How do you move on from a very serious relationship while working a job in hospitality? I spend most evenings at work in a high-stress environment while sleeping through a portion of my days. It's been over a year since I've had a real date, much less wanted one. I'm still young but shy. How would you recommend I take the steps to meet new people and hopefully connect?
He Said: First off, let's assume you are ready to date and are lobbying to get a couple of evenings free every week, preferably on weekends, when the best dates are likely to occur. If not, you have to ask yourself whether maybe you don't mind being single right now while you are so focused on work. Dating is a numbers game, so you really need to set aside the time both to date and to shamelessly recruit. Many labor under the illusion that you'll simply stumble across a partner—on the bus, at the gym, at a dinner party. That this Hollywood idyll does happen occasionally only adds the illusion. In reality, the rule of thumb is that you will need 100 dates to find the few who light your fire (albeit, this is as a gay man, for whom dating is quite, ahem, informal). So even if you are able to average one date per week—a huge jump from zero!—it could take up to two years to find a match, depending on how picky you are. A long time, to be sure, but think of all the adventures you will have in the meantime. To put up those kind of numbers, you'll either have to sit on a lot of bar stools (and risk becoming a drunk) or deploy your social media channels effectively. Fortunately, there are a lot of online dating sites, from Match to okCupid, where you can pump up your opportunities. Make sure to use the search function liberally, as it will allow you to zero in on the shared interests and physical characteristics you covet. Good luck!
She Said: I agree. Do what almost everyone else is doing, even those with much easier dating schedules than you. Go to one of the commonly used online dating sites—OkCupid, Match, eHarmony, Lavalife—and set up a profile. (Here’s a pretty decent rundown of your online options.) Though online dating gets a bad rap, a 2009 study at Stanford University showed that 23 percent of heterosexual couples who met in the previous two years did so online, while a whopping 61 of gay couples met that way. If you’re busy and shy, it can’t hurt to get a leg up on who’s out there and pre-select a few people to meet for coffee or a drink. Just don’t let yourself fall into the trap of conducting the entire “relationship” online with weeks and weeks of emails. You want to meet the person relatively quickly, so you can gauge the real-world potential. Secondly, look into local singles groups that focus on activities, such as Events and Adventures or Urban Diversion. These let you meet people without the pressure of a one-on-one date. Lastly, think of something new you’d really love to do: a class you’d like to take, a sport you’d like to learn, a country you’d like to visit. This will accomplish two things: give you something to look forward to other than work and sleep, and put you in new social situations where you’re likely to meet others who share your interests. As for the 100-dates rule above, I fear it may intimidate you, so let me offer a little encouragement. There is no magic number. It depends on luck, timing, and how much you want a relationship. Personally, I’ve never had to go on more than half a dozen dates to find a new mate, and I know many people in the same boat.
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