I’m a single guy in my mid-twenties, and I would really like to date more. The problem is, I don’t know where to meet interesting, intelligent women. The bars are full of losers, and being set up by friends just doesn’t work. I’m tired of being the only single one in my group of friends. Can you give me some ideas of where to meet people?
Name withheld, Edmonton
Although you may sometimes feel lonely, you should know you are not alone: at any given time, there are plenty of perfectly nice people who are single. Which of course begs the question, “Where the heck are they, then?”. No doubt most are at home right this minute, watching television. The most interesting ones, however, are out living their fascinating lives. The best way to find them is to figure out what interesting people do, and where they do it. Then, you just have to go there and find them. Sounds like a lot of work, but it’s actually fun and inherently worthwhile. But the biggest benefit of going to interesting places and doing interesting things is that you immediately become more interesting yourself — which helps a lot when you meet someone and want to have something to say.
Step one is to define ‘interesting’. Do you want to meet a woman who travels a lot, one who is well-educated, or one who has an exciting job? Would your ideal mate be the outdoorsy type, an athlete, a bookworm, or an artist? Figure out what you’re looking for, and you’ll know where you need to go to find that person.
The key is to get out and experience new and fascinating things whenever you can. (I’ll let you in on a little secret: that’s not only the key to meeting people, but also to having a great life.) Try new things, learn, and get involved in your community. Volunteer for a charity that’s important to you; your time will be spent on a good cause, and you’ll meet lots of other generous people who have similar priorities. There are many great causes (from saving dirt bike trails to rescuing abandoned animals); I guarantee you can find one that interests you.
You can also meet like-minded people by taking a class. It doesn’t have to be an academic course, if that’s not your thing: photography, scuba diving, cooking, wilderness search and rescue, oil painting, foreign languages, computer graphics, home improvement, first aid, guitar or acting classes would all do the trick, too. (Doing AU courses by distance ed does not count — you have to leave your house for this, I’m afraid!) Choose something you’re genuinely interested in, though: that way you’ll have fun and learn something, so it won’t be a waste if you don’t meet someone this time.
What works for you will depend on your own interests and those of the type of person you want to meet. Museums, sky-diving centres, hiking trails, comedy clubs, stock car races, poetry readings, Caribbean cruises, marathons, church activities, protest marches, hostels in Borneo, used bookstores, community theatre groups, classic car shows, open mike nights, Habitat for Humanity projects, independent film festivals, highway cleanups, guest ranches, antique auctions, disco contests, fishing derbies and Star Trek conventions are all possibilities. If you’re an athlete (or would like to be), you could join a running, swimming or tennis club, a rock-climbing class or golf class, or an Ultimate Frisbee or underwater hockey team.
If you happen to be shy, you will probably find that the ‘get-out-there-and-do-something’ approach has some big advantages. For one thing, you’ll be doing things with these people, not just standing around in a bar. Doing things lends itself well to conversation: it gives you something to do while you talk, and it also gives you something to talk about.
If you keep trying new things, you will definitely meet some fascinating people who share your interests. And when they find out about all the diverse experiences you’ve had, they’re sure to think that you are a fun and interesting person, too! Good luck!
E-mail your questions to Heather at email@example.com. Some submissions may be edited for length or to protect confidentiality: your real name and location will never be printed. This column is for entertainment only. Heather is an AU student offering objective advice to her peers; she is not a professional counsellor and this column is not intended to take the place of professional advice.