All Dressed Up, But No One Approaches Me

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Dear Meredith,

I have been single for a while now.

I had a really traumatic past relationship and breakup, and it took me a long time to heal from it. After going through therapy and just taking time for myself, I felt ready to get back out there. But dating has me feeling kinda down. And I don’t really know what to do. I’ll get dressed up and go out, but men never approach me or flirt with me. And when I approach them they tend to make it clear I’m not the woman they want to talk to. It makes me feel invisible.

I feel like I have more encounters with online dating, but they never lead anywhere. I’ve really been trying to put myself out but it just always feels tedious and complicated. I feel like I can’t really discern who’s a good fit for me anymore. I have met a few guys who seemed like good people in the beginning and then their character changes. Then when it’s time to setup a date or meetup, I’ve been ghosted or I get stood up. And I’m really tired of it. To the point where I feel like if I do meet a who wants to be with me, I’m not going to want to give him the time because of my previous experiences. I just feel so exhausted trying to find someone. What should I do so I don’t have such bitter contempt for men and dating?

– Bitter


Meeting offline is difficult these days. People have been trained to use apps, which means that approaching a stranger in a public place can feel bold and scary. Some might be concerned about interrupting a person’s evening. It’s no longer the standard way to find love.

That leaves the apps, and yes, it’s frustrating, and a lot of people ghost. I wish I had a magic way of dealing with that disappointment. It might help to ask for a FaceTime as a mini-date before you make in-person plans. If someone can’t do that pretty quickly, you’ll know that even a small effort was too big.

I recommend clubs, teams, and activities when people have dating fatigue. Running clubs, volunteer work, movie and book clubs. It’s not that I think people are going to find love there, although that does happen. It’s more that a club – some activity with ongoing responsibilities and events – can broaden your circle and give you multiple opportunities for someone to get to know you.

Clubs offer a natural way to be seen over time. It seems like that’s what you need. Instead of putting all your effort into looking for a partner, spend some time growing your community. If you love an activity, pursue it around others. You’ll find people with similar priorities. After that, good things might happen.

– Meredith

Readers? Are you meeting people offline? If so, how?

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