Tall men. Short men. Fit men. Fat men. Smart men and not-so smart men. Smooth, awkward, shy, outgoing and so many other different kinds of men. Meeting men is something women do every day, whether it’s some guy at the gas station, a new co-worker, our child’s teacher, and so on. So why is it so hard to find the right man for you? How can a woman meet a man she is interested in? A man that is available? A man that may also be interested in her?
The answer is… it depends. It depends on who you are and what your life is like; do you live in a small town or a huge city? Are you in college or are you a single mom? Or maybe you’re a grandma? How many of you just cringed at that part? Well, vile as the thought may be to you twenty-or-thirty somethings, even older women get that itch. And even older women want to be loved.
Let’s take a look-see at different ways to meet men. There should be something here for everyone.
We all have that friend who seems to have so many men she has trouble remembering their names. We secretly loathe this friend for the ease with which she does this while simultaneously accepting gigs as her wingman in the hopes that the other wingman may be of interest. Does it ever work? Sure. I bet there is even a couple out there whose love story began on just such an occasion. But don’t count on it. Instead, treat it as an opportunity for a night out. Maybe you two will hit it off. Maybe not. Still, even a boring wingman has friends. One of those friends may be someone of interest to you. So keep an open mind. Get to know that wingman and find something to enjoy about the evening. Try to ignore your friend making out with her date and focus on your counterpart. You never know where it could go!
It was going to have to be discussed some time, so I brought it up early: The Blind Date. To be truthful I’m not so sure the traditional blind date even exists anymore.
Who today ever ventures out on a date without googling the $*^ out of one another?
But the evolved concept does live on, generationally altered from its ancestor. There are two versions of a blind date today: the old-fashioned set-up from friends or family, and the online dating first date.
The old-fashioned setup carries a bit more risk than an online selection; If the candidate not only has your friend’s endorsement but also passes the google test, you will have high expectations. It is easy to then feel he does not live up to those expectations n- He’s not as tall/thin/fit/friendly/ as he was made out to be. Or maybe his breath smells like kitty litter, or his laugh makes you seriously consider fleeing the scene. While all of these may also apply to a self-selected online dating candidate, in the blind-date scenario you may feel the pressure of your friend’s expectations. If this man is a close friend/cousin/co-worker of your friend, you may want to consider a pre-date chat with your friend, making it clear you are not going to be in the doghouse if you opt out of a second date. On the flip side, you may also have to bear in mind the very faint possibility that he may not be into you, and remind yourself not to stalk your friend for updates, or hold her responsible for his disinterest.
Yes, I know the cool term for this is now “organic.” But I seriously detest that – you’re not buying fruit or avoiding pesticides. You’re looking for a man. And sometimes that dude you meet at a party, or in a bar, or at a traffic light does turn out to be a person of interest. The catch is, if one or both of you does not recognize this, the opportunity vanishes. Hindsight can hurt. Especially when it bears the angst of missed opportunity. I still remember two specific times I was approached by strapping young bucks while out and about on my daily life. And I still wish I’d not run from them, even if just to have not lived with that regret.
The world is an arena, and you are a gladiator. Slay those fears before they slay your spirit. Rejection is not the worst thing that could happen to you. If you flirt with the guy who’s sparked your interest and he dismisses you, let that experience empower you rather than defeat you. Flirt with no expectations other than the curiosity to gauge his reaction. Learn from it – were you projecting desperation or confidence? Did you give a sly smile, or were you staring longingly at him, so he could see you envisioning him meeting your parents or your kids? Because those, dear Reader, or two different animals. One is a tiger, the other a parasite. Be the tiger. (Not a cougar!) Let your energy be your roar. And the men will come to you.
Far from the stigma the online dating scene used to bear, now it is hot! My first venture online lead to a serious relationship that was also seriously unhealthy. Because I did not make smart decisions, or listen to my instincts, or accept the advice of friends, I found myself overwhelmed with the response I got when I posted my profile. I’d been so sure my status (36 year-old, widowed mother of four boys) would be such a turn-off I’d have plenty of time to survey my scene that I was completely unprepared for the onslaught of men.
This was new to me. I’d never been a sought-after kind of girl. Instead, I’d been an awkward, shy, wallflower until my husband lit up my life. So the dating scene was totally new. The men came so fast and in such numbers I had to print out their profiles and take notes to track who was who. This is where I made a big mistake.
There was one guy – Max I think- who was funny and cute but clearly not someone with long-term potential. So while I enjoyed chatting with him I didn’t want to waste the ink printing his profile. Instead, I would pull it up online when browsing or before I’d contact him – unaware that he could see each time I did so, and misinterpreted those views for stalker behavior. Oops. I learned from that mistake. Now you can too.
It takes a hefty dose of confidence to navigate online dating.
To learn to accept rejection and to gracefully reject. About 3 weeks and 2 or 3 dates into one man, I told him I’d met someone else. His wrath was immediate and his words hurt. I was not prepared for that. It so turned me off from the whole scene that the successful candidate’s work was made much easier for him. Against the advice of friends and family I allowed myself to be swept up by him, and while there was an initial wave of happiness, that was but a precursor to the tsunami of destruction he crushed me and my boys with. We barely made it out of that one and I surprised even myself with my decision to try again.
My second foray online was conducted much differently. This time I was the one with confidence. This time I made mistakes but did so with eyes wide open and a smile on my face, because those mistakes were fun. I did not allow anyone to make me feel bad when I told them I did not feel a connection, and I did not take being rejected to heart – much.
I assembled a committee of advisors and provided them full reports, accepting their advice and having a blast. And it worked. I found the man who helps my own light shine brighter, who fires me up and cracks me up. And you can too.
Last but not least, we have the hybrid method. What’s this, you ask? It is precisely what it sounds like – when one or more methods combine to produce a man. For instance, I met my husband naturally, in a bar. And yet the reason I went to that bar was a blind date. Sort of. My sister planned to introduce me to one guy, who arrived at the bar with his gorgeous girlfriend on his arm. But then his friend showed up and my life changed. This can also occur in the wingman method, as mentioned above. Or really any of the methods if you allow yourself to pay attention, slay your fears, and acknowledge rejection and heartache as empowering opportunities rather than defeat.
It is up to you to take charge of finding the one for you. Take it seriously but not too seriously. Build your own strength and your own happiness, and invite him in, rather than waiting for a man to build it for you. Learn from my mistakes I shared above, and learn from your own mistakes. And if your mistake is of minor impact but of major fun – go ahead and make it again;)
Barb Allen Is A Gold Star Wife, Author & National Speaker. She's a professional veterans advocate who understands the personal and factual struggles of turning adversity into advantage. But this lesson did not come easily and this upper hand must be diligently maintained. Now, Barbara brings her life lessons to her audiences in keynote speeches and custom programs. She relates to her audiences’ lives and challenges, and teaches them how to become gladiators in their own life’s arena.