Let your friends know that you’re open to meeting people—if you don’t, many will assume you’re happily single—but don’t ask them to set you up on completely blind dates. “Ask for a phone number or an email address so you can make the plans and feel her out a bit,” Van Kirk says. “You want to be sure that going on a blind date is worth both of your time.”
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.
It's a surprisingly detrimental decision. A 2008 study in Social Indicators Research reveals that unhappy people watch 30 percent more TV every day than very happy people. "It's possible that TV causes people to be unhappy because it pushes aside time for activities with long-term benefits," says study author John Robinson, Ph.D., a professor of sociology at the University of Maryland and director of the Americans' Use of Time Project. "Or TV viewing is an outlet for people who are already unhappy."
Meeting someone through a friend just makes sense, especially if you’re looking for something beyond a one-night stand, says sex therapist and relationship expert Kat Van Kirk, author of The Married Sex Solution. “A friend-of-a-friend will have more in common with you than someone off the street,” Van Kirk explains. “Occasionally, crazy chemistry happens between two people who have nothing in common…but usually not. You probably want to look for someone similar to yourself.” Van Kirk also points out that women—understandably—tend to be more safety-conscious when it comes to dating, and having a mutual friend who can vouch for you will go a long way.
But the situation doesn't have to be that bleak. In fact, there's no better time to be single than during economic uncertainty. A recent eHarmony survey found that one in four single women say that financial stress has increased their interest in a relationship. Compare that with the 61 percent of men who say money worries are causing stress in their love lives. Look at it this way: More women are on the market, and they're primed to connect. But men are looking to meet them over $12 martinis—and are going home alone and broke. There's an opening here for you: Think patterns, not people. Forget the pickup lines and rely on the new rules of attraction. We can help you with the odds.
Know when to end the conversation. Going on for too long can make you seem desperate or even scheming. When this woman is someone you'd really like to see again, say something like, "You know, I would love to hear more but I have to get back to work now. Tell me all about it over salsa dancing on Tuesday." Always leave the conversation to be continued. Do not exhaust the conversation as things can turn awkward and she may lose interest.