Even after all these years as a dating coach and advice columnist, it still amazes me how many men and women complain about how difficult it is to date.
If you ask me, the best dating advice I can offer is that men and women need to learn to open up and talk to each other without jumping to harsh judgments or self-sabotaging potentially healthy relationships because of their own subconscious insecurities.
But that may be easier said than done.
A common denominator challenge that 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 Researchonly about one in 10 Americans started a committed relationship with someone they met through an online dating service, although the number is higher for the LGBTQ community.
A 2015 article published by Mic reported that “more 18- to 34-year-olds met through mutual friends than through any other medium, including dating apps; nearly 39 percent of respondents said they met “through ‘mutual friends’, closely followed by 22% who said they met ‘in a social setting’.
But which social settings are the best when you’re looking for a relationship?
Where to find love (hint: not in bars or clubs)
The most obvious choice for many is the bar and club scene, but this is ‘one night stand’ territory no matter how you look at it.
There will always be the exception of some people who end up in a loving, committed relationship with someone they meet at a club, but for the most part, it’s a short-lived scenario. Most people wake up the next day and rarely call the number in their coat pocket from the night before.
This is mainly due to too much alcohol and lack of confidence to make the phone call.
Meeting in a lounge or restaurant is a better setting, but you need to be more creative as there is no dancing to seduce or attract someone. You actually have to talk to people.
In general, alcohol is a great relaxant for many women and works wonders for men looking for something more physically intimate, which is precisely why the bar scene becomes a repetitively unsuccessful pattern for so many frustrated people . It is available in every corner and everyone hopes that they are an exception to the rule.
Unfortunately, trying to meet important women or men in a bar is usually the same story every weekend: everyone wakes up disturbed and alone.
Here are some dating tips to keep in mind when meeting new men or women:
If you use online dating services or apps like OkCupid, Match, Tinder, Bumble, or any other, pay attention to what they say they’re looking for. Are they looking for love or a relationship? If they don’t say it, believe them. Pay attention to groupie types who only date or sleep with a certain type of high profile person. Choose not to be the constant lover. Being someone’s number two forever… who would want that? Beware of people who only date the perfect, beautiful types.
What makes you look for love in all the wrong places?
Finding true love shouldn’t be expensive or painful. Getting stuck in a routine will close the 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’ll stay stuck. And that’s why you’re having so much trouble finding love.
Fear can be a powerful suppressor, so be aware of any patterns forming that hold you back from having love in your life because you’re 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 on an executive par 3 course, as less serious golfers will be there.
2. Tennis courts
Use the back wall where other solo players will practice.
3. The gym
Be kind and acknowledge the people around you. Say hello and remove your headphones, and don’t disturb other people who are wearing them unless they talk to you first. Headphones are a great “I don’t want to make friends” signal.
4. The airport
Talk to people in the lounge or restaurants.
5. Hiking trails or beach/park with a lot of traffic
If you’re an active person looking for someone active, go to active places!
6. Sports venues
Go to a hockey game, a soccer game, or a golf tournament.
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7. Any social event where people can mingle
Don’t stand in a booth; always be open in the room. Smile at people as you walk by.
8. A meeting group
Check your local area to see the many groups available, or start your own! It’s a great opportunity to meet people with similar interests.
9. A course or lesson
Learn something new. There will be people who have interests similar to yours.
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 recurring heartbreaking situations, start looking at some of your friends who might be stronger than you and follow them.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help or hire someone professionally for a short time.
Change your dating patterns and locations so you have a better chance of meeting someone important. Everyone deserves love in their life.
Susan McCord is a dating, relationship and lifestyle advice coach and talk show host. She is also a published author, certified trainer, blogger and advice columnist.
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