Forget The Bar! THIS Is The New Place To Meet Awesome Single Guys

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Are you longing to meet someone with common interests? Do you enjoy traveling? Are you looking to advance your career? Now you can bundle all three by attending one of the top conferences held around the country. Conferences are the hottest trend not only for career and personal development, but also for meeting singles!

Are you surprised? So was I when I read this article in The New York Times. As a dating coach for women over 40, I think this is one of the hottest ideas I've heard in a while to meet quality singles. These events attract people with entrepreneurial spirit who are into the cutting edge of what's going on in the world and who are concerned about improving situations, so they're a perfect place to meet your next boyfriend.

What are some other reasons why conferences are a great place to meet singles?

1. You can travel solo without feeling uncomfortable.

Many conferences have plenty of non-conference activities specifically designed to help you meet and mingle with other attendees. Not to mention, popular host cities like Austin, Aspen, San Francisco and New York City make wonderful travel destinations.

2. You can mingle with people of means.

It takes some coin to attend these events, so you know you'll be meeting people of means who can afford to be there.

3. Everyone shares at least one of your interests.

Conferences gather people from around the country to learn about a particular topic. At these events, you have something in common with hundreds or even thousands of people.

4. Conferences encourage making connections.

Many top conferences offer more activities than just speakers and workshops. They schedule fun options too like walking tours, cocktail parties, dinners and group jogs to help you connect with participants for a complete experience. In particular, SXSW is actually promoting singles events with their conference, leveraging the current trend to focus on singles.

5. People tend to be friendlier when traveling.

Defenses are down, and it's easy to break the ice with so much going on so making new friends — even if just for a day — is simpler.

The New York Times article quoted Rachel Shechtman, the founder of the Manhattan boutique Story, who says these conferences are "like the Club Med of the intellectual." That sounds like fun to me! Conferences are becoming known for the famous couples they have drawn together and romantic opportunities.

For instance, did you know that Chelsea Clinton met her husband Marc Mezvinsky at the Renaissance Weekend years ago?

What conferences are out there?

  • Pop Tech: a conference for innovators from many different fields — science, technology, design, corporate and civic leadership, public health, social and ecological innovation, and the arts and humanities.
  • Gel: a conference for designers and thinkers in technology and business.
  • TEDx: a conference now held in multiple cities with smaller conferences. The original TED is by invitation only.
  • SXSW: a conference for entrepreneurs and executives in technology.
  • Renaissance Weekend: an invitation-only festival for innovators in business and finance, education, religion, government, the media, science and technology, sports, non-profits and the arts.
  • EG: a conference for innovators in media, technology, entertainment and education.
  • Aspen Ideas Festival: a festival for emerging leaders from around the world and across many disciplines.
  • BIL: The "Everyman's TED" event for technologists, scientists, artists and hackers with a passion for community awareness.

Obviously, there are many more options to choose from once you start doing the research. Look for events that pique your curiosity and are good for developing your career. Consider which conference is the best professional match for you and whether it's being held in a place you've always wanted to visit — then book your stay! 

Naturally, in situations like this when it's so easy to meet people, you want to keep your head in the game too, not just your heart. Be sensible about the choices you make if you're seeking a connection that has long-term relationship potential. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

1. Watch out for the "hookup."

A little fling could seem like a hot idea after a few drinks ("what happens at the conference, stays at the conference"), but it might not sit so well the next morning. There's nothing wrong with having a little fun on your trip, just as long as you aren't expecting it to result in a relationship.

2. Friendships can be short-lived.

That's OK; it's good to practice your mingling skills, even if nothing manifests.

3. Sit back and let him initiate contact.

As a dating coach for women, I always recommend that you let the man lead in the beginning. That's the best way to know if he's really interested. Don't make the classic mistake of over-communicating, especially when you don't know if he's interested.

4. After the conference, reach out on social media to stay connected.

Just remember to keep your outreach to a minimum. Don't push it. Start slow with your communication to see how you are welcomed (or not).

5. Long-distance relationships can work.

However, these are not always the easiest type of relationship to maintain. Don't get too attached to a guy you met before you have evidence that your connection has potential beyond the conference.

Dating Coach Ronnie Ann Ryan is the author of Is He the One? Find Mr. Right by Spotting Mr. Wrong which radically simplifies understanding men. Get more dating wisdom in her free book: 7 Dire Dating Mistakes that Keep You Single.  

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