Singles events can be as nerve-wracking as first dates. Whether you're speed-dating, hiking with a singles group, at a singles mixer, or, heck, just at a bar with a bunch of singles, you get nervous. You're nervous that you'll get stuck in a conversation too long, that you'll have an empty hand you won't know what to do with, that you'll stare from afar at the cute single on the other side of the room without saying anything.
As a matchmaker, I've organized quite a few singles events and mixers. I've watched as shy singles nervously clung to their friends, unwilling to meet anyone new. I've also watched as charismatic singles wowed with their jokes and easygoingness. You don't have to be a smooth operator to shine at a mixer—if you follow these rules you'll make sure you score that date!
- Keep it simple. Walking right up to someone, extending a hand, and saying, "Hi, I'm Joe," is simple, but gets the job done. You don't need a fancy one-liner—and in fact, simplicity exudes confidence.
- Smile. A lot. Smile while you talk, smile while you walk. Smile while you mingle and move throughout the room. Smiling signals that you're open to conversation. People will be drawn to you and feel comfortable enough to approach you.
- Don't huddle. If you go with a friend, separate. Inevitably, when you stand by a friend for the whole evening, the more talkative one of you will dominate, which serves neither of you. Your crush will wonder which of the two of you is interested. It may sound scary, but try slipping away and heading off toward another conversation once you see your friend conversing with someone else. One is easier to approach than two, and you're more inclined to each meet compatible singles.
- Ping pong the conversation. Ask a question, answer a question, ask a question, then reveal something about yourself. The conversations at dating events can be quick, and it's easy to get stuck one topic—her career or his recent vacation. Use the time wisely to find out a little bit about the other person while revealing the highlights about yourself. Do not fall into the trap of asking a million questions, trying to fill space and figure the person out. Likewise, do not use your first 10 minutes to only talk about yourself and show off your fabulosity.
- Time it. Don't look at your watch or your phone, but keep a mental note that when you're mixing and mingling, the 10-15 minute mark is when it's time to move on. Unless the connection is so obviously 100% mutual, keep it moving—you don't want to look like the person who corners.
- Keep it light. Since you're keeping your interactions to 15 minutes, make sure that time is used for light topics. A recent death, your missed flight—don't be the Debbie Downer who turns 15 minutes into a woe-is-me soap opera. Focus on the positives!
- Bow out gracefully. Knowing how and when to end the conversation is a real test of grace. Again, simplicity works here. So after your mental 15 minute timer is up, and you hear him take a pause after he wraps up a story about his dog, you can say, "Toby sounds adorable! Great story, Joe. It was so nice to meet you. I'm going to mingle around." It's true, it's direct, and it's graceful.
- Talk to everyone. The first guy or gal who comes up to you—engage, even if you already know there's no chance. You don't know who's watching you. Your dream guy or girl could be nervously clinging to a friend, wondering if you'll rebuff everyone in your path. You don't know who will introduce you to whom.
Singles events are a great way to meet other open-minded singles. Go, and have fun! Remember these rules, and get ready to mingle your single heart into a relationship!
Take him back to first beach dates frolicking in the ocean with some light handwork and a sea salt spray. We suggest dividing hair into various sections (creating mini buns if possible) before applying, then unwinding each for added texture and volume.
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