Meeting people offline
Dating can be daunting, confusing, funny, silly, anguishing, joyous, and sometimes feel like a waste of time. It can be hard to actually get out on a date when you spend your precious free moments surfing the many online apps available to us. They promise to help us find “The One” with their fancy algorithms, matching software, and huge online database. Most of the time, these blind dates just end up going nowhere. So what’s next?
Let’s talk about what a Solo Mom is looking for when it comes to dating. There will be a lot of small things that will differ, but most likely, we would like to meet someone who is a good person, is respectful, will be a potentially good step-parent for our child, and has interests similar to ours.
Stepping out into the dating arena can be scary for a Solo Mom. I’m going to offer you a few options for meeting new people outside the dating apps and get you smiling and laughing while you do it. Remember, there is no timeline when it comes to meeting the right person. You probably have a lot on your plate, so just take it day by day, one step at a time.
Cooking and tasting events/classes
Who likes wine, cocktails, or food? Pretty much everyone, I think, likes one or all. A fun and hands-on way to meet someone is at a cooking class, wine-tasting event, or cocktail-making course. Each is a perfect setting in which to learn a new skill, meet someone with the same tastes as you, and have a laugh over your new meal or drinks. It will help loosen you up, and keeping your hands busy will get you talking. It’s pretty hard to not get noticed when you have tomato sauce on your cheek after making a delicious lasagna. Nonetheless, you will come away feeling relaxed, having learned a few new recipes and tried new wines or cocktails, and hopefully you’ll have given your number out to a few potential dates.
Local sports clubs
Food and wine not your thing? No problem. If you’re athletic, joining a local runners or hiking club may be of interest. What about group sports? There are many adult leagues during the year that offer a variety of sports ranging from dodgeball to baseball to soccer, and more. Coed and same-sex teams abound. I always think it’s great to have an instant conversation starter when you have something in common, and you will have plenty of time to get to know your teammates or running and hiking partners during your activity. Plus, what better way to see someone’s personality and leadership and communication skills than in a group setting while working with others toward a common goal? Look for a local runners club at Road Runners Club of America. Check out your local community center for group sports teams. Hiking clubs usually are grouped by area. Active Adventures has a great website with local trips as well as trips abroad for the more adventurous.
If you are a traditionalist and would like to meet someone through a setup, a matchmaking service may be for you. Forget the online apps. They can’t really get to know you the way a professional matchmaker can. Some of the services are free for women, so do your research before you call. There can be a hefty price tag for love. You will get personalized service with someone who might find you a perfect match. You may have to kiss a few frogs along the way, but these matchmaking services have stood the test of time.
For a fun and frenzied dating night, try speed dating. It will get you several “mini dates” in a few hours. You may need to keep track on paper of everyone’s names and info before you go ahead and possibly choose someone to see again. If you both pick each other, you get to head out on a full date. Worst-case scenario, you have a few stories to share with your friends over dinner. A few speed-dating tips: Avoid talking about work. Unless you have a really unique job, it is not going to make you stand out in the crowd. You’ve got four minutes to make a first impression, so make them count. Dress to impress, have fun, laugh, and just remember to be yourself.
Busy working all the time when you are not with your child? Networking events are a perfect place to meld work and dating. No matter your industry, there are always after-work events where you can score a new client or potential job, as well as meet other singles in your field. This could end up being a win-win situation. Dress in business casual, and make sure to take your business cards with you. You won’t want to be without them.
If you don’t have time for extracurricular activities but are spending a lot of time at your child’s school, look no further. There are plenty of single parents with school-aged children, and they are doing the same as you. Join the PTA, or help out on school projects with other parents. Get more involved in your child’s class, after-school activities, sports, or music classes. Reach out to other parents for after-school play and weekend get-togethers. Doing so offers extra bonding time with your child, and it may score you a great date.
Friends and family
Of course, the “setup” is always a potential option when looking to date. It may seem corny to ask your friends and family if they know anyone who is single and available, but they should have your best interests at heart. Friends and family know you well, and they also know your lifestyle and routines. They likely wouldn’t set you up with someone who is a bad match or unavailable. Of course they can’t account for chemistry—that is the wild card—but be open-minded and take the chance. You have nothing to lose except a few hours of your time.
Rebecca Cherry is an accomplished musician, writer, and creative seeker. She is enjoying her new role as a Solo Mom to her baby girl. You can follow her on Twitter at @CherryRebecca and Facebook at Rebecca Cherry.
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