Being single can feel miserable, and it can become worse when well-meaning friends try to make you feel better. They offer encouragements such as “There are plenty of fish in the sea” or “You still have time.” But one riles me up more than any others: “You’ll find love when you least expect it.” Let’s see….would that kind of thinking work in other areas of life?
You’ll find a job when you least expect it.
You’ll find a home when you least expect it.
You’ll get a great body when you least expect it.
You’ll make money when you least expect it.
Of course not. Then why should we take a passive approach to love when we don’t do so in other areas of our lives? We update our resumes, network and spend hours hunting online for a good job. We talk to realtors and bankers and get our finances in order when we buy a home. Although some of us have great metabolisms, the rest of us have to work out and eat healthy to stay in shape. And since money doesn’t grow on trees, we have to work for it, budget it and save it.
Finding love shouldn’t be any different of an approach. If you are seeking a long-term commitment or marriage, you need to prepare yourselves for this in two areas: surroundings and self. We’ll cover surroundings in this blog.
By surroundings I mean making yourself available – preparing and putting yourself in situations that can maximize your potential to meet people. As a coach, I work with individuals who say they want to meet someone but don’t take actions to make that happen. I encourage my clients to develop a mindset – to think of every day as an opportunity to meet someone.
Think of all the errands you run – to the grocery store, laundromat, post office – or even when you go out for lunch during the workweek. You encounter people all the time. View these as opportunities. “But Anita,” you say, “I’m way too shy for this.” Be prepared. You research the company where you’re applying for a job, so do some research about relevant topics to discuss. Develop “go-to conversations” – the weather, your interests and job, current events, upcoming travel plans, etc., that you can always rely on to talk about no matter who you meet or where.
And here’s the thing, Get off your phone! A lot of the time when I’m out and about, I notice people on their phone or with earphones in – that’s a block to opportunity. If you’re single and wanting love, does the way you present yourself indicate that you are open to a conversation? How often do you look at your phone instead of make eye contact at someone you find attractive? Even at bars or cafes, if there are two people at a table and one leaves for a moment, the other person immediately grabs their phone. What a missed opportunity to talk to the person at the table next to you!
Consistently put yourself in situations where you can meet this type of person.
And singles often tell me, “I can’t find anyone I like.” What kind of person do you want to meet? What kind of values and interests does he or she have? Consistently put yourself in situations where you can meet this type of person. If you need intellectual stimulation, attend lectures or networking panels. If you love the outdoors, go hiking or kayaking. If you’re active, join a running club or take dance classes. Pet lover? Take your dog to the dog park or volunteer for an animal rescue organization. You can browse Meetup.com to find groups that fit your interests. Your family, friends and coworkers know you best so tell them you’re available and looking.
You can also increase your chances by widening your net. The online world can bring into your dating world people you may not have ever met in person. The majority of single Americans have been online, so if you’re one of the few that hasn’t tried it or has taken a break, give dating sites a shot. Be proactive while you’re on there. Stop with the winks and actually send a short but genuine message to someone you are interested in. Try dating apps like Coffee Meets Bagel or Grouper.
You can capitalize on finding love by developing a mindset that you can meet someone at any time and anywhere. The opportunities are out there – you just may have to pay attention to them, be prepared, or create them yourself. But whatever you do, don’t waste your precious time waiting for love to come find you.