Parks, a University of Washington communication researcher and author of Personal Relationships & Personal Networks, has determined that 75 percent of the people who dated extensively the year before said they had help from a friend. In their corner is what Parks calls "the social proximity effect," which holds that the probability of two people meeting is directly proportional to the number of contacts they share. In other words, more friends means more female referrals. "Our research has shown that two-thirds of people who initiate a romantic relationship had met at least one of the dozen or so members of their partner's closest social network prior to meeting their part ner for the first time," says Parks, "and nearly half had met two or three." If you know Tom, and Tom knows Betty, then there's a greater chance you'll meet Betty. And if Tom also knows Susan, Heather, and Kimberly . . . well, then you owe Tom a fruit basket.
Not only does volunteering for a charity event, community theater or fundraiser put you in an environment with like-minded people who share your values, but it also affords you time to spend alongside them to get to know them -- which is how Francis, 30 met his wife. "When I lived in Long Island, I started volunteering for a crisis hotline," he says.
Be open-minded to all those interested in you. If you put an age-range or any other restrictive ranges into your wishlist, you could miss out on women who might be slightly outside those expectations but are ideal for you. It also sounds really bossy and perfectionist to list restrictive preferences and will scare off many women even if they fall within your restrictions.