In many ways, meeting someone through an online dating site or app is similar to meeting someone through a friend—thanks to detailed online dating profiles, you have a chance to get to know people before you actually meet them. And swiping left in your underwear is much more convenient than getting dressed up and going out to a bar, so it’s no surprise that nearly one-third of marriages today start online, according to a study commissioned by eHarmony.com.
If you stick to a 6-mile orbit, your romantic trajectory is stunted as well. "In the stock market, diversification is critical to reducing risk," says Amir Aczel, Ph.D., a former professor of mathematics and statistics at Bentley University near Boston and author of Chance. "In dating, the same rule applies. You should vary the places you go, and when you go there. This diversification will result in increased probability of meeting women who respond well to you."
But it's not just the friend famine that's starving our sex lives. Socially inbred crews are detrimental, too. "In a tightly knit group, you know the same people," says Parks. "Your friends can't introduce you to women you don't already know." That's why access to a new resource, whether it's an unadvertised job opening, a lead on a house listing, or an introduction to a woman you might click with, is more likely to come through casual friends than close ones. It's what social-network theorists call "the strength of weak ties," and the greater the number of unique casual connections you have, the better positioned you are to benefit. These types of people are essentially network bridges, says Parks. They connect you to women you might not otherwise have met through your close friends. The secret isn't blind dates and setups; it's party invites and casual introductions.
So why does the alcohol-soaked pick-up scene still exist? Aside from the obvious reasons (tequila, vodka, rum), there's a surprising one as well: inexperience. Men are new to this 21st-century version of the boy-meets-girl game. In 1970, the median age for marriage was 23 for men and 21 for women. Today it's 28 and 26. "It used to be that people felt they'd somehow missed out if they didn't have a spouse by the time they graduated college," says David Popenoe, Ph.D., founder and codirector of the National Marriage Project and a professor emeritus of sociology at Rutgers University. "Today, people feel they need to establish themselves economically first." The postponement of "I do" means most men will be single in their 20s, a trend that populates the bar scene and empties the church aisles.
Your question may be answered right there and then. Normally this doesn't happen on your first try though so don't get discouraged. Wouldn't it be great if you didn't even have to ask where to meet older women, because that older woman may be wondering where to meet you! (In fact, while I was looking around online I found a lot more sites where the women are actually looking for younger men.)
What Real Men Say: "Salsa dancing is part of my culture," says Javier, 26. "So when my sister's friend opened a dance studio in our neighborhood I came for the grand opening and complimentary salsa class -- and had so much fun that I ended up buying a class package. As one of the only men in the class, I had my pick of partners which was nice, and made a lot of friends during my time there. Around my fifth or sixth class we all planned on meeting up at a salsa club after class to try out what we had learned, and I saw my current girlfriend Ramona there with her group of friends -- one of which knew one of the class members I was out with. She introduced us, and we danced together until 2 a.m. when the club closed down. We've been together ever since."
The beauty of forging weak ties is that while others hunt, you gather. To be successful, you need to continually meet new people outside your existing circles in order to find quantity and diversity in new links. All connections have potential. For example, you may have written off the guy with a wife or live-in girlfriend, but he's the money ball. According to a 2003 study in Social Networks, dating couples share 20 percent to 25 percent of their friends, but that percentage increases to 50 when they start living together. The result: His network is likely to be populated with more women after he moves in with her.
If you’re not sure where to start, we recommend sites like VolunteerMatch.org and GreatNonprofits.org. They’re kind of like dating sites — you put in your location and interests, among other identifiers, and the site will find the right organization for your needs. You can also read reviews from your peers to get an idea of the kind of work you’ll be doing and the people you’ll be interacting with.
Nobody will vouch for you more than a friend. And if that friend happens to be female, her word will carry more value. Why? Because women trust other women more than a man whose mission is likely transparent. Apart from meeting online, research has shown meeting through friends is the most popular method of connecting with a potential partner. Being “set up” should occur in naturally social environments, like a barbecue or dinner party. Or perhaps you settle on a double date, where you can sit back and play coy while your friend sings your praises. In these instances the matchmaker will probably facilitate conversation throughout, expressing mutual interests and similar sentiments to assist you two in hitting it off. Remember: she’s your biggest cheerleader!
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Granted, this is not an option for everybody looking for places where to meet single women. But if art is your passion, then this one is the jackpot for you. Keep an eye out for new art gallery openings or showcases. As for museums, a little research is all you need to get an entry to a session kept aside for patrons where you are served free snacks and wine.
As a general rule, women are more approachable and less suspicious when they meet guys through the course of a regular day and in an atmosphere when they feel at ease, as opposed to when a guy introduces himself in a more typical setting (bars or clubs, for example). For a lot of women, anything with a meat-market vibe is not ideal for meetin men, and if you go through this list motivated only by a slavering desire for sex, women will detect that insincerity, and you'll fool exactly nobody. Don't look at these as pickup strategies; just think of them as generally positive habits that happen to have an added benefit.