Even after all these years as a dating coach and advice columnist, I am still amazed at how many men and women complain about the difficulties they have with dating.
If you ask me, the best dating advice I can offer is that men and women must learn how to open up and talk with each other without jumping to harsh judgments or self-sabotaging potentially healthy relationships due to their own subconscious insecurities.
But that may be easier said than done.
One challenging common denominator both men and women face is a lack of creativity in figuring out how and where to meet new people in their quest to find true love.
According to Pew Research, only about one in 10 Americans began a committed relationship with someone they met through an online dating service — although the figure is higher for the LGBTQ community.
A 2015 article published by Mic reported “more 18- to 34-year-olds met their current significant others through mutual friends than through any other means, including dating apps — close to 39% of respondents said they met ‘through friends in common,’ closely followed by 22% who said they met ‘out in a social setting.'”
But which social settings are best when you’re looking for a loving relationship?
Where to look for love (hint: not in bars or clubs)
The most obvious choice for many is the bars and nightclub scene, but this is “one night stand” territory no matter how you look at it.
There will always be the exception of a few people who end up in a loving, committed relationship with someone they meet in a club, but for the most part, it’s a short-lived scenario. Most people wake up the next day and seldom call the number they have in their coat pocket from the night before.
This is mainly due to too much alcohol and a lack of confidence to make the phone call.
Meeting in a lounge or a restaurant is a better environment, but you have to be more creative, as there is no dancing to seduce or lure someone in. You actually have to talk to people.
In general, alcohol is a great relaxer for many women and it works wonders for men looking for something more physically intimate, and that’s exactly why the bar scene becomes a repetitively unfruitful pattern for so many frustrated people. It’s available on every corner and everyone hopes they will be an exception to the rule.
Unfortunately, trying to meet women or men of substance in a bar is usually the same old story every weekend — everyone wakes up perturbed and lonely.
Here are a few dating tips to keep in mind when meeting new men or women:
- If you are using online dating services or apps like OkCupid, Match, Tinder, Bumble, or any of the others, pay attention to what they say they’re looking for. Are they looking for love or a relationship? If they don’t say so, believe them.
- Pay attention to the groupie types who only date or sleep with a certain high-profile type of person.
- Opt out of being the constant mistress. Being someone’s number two forever … who would want that?
- Watch out for people who only date the perfect and beautiful types.
What keeps you looking for love in all the wrong places?
Finding true love should not be costly or painful. Getting yourself stuck in a routine will close doors to other available options that could ultimately work for you.
If you classify yourself as a certain “type,” you won’t allow yourself to grow to your full potential you become stuck. And that’s why you’re having so much trouble finding love.
Fear can be a powerful suppressor, so be cognizant of any forming patterns that keep you from having love in your life because you are afraid of the unknown.
Take baby steps to challenge your demons.
Here are 10 unsexy places to find true love:
1. A driving range or golf course
Preferably at an executive par 3 course, as less serious golfers will go there.
2. Tennis courts
Use the back wall where other solo players will practice.
3. The gym
Be friendly and acknowledge people near you. Say hi and take off your headphones — and don’t bother other people who are wearing headphones, unless they speak to you first. Headphones are a big “I’m not looking to make friends” signal.
4. The airport
Talk to people in the holding room or in restaurants.
5. Hiking trails or a beach/park with high foot-traffic
If you’re an active person looking for someone active — go to active places!
6. Sporting venues
Go to a hockey game, soccer game, or golf tournament.
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7. Any social event where people can mingle
Do not put yourself in a booth; always stay open to the room. Smile at people as they pass.
8. A meet-up group
Check your local area for the numerous groups available or start one! It’s a great opportunity to meet people with similar interests.
9. A course or lesson
Learn something new. There will be people there who have similar interests as you.
10. Speed dating events and online dating sites or apps
Do your homework and find the best dating apps and sites that work for you and reflect your values.
If you don’t have the strength to get out of reoccurring heartbreaking situations, then start observing some of your friends who may be stronger than you and follow their lead.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help or to hire someone professionally for a short time.
Change up your dating patterns and the venues so that you have a better chance of meeting someone of substance. Everyone deserves love in their life.
Susan McCord is a dating, relationship, and lifestyle advice coach and show host. She’s also a published author, certified coach, blogger, and advice columnist.