On Dating and Meeting New People: Stop Traveling in Packs

For a lot of people the thought of going out alone is very uncomfortable. This is particularly so for many women because of feeling like a target or a possible victim. I understand this but it is much harder to connect with someone new if you’re traveling with a pack of close friends or co-workers. Choosing safe, well-lighted public places with lots of people around helps. If you do bring a friend make sure he or she understands that you’re interested in meeting interesting people if the opportunity presents itself. The way to handle this is to not spend the time talking about subjects you’re both intimately familiar with like shared family or friends, gossip, work, etc. Even if someone is interested in joining you, these topics form a gateway that blocks a newcomer from participating in the conversation.

Good topics include things like newsworthy events, community stories, interests like movies and music, discussions about the restaurant you may be in, etc. These topics all have easy entry points where strangers can share knowledge or opinion without feeling they are intruding on a private conversation. If you’re not comfortable with a stranger intruding on your conversation you can always go back to your personal subjects, signaling that you are not interested.
Don’t go out with groups of three or more if you really want to meet new people- it forms an impenetrable barrier and, even if you do meet someone, there are all kinds of social judgments and dynamics going on that can prevent any kind of meaningful connection.

Tips on going out by yourself:

  • Don’t go to any places with television sets. TVs in nitespots and restaurant bars are there to keep lone eagles comfortable. There is always a lot more interaction in places without these distractions. The exception is if you are a big sportsfan- your sports interest is common ground for conversation with strangers while watching a game.
  • If you have friends who work in the business (restaturant/nightlife), let them know you’re coming in on your own. They can have co-workers keep an eye on you.
  • If you’re leaving by yourself and you’re not sure you trust someone you’ve met, always ask the staff to walk you to your car.
  • It’s actually better to ask for the other person’s contact information without volunteering yours, at this stage (more about this later). The ball is in your court and you can choose not to respond.
  • The first times you go out alone, arrange for a friend to meet you an hour or so after you get there. This gives you a chance to try going solo and a means of ending an unwanted conversation. If you’re having an enjoyable one just introduce your friend and include both people in the conversation.
  • Consider doing a Meetup event for singles. You’re in a group but you’re not a group and there is some kind of shared interest to help break the ice.

And remember, the goal is an interesting conversation, interesting enough that you’d like to continue it. That’s all. It’s enough.

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