I am so excited to officially announce our newest column, the dating advice column Asked & Answered. (Because I could definitely use some dating and relationship advice…and I have a feeling other people could do regardless of their current relationship status.) We can all work to improve our relationships. I’m excited to have my new friend Stephanie Cuba leading up the series. We met up for lunch and she has some great advice. I’m excited for her to share it with you! Do you have a relationship question? Email Stephanie at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our first question is about how to meet people in real life (instead of online).
How to Meet People In Real Life (Instead of Online)
Dear Asked & Answered,
Hinge, Tinder, Bumble. You name it, I’ve tried it. If I go on one more online date, I’m going to lose it. I really want to meet someone, but I’m so discouraged. I’m thinking about hunting offline in the real world, but I don’t know where to start. Please help!
-Offline in NYC
Dear Offline in NYC:
I hear you. Online dating gets exhausting. And the online part actually drags out the process. Swiping, texting, emailing, texting some more—and you haven’t even seen him! Ironically, meeting the old fashioned way can be more efficient—you certainly see each other sooner.
So with summer near, it’s time to step away from your phone and exit the building. No more digital dating. Shut down your computers and turn off your tablets. It is time to take the virtual out of reality.
The greatest thing about living in any city—especially NYC where I notice you live—is there are so many people to meet. That’s also the worst thing about it. You need to narrow it down.
Step one is to think about yourself and what you like to do. It’s easier to connect with someone over shared interests. And common sense says if you want someone who likes what you do, go do those things.
Scan this list of things to do with real people—and pick three you can easily see yourself doing.
Especially as the general election nears, volunteer for a campaign. Besides making a difference, it’s easy to start up a conversation and plenty of team tasks to get done.
Go to a reading, popular in any city, especially in bookstores and libraries but also museums and bars.
Whatever your faith—or lack of it—most religious groups welcome new blood. Especially if you are religious, these events are great filters to narrow your search.
Food and Drink:
An abundance of offerings for every taste, from high end cheese to evening Prosecco tastings at your local wine store. Pop in!
If you prefer action to watching, take a cooking class—offered in many locales beyond formal culinary schools like restaurants, bakeries and gourmet food stores.
Combine your desire to give back with your interest in dating by volunteering. Try soup kitchens or shelters when you have a Saturday morning free or work on a benefit for a steadier role.
If you have a favorite team, go cheer them on at a popular sports bar. If you don’t have a favorite, go anyway and learn why people do!
Most cities boast multiple single, co-ed sports groups or running clubs or biking clubs—join the fun for both organized events and training.
Many cultural organizations—museums, operas, symphonies, libraries—offer discounted rates for younger members invited to attended events and social gatherings. So a lot of the work is done for you!
These are hot spots every night of the week, for alumni and others alike, so check out their events or drop into their lounges.
Going back to your high school or college reunion does not mean only catching up with classmates but making new friends from old faces: that scrawny editor of the yearbook may now be an accomplished and handsome journalist.
Long as this list is, it is only partial—think of family events, summer share houses, weekend barbeques and the rest. But as you think about these ventures and make plans, here are a few principles to guide you through the hunt:
Creep Outside Your Comfort Zone:
I say creep for a reason. Don’t join a skydiving club if you are afraid of heights. But do something you wouldn’t normally do. If you like to bike but are sick of the Loop, join a club or go on a bike trip. Take whatever activities you enjoy to the next level.
Take it slow. Choose one thing to do per month. That way you can choose wisely and not get overwhelmed.
Dress the Part:
Whatever event you chose, dress for it. If it’s a reading, dress up a little. If it’s a soup kitchen, dress down, but pay attention to what you wear. You never know where he may be.
Modest Commitment Necessary:
While some class registrations require multiple weeks of commitment, many events are one-off commitments or perhaps two. Try it out. Just once. No need to go back or buy a series. But try it.
If you want something in life that’s worth anything, you need to take a risk. When opportunities present themselves to meet someone, you must step up. For instance, a great way to meet someone is at a wedding. If you don’t have a boyfriend, don’t take a friend, go it alone.
One of my favorite match stories featured a woman stuck at a dud table during a reception. She wrote a note on a napkin to a handsome man at another table: “I’m stuck here, but I’d rather be sitting next to you.” Upon receiving the note, he looked around and saw her smiling at him and took her out on the dance floor. And the rest, as they say, is history.
If you attend events and parties that you enjoy, you will be your best self which makes you ripe to meet someone. I know because I met my husband at my favorite place in the world: the beach. To find out the great story how we met, keep reading this blog post over the coming months! My name is Stephanie Cuba, and I’ll be answering your questions about love, relationships, marriage. Whatever you want to talk about, I’m game. (Just send me an email at email@example.com)
Truth be told, I was pretty late to the marriage party, which gave me an enormous amount of experience in this department. I can tell you in all honesty, that I met a guy at almost every venue I suggest above. I was late to the party because I was waiting for my match. I found him. And if you open your heart and mind to the possibilities that lie ahead, you will too.
Stephanie Cuba is a blogger, writer, lawyer and real estate developer. Stephanie is writing a novel about finding love as well as a book about the early years of marriage. When she’s not juggling her career, friends, marriage and two little girls, she loves to mess up the kitchen creating culinary masterpieces and cupcakes.
Image via Style Me Pretty.