So now that you know the first step of dating is to get a life, you may be thinking, How can I meet other people who have a life? Great question. Unless you believe that God is going to supernaturally bring someone to your doorstep, then you must take responsibility to place yourself where there are people worth dating. Here are some ideas for expanding your playing field and finding a pool of potential dating prospects.
When you meet someone at church, the chances are much greater that you will share a common spiritual bond. You already know this person either is seeking a relationship with God or has one already. Your views on morality and the sanctity of marriage will more likely be similar. Your circle of friends will also be similar. You will have a built-in support system with ministers and others who should encourage and train you in the process of building healthy relationships. Don’t fall into the trap of church hopping. Many single people are like little bees buzzing from one flower to the next, never landing in a particular church home. If you are always buzzing about, you will never stay long enough in one place to build deep friendships and you will never be a contributor to the work of God. If you are not an active member of a local church, then get busy and find one. And don’t just warm the pew, but start asking other members how you can get involved. When you are plugged in, as you will quickly discover, not only is it a great place to serve others, but it is also a target-rich environment.
According to a recent Fortune 500 survey, the workplace is rapidly becoming a dating hot spot. Where did multimillionaire Bill Gates meet his bride? In the marketing department at Microsoft. People are working longer hours than ever before, so work has become a natural place to meet someone to date. Most companies are taking a laid-back approach to office romances.
One big advantage of meeting someone at work is the possibility that you could have a similar background. Education, socioeconomic status, and life aspirations are just a sampling of common interests you may share with a coworker. The upside of finding love at work is tremendous, but so is the downside. Let’s look at some basic “9-to-5” love rules.
Rule #1: Never date someone you report to or some-one who reports CO you. This rule should be self-evident, but some people still don’t get it.
Rule #2: Consider the outcome if your relationship doesn’t work out. Would you still have to see the person all the time? Could you handle it? If an office romance goes sour, will that force you to find a new job?
Rule #3: Don’t ever pursue a relationship if it is not mutual. Getting slapped with a sexual harassment suit is no laughing matter.
Friends and Family
According to surveys (our own and many others), the vast majority of successful married couples meet their partners by networking through friends and family members. Don’t be afraid to ask your friends if they know of any available guys or gals. Chances are, if your friends connect with them, then you will probably connect with them as well. Be sure to coach your friends as to what you are and are not looking for in a mate. If you don’t want them involved in this process, politely tell them so. Believe it or not, family members can be a big help here. Your family knows you better than anyone—the good, the bad, and the ugly. So when they have a potential candidate for you, don’t roll your eyes and brush them off too quickly. You could be missing out on a great opportunity.
Many moons ago, I thought dating services were only for desperate people with absolutely no social skills. I was wrong. More and more singles are bypassing the often laborious dating scene for these types of services. They offer complete confidentiality and the ability to sort through hundreds of potential dates before you ask one out. Some organizations specialize in setting you up for lunch dates only—a quick, safe way to meet dating prospects (not to mention a lot less expensive).
Before joining such an organization, check it out thoroughly. Some of them are about as trustworthy as used-car salesmen at the end of the month. Many are merely out to take advantage of your fears and prey upon your pocketbook. Others are solid organizations run with class, discretion, and professionalism.
There’s no doubt that the Internet is the fastest-growing place to meet your mate, in spite of the inherent dangers. Since computers are all about speed, this form of connecting seems to share that same cyber-obsession for instant love. The Internet offers hundreds of different online venues to meet members of the opposite sex, from dating services and chat rooms to simple personal ads and high-dollar clubs. This is not the ideal place (the chat-room approach being the worst), and at the very least you run the risk of entering into a virtual relation-ship without the benefits of a real relationship. However, we realize many of you use the Internet anyway. So, if you do explore love online, be sure to obey the following guidelines by America Online:
• Even though you may feel you’ve come to know that “special someone” through online interaction, DO remember that the people you meet online are, in fact, strangers.
• DON’T give out your phone number or address. Guard your personal information.
• DON’T believe everything you read. It’s easy for someone to misguide you via online correspondence. Remember that the people at the other end may not be who they say they are.
• DON’T respond to correspondence that is lewd or crude or in any way makes you uncomfortable.
• If you choose to meet someone offline, use good judgment and common sense: DO meet in a pub-lic place and in a group setting.