As I shared in my first two blogs, I am reinventing myself after 26 years of being married, which I am finding to be fun and really not that scary. Once upon a time the ways to meet people were limited, but in this world of social media and technology, they are abundant. Before delving into “on-line dating” I thought I’d try something that required a bit less commitment and one avenue is Meetup.com. If you are not familiar with Meetup, it is one of the best sites to find people with similar tastes and join in a non-threatening environment. Whether it’s a hobby, sport, business focus or direction, spiritual quest or in this case, meeting others to socialize with and date, I recommend you check it out.
So far I’ve joined several Meetup groups, and that’s the first step. Find ones that focus on what you are looking for, and then you will get notified about all upcoming events. You can check out past events, see the current list of members, and dip your toe in the water very easily. And you don’t need to travel very far. You can isolate the meet up groups by distance, so unless you really WANT to go to LA or find a group that is so awesome it justifies it, you can stay as close to home as you wish.
I’ve joined a cooking group and one for hiking as well since I want to get more into both now that I will be living my life more for me than for the “us” that was.
One of the dating sites that caught my attention involved “Speed Dating,” something that always intrigued me. The premise is you meet a small number of people to possibly date and in just a few minutes—six in this case—you interview each other to see if there is a connection. It’s not a lot of time to waste, but it is enough time to know if you’d like to chat or meet again. I found it non-threatening and the group was cloistered by age, so for women, they knew the range of men they’d be meeting, likewise for the men. Over a period of about one hour I met 12 people and liked three of them, which is pretty good based on efficient time, cost and random encounters. You keep a cheat sheet handy and write down what you need to recall later, and then you hand in your “report card.” If you like THEM and they like YOU, then the promoter, Pre-dating.com, sends you an e-mail with their info. If they like YOU and you don’t like THEM, they will likewise send you their information to do as you please.
I interviewed Angie, the OC Event Coordinator who has been with the company for about 18 months. She was outgoing and organized and kept everyone flowing with a miniature cowbell that rang after six minutes. I asked her what negative feedback she has gotten over the years and she shared, “I would say, sometimes when there are too many people, they feel a bit overwhelmed talking to everyone, which is why we limit it, and also, sometimes if someone doesn't get a match, they tend to be a bit negative, which is totally beyond my control.”
On the positive side, many relationships and marriages have developed, so that success peaks for itself.
Of the 12 I spoke with and interviewed just two had done this before and the rest were first-timers, like me. One of the two had done it many times over the years and still enjoyed it, while the other was a bit more focused on the outcome and this was just the second time.
So if you are entering the dating world after an absence of however many years, I suggest you not “think about it” too long and just follow the Nike credo and “Just do it.”
Have you had positive or negative success with on-line dating?? Share your stories for one of the next installments. Please share your questions, thoughts and feelings. This column is more about you than about me.