7 Days To Finding A Great Date
Ready to get serious about meeting your perfect match? Then read this excerpt from Match.com’s love guide, How To Find The Right Person In 90 Days, and get on the road to finding your soul mate.
Here's the key to maximizing your chances of finding The One: Meet as many new people as possible. So for the next seven days, put yourself in a variety of different meet-a-date scenarios: Some will be familiar, and some will be completely different than anything you’ve tried before.
“Think about when you’re looking for a job: You talk to friends, you go online, you go to seminars and networking functions. It’s the same process for dating,” explains Bernardo
Carducci, Ph. D., a psychology professor at Indiana University Southeast. “The more arms you have in your social-support network, the more likely you are to succeed.” Below are some specifics on how to do just that.
|“The more arms you have in your social-support network, the more likely you are to succeed.”
Day 1: Tap into your network of friends
Remember those friends you’ve enlisted to keep you on the right path for these 90 days and beyond? They can also be your lifelines to love. Before you shake your head and worry about imposing, you should know that quite a few of them may already have someone in mind for you but don’t want to seem meddlesome. Another bonus? “Asking your friends for help also shows them how important they are,” says Bonnie Jacobson, Ph. D., author of The Shy Single: A Bold Guide to Dating for the Less-Than-Bold Dater. “You're telling them, ‘You’re a valuable person. I trust who you’d pick as friends, and so I’d trust the choices you’d pick for me.’” And, come to think of it, that’s not a bad way to phrase your request.
Day 2: Take a closer look at your friends and acquaintances
The perfect person may be right next to you—literally. That coworker who’s a few cubicles over or that friend who comes over to watch The Apprentice every week could be the perfect prospect for romance. How can you tell? Well, it may be more than friendship if...
1. You can picture yourself kissing this person.
2. You both say that if you don’t meet someone else, you’ll probably end up together.
3. Whenever strangers see you together, they assume you’re dating.
4. To borrow a line from When Harry Met Sally…, this is the first person you want to talk to when you wake up and the last person you want to talk to before you go to bed.
Before you dive in, consider the risks to your job and/or your friendship if things don’t work out. If you do, however, decide that it’s worth it, try these subtle tricks to see if there’s reciprocal interest:
1. Joke around about the attraction. If your friend balks at the idea of crossing the platonic line, you can always say that you were kidding.
2. Talk in hypotheticals. For example, “If I could just meet someone like you” or “If we were dating, I wouldn’t have this problem—we always have fun together.” Gauge the other person’s response to see if romance is a possibility.
3. Get a little closer and be more touchy-feely.
If you’re not getting any red lights, seal the deal with a kiss. Talking about your attraction first (and, most likely, analyzing it to death) can take you out of the moment and make both of you second-guess the situation. A well-timed kiss can speak louder than any words.
Day 3: Accept that invitation to happy hour or a party
Put yourself in the right place at the right time, and let serendipity step in. When is that magical moment? Each and every time you have the opportunity to do something. So go to that coworker’s cookout or to that friend of a friend’s birthday celebration—and make opportunities for yourself by regularly attending gallery openings or alumni-club functions. You never know when lightning will strike, but chances are it won’t be when you’re sitting at home alone with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, watching a Law & Order marathon.
We know that it can be daunting to navigate your way through a crowd, which is why it’s a good idea to go out with friends. The best wingman (or wingwoman) isn’t necessarily single, but he or she is outgoing and supportive of you. Here are a few ways to have fun and stay focused on the task at hand:
1. Make a bet with your friend on how long you can sustain a conversation with someone new. The wager? The next round of drinks.
2. Have your friend pick the next person you’ll talk to.
3. Consult on what makes the best opening line... and try it out.
The idea is to have a good time while talking to as many people as possible. You’ll form a better picture of who you’re looking for—and most likely find some great dates.
Day 4: Make technology work for you
You have an enormous advantage that daters didn’t have ten years ago, and that’s the ability to meet millions of potential matches online. The Internet has completely changed the way people meet and connect: “At a social function, you might talk to 25 people before you meet
someone you connect with; but online you can minimize the trial-and-error process,” says Carducci. “You can be specific in your search and say, ‘I like poodles, softball and cooking’.” And instead of scoping out your prospects in a smoky dimly lit bar, you can do a search for people who share your interests. Another key benefit of online dating is that you can expand your prospects past your everyday social circle—and that’s a huge advantage.
|The idea is to have a good time while talking to as many people as possible.|
Just ask Mike from San Francisco: “I placed a Match.com search for women who had ‘Boston Red Sox’ in their profiles, just for curiosity’s sake. And although Kristen lived in L.A. and I was in the Bay area, I let her know that another Sox fan out west thought she was cute. We met up three weeks after my initial e-mail—and got engaged last August. I am one of the happiest people in the world right now, and this wouldn’t be possible without Match.com—or the Red Sox.”
Day 5: Try something completely different
It may sound crazy, but you could find your soul mate in a round of three-minute speed-dating. Or by passing a note to someone at a “no talking allowed” quiet party. Or during pregame mingling at a singles night hosted by your city’s basketball team. Check out the meet-and-greet options in your local paper or online, and try whichever one seems most appealing to you. But once you’re there, make the most of the situation—and ladies, that means you, too. This is 2005, and you can make that crucial first move. Doing something as simple as asking someone a casual question — such as “Can you believe he made that catch?” at a ball game — can get things started.
Regardless of your gender, this two-part tip will give you the courage to strike up a conversation. First, know this fact: Studies show that 50 percent of Americans are very shy, so in any given situation, about half of the people involved are uncomfortable. Jacobson suggests employing this strategy: “Find one person standing alone, and make it your job to help the person feel like they don’t want to crawl through the floorboards.” Taking the focus off of yourself helps you relax—and opens you up to the people and possibilities around you.
Day 6: Take up a social hobby
Talk about an instant bond. By signing up for an activity that you love, you’ll surround yourself with people who share similar interests. Here are a few suggestions:
1. Take an improv, cooking, writing, or scuba-diving class or anything else that interests you.
2. Join a softball league or a bowling team
3. Get involved in your alma mater’s alumni association
4. Volunteer for Habitat for Humanity or at a local soup kitchen
Even if you don’t see any immediate dating prospects at the activity you’ve chosen, stick with it if you enjoy it. You never know who could join the group or what friends they may have who are perfect for you. If nothing else, your new activity will help you become a more interesting, happier person—and that will only help you in the long run.
Day 7: Rest and evaluate
And on the seventh day, you can rest. Well, sort of. You’ve had a very active week, but now you need to examine your dating adventures. To help you with your analysis, complete the following sentences:
1. I had the most success at...
2. It worked well when I...
3. Next time I’d like to work on...
4. The three dating activities I’d definitely like to try again are...
5. Out of the people I met, I am going to try to connect with...
6. I was the most attracted to people who are...
Your answers will uncover what worked for you as well as further your self-knowledge. Be honest about your successes and shortcomings, and, with that subsequent self-awareness, get back out there and start going on a few dates.
In addition to How to Find The Right Person In 90 Days, Dawn Yanek is the author of Women’s Best Kept Secrets and is a frequent commentator on relationships for MSNBC, Fox News, E! and VH1.
Want to read more? Get on the path to finding your perfect match with Match.com's love guide, How To Find The Right Person In 90 Days.