to know them as potential friends and/or potential dates.
You might have plenty of friends and wonder why I'm suggesting you make new friends. Making new friends is important because your new friends will invite you to visit their pools of friends and activities, which gives you the opportunity to meet new and interesting people you might not have met any other way.
So how do you do this? Let's start with the most comfortable pool in your life — your own personal pool. Your personal pool includes family, friends, and colleagues. The people you're already doing things with.
Then, shake it up a bit. When you go out with people from your personal pool, pick a different place (not somewhere you normally go). For example, a different restaurant, walking path, or theater. Pay attention to who is there. Does someone look interesting? Chat with them to get acquainted and to see if you have interests in common. A few ideas:
- If you're a woman out with a woman friend, then sit next to other women and start a conversation.
- At a play, ask the person sitting next to you (before the play, during intermission, or afterwards) — what do they think of the play? Do they go to plays often?
- While in the lobby or bar of a restaurant waiting to be seated, ask if they've been to this restaurant before. Do they know another restaurant that serves the same type of food? What is their favorite restaurant in the area?
- On the walking path, ask what other paths they walk on. Do they belong to a walking group? What do they like about walking?
If you're naturally shy this is an easy to way to talk to new people because you won't have to talk much. Once you ask people something about themselves they're usually happy to talk for awhile. When they're done talking then ask them something else about themselves and wait for their answers.
The next step is to start going to the new places suggested in your recent conversations. Go with a friend from your current pool, or one from the new pool you've just found.
Once you're at your new activity, repeat the chatting "get acquainted" process from before. Your goal is to continue finding new pools of people and activities.
Just like trying on clothes or deciding what to eat at a restaurant, you won't want to spend more time with everyone you meet or do everything you learn about. However, when you do meet someone interesting and/or discover something new you enjoy doing, this will definitely expand your interests and circle of pools.
Pretty soon your calendar will be filled with lots of new and different fun activities. You never know which activity will be the one where you meet that "special person."