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Want more dates? Make new friends

Posted by Karyn Polewaczyk  March 5, 2014 12:20 PM

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Today's post features a Q&A with dating coach and author Neely Steinberg, Ed.M. Even if you're not single, I bet you'll find a nugget of truth in her advice (I know I did) for a reader who wants to know how to meet more people—romantically and platonically alike—now that she's in her 30s.

Dear Neely

I'm a 30-something woman—and practically the only single one left of my many married and coupled friends. I feel like it makes dating hard, because I often have no one to go out with. How am I supposed to meet new people (both men to date and potentially new friends) if I'm constantly rolling solo? Approaching strangers without anyone by my side, frankly, feels weird and creepy. And when I do go out with my girlfriends, they often have their boyfriends or husbands in tow, which, I feel like, prevents men (or new friends) from approaching me.

What to do?

Signed,
The Cheese Sulks Alone

Dear Cheese,

I'm going to tell you something you may not want to hear. Because it requires you to actually step outside your comfort zone, which is something a lot of people don't have the stomach for. Here's my groundbreaking advice:

Make. New. Friends.

The founder of Swiss Miss, Tina Roth Eisenberg, once said, "If I find myself complaining over and over about something, I either do something about it or let it go."

You can either let it go and continue to be a victim of unfair circumstances in your dating life, or, instead of complaining about your lack of single friends, you can start finding ways to forge new friendships. Join a local social club, to start, and chat up other members. As you get to talking, let them know you're always looking to meet new people with whom you can go out. If they're single and in their thirties, they too might be looking to befriend like-minded women.

Or branch out on your own. Take a risk and go out one night by yourself to your favorite local pub. Sit at the bar and befriend the bartender; maybe he'll even help you out one day by introducing you to another single patron. It's a lot easier for a guy to come up to you when you're not flanked by friends. Make no apologies for grabbing a drink on your own. Own it. Guys will love that.

And don't forget about the power of your existing network. Tap into them to meet men and new friends alike. Let all your coupled friends know you're ready for love, and ask them to keep their eyes and ears open for eligible guys. Ask one of your friends who enjoys connecting people to sit down with you and brainstorm ways to meet new people. Maybe she's part of a book club group and can spread the word that you're single to the seven women who are in that group. Get creative. Be what I like to call a "blue-sky thinker" in your life, romantically and platonically.

Also, a rhetorical question for you: Why does approaching strangers without someone by your side feel strange? Stop using that as an excuse. Stop using others as your crutch. The only person who can make you feel weird is you. Take a risk next time you're out and start saying hello to more people. Start experimenting with different approaches; see what works and what doesn't work, and go from there.

At the end of the day, you are the CEO, founder, and entrepreneur of your life. When something's not working, you've got to take the reins and experiment with new ideas and directions.

Get to it!

Best,
Neely

Neely Steinberg is a dating coach and founder of LoveTREP, a service geared to help women make the most of their romantic lives. She's been featured as an expert in places like the Huffington Post, Fox 25, Men's Fitness, Cosmopolitan, and Boston magazine, among others. Her first book, Skin In the Game: Unleashing Your Inner Entrepreneur to Find Love, is available for purchase on Amazon. Have a question for Neely? Leave it in the comments below. Answers will be provided in upcoming posts.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About this blog

Karyn Polewaczyk lives and writes in Boston, and believes that heading out into that good night, like any adventure, begins with the first step. Let's Go Out is a conversation about dating and nightlife in our notoriously chilly city, with first-hand tips from the trenches. Karyn's writing, which focuses largely on women's lifestyle topics, has appeared in the Weekly Dig, Jezebel, xoJane, Northshore Magazine and More.com, among others. Follow her on Twitter at @KarynPolewaczyk.

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