You have to find a date for your cousin’s wedding (or your office party, or your high school reunion...). Whatever the occasion, you need a companion — a nice one, please — and you need to find that person immediately.
Fret not! Employ these four simple strategies and you’ll have an amazing someone on your arm in no time.
Tip #1: Call everyone you know for potential fix-ups
You know how they say it takes a village to raise a child? As it turns out, sometimes it takes a village to get a date
, too. “Now’s the time to tell all your trusted friends, family members and coworkers you’re looking for a set-up,” says Los Angeles psychologist Jennifer Brown, Ph.D. So get busy and put out as many feelers as you can.
That’s what Jamie, 36, of Seattle, WA, did when she needed a date for her nephew’s bar mitzvah. “I sent out an e-blast to everyone I knew saying I was looking for a blind date,” she recalls. “Within an hour, an old friend called to set me up with her cute next-door neighbor. I’m happy to report that it was a great date! Because I didn’t show up alone, I didn’t have to endure prying ‘What, no boyfriend?’ questions from my elderly aunts. Plus I met a really nice guy — not The One, I admit, but a great guy nevertheless.”
Tip #2: Give a so-so date another chance to shine
Remember that spark-free date you went on awhile back? It might be time to reconnect with this person. Who knows — the chemistry might have changed between you two for the better, like it did for Bob and Jill of Glendale, CA. “I asked Jill out again six weeks after our first date,” recalls Bob, 29. “Although our first encounter didn’t knock my socks off, I needed a date for a holiday party and figured I’d give things another try. That second date was magical — we’ve been together for almost two years now and are still going strong!”
If sparks didn’t fly the first time around, it just might be worth another shot, agrees Dr. Brown: “Maybe someone is having an off night — he or she got stuck in traffic, had a bad day at work, or wasn’t feeling well,” she says. “Unless you had an absolutely horrible time, one more date might just be in order. Who knows? It could be a love connection the second time.”
Plus, when you’re in a pinch and need a date fast, calling up someone you already know has several benefits. After all, you’ve already passed that initial getting-to-know-you awkwardness, and you know what you’re getting yourself into after having gone on that first date already. So what if this person is not Mr. or Ms. Right? He or she could be Mr. or Ms. Right-For-Right-Now… and possibly transform into something more after spending extra time together.
Tip #3: Be single and love to mingle at speed-dating events, singles mixers and anywhere else you can think of to meet someone
Tomorrow, instead of going straight home after work, try a speed-dating event or visit a coffee shop with friends and coworkers. Look your best and talk to at least three potential dates. “It might sound like a no-brainer, but your odds of scoring a date fast will definitely increase if you’re around other singles who are looking for love,” says Dr. Brown.
Not into the singles scene? Bring the party to you! Invite every single person you know to a soiree at your house and ask them to bring other single friends. Being the host or hostess with the mostest is a great way to meet new people and scope out potential dating prospects, according to Lissa, 39, of Venice, CA. “This is one of my favorite dating moves,” she says. “After a summer singles party I threw on my apartment building’s roof a few years back, I collected six different phone numbers!”
Tip #4: Cast your net online for potential catches
Your assignment, should you choose to accept it: spend an hour on an online dating site and “wink” at everyone who interests you. “The goal is to cast a wide net and see who bites,” says Dr. Brown. “Take a second look at those you might ordinarily dismiss for some minor reason. Open your mind to the possibilities.” Send emails to all the people with potential who wink back at you within 72 hours. Once you have a meaningful exchange going, say something like, “I have this event to go to on Saturday night. Are you game?”
This strategy was successful for Jennifer, 40, of Montclair, NJ. “I was normally super-picky about the people I contacted on dating sites, but when I needed a date for a friend’s upcoming graduation dinner, I decided to ‘target’ 10 different sorts of guys online. Not all of them were my typical ‘type’ — but they all seemed great in their own way.” She ended up dating several of them (and, thankfully, scored a date to that graduation dinner). The best part? One of those men is now her husband! “If I didn’t have that graduation dinner to go to and let down my defenses,” she concludes, “I doubt we’d even be together today.”
Julie Taylor has written for
Redbook and is the coauthor of several books, including The Girls’ Guide to Guys. When she’s needed a quick date in the past, she’s made the first move and asked men out. It works!