Dear Lonely Hearts: Do you spend hours at your computer, clicking through pages of single people on online dating sites? Are you exhausted from tweaking your profile, updating your photos and emailing potential matches? Are you sick and tired of feeling rejected when so many of them don’t answer? It may be time for you to break up with online dating and try meeting a mate in the scary, old-fashioned way: face to face. For generations, people met at parties, in church or synagogue, through friends, even—horror of horrors—at work. But then we went online. We began making friends on Facebook and trolling for potential partners on websites like Match.com and eHarmony.
Sometimes it works. You probably know at least one couple who met online. I know half a dozen. But there’s something that’s easy to lose sight of: These happy folks aren’t typical. Most people never meet their soul mate online. “It’s exhausting,” says Kate Wachs, a Chicago psychologist and author of “Relationships for Dummies.” “People burn out really fast.” Before you even get started, you have to create your marketing pitch—get some decent photos, write an engaging profile, sometimes take a personality test. Then you scan hundreds, maybe thousands, of profiles and compose emails to the people you want to meet. If all this doesn’t wear you out, the actual dates will.
How can you meet more people offline? Ask everyone you know for help. Be specific about what you are looking for, though, so you’ll only get introductions to people who might actually be good matches. When you volunteer with your local alumni club, fund-raising event or political campaign, sign up for the job that gives you an excuse to call others. Become the designated photographer at weddings, bar mitzvahs and other events. Shooting video of Uncle Phil’s 90th birthday requires you to wander around and talk to people without being self-conscious. Put down the device. Get your head out of your smartphone, computer or iPad. You won’t seem approachable if no one can see your face. Smile more. Pretend you’re on vacation, which is a time when most people are more relaxed, seem more approachable and talk more to strangers. Travel in business class. People are less grumpy, more chatty. And there are free drinks. Move to a neighborhood or a building that seems to have lots of people you’d like to meet. Borrow a cute puppy and walk it someplace with sidewalk cafés. Or take it to the dog run. But be sure to own up to the fact that it isn’t your dog: You don’t want to get caught in a lie before your first date.
I meet so many people face to face that I never have to go online! That said, it is still tough to find “the one”. Even with high quantity it is still not easy to find great quality.