This is a tricky topic for me as I’m clearly no expert (having been with the same partner for over 20 years) and when I was dating there was no internet!! BUT I am an expert at human relationships, managing self esteem, being assertive, positive thinking and most other healthy mental exercises required to put yourself out there in the dating world. I would really value your comments so please add your pearls of wisdom and experience.
Firstly you have to meet someone, and I go on a lot about the importance of knowing and being able to express your VALUES – and when meeting new people you are much more likely to have a positive experience with an element of shared values, so looking in areas that you are more likely to find those shared values is a good place to start. If you do prefer the online route to view and read about a person before you actually meet them, there are a number of internet dating sites that profess to be attuned to ethical or environmental people – here are a few to get you going.
Some sensible guidelines when meeting people you don’t know for the first time: (talking for hours on the phone or texting still isn’t ‘knowing’ someone x)
- Meet in a public place
- Let someone you trust know where you are and agree if you will text them or they will call you to check in
- Make sure your phone is fully charged and you have credit to make calls
- Make sure you have enough cash for a taxi or whatever you may need if you choose to leave
- If meeting up in a large group, discuss the plan and make it clear you may leave if the group decision isn’t something you want to join in with
- Of course you want to look your best, but remember that you also want to be a bit comfortable and be able to relax a little!
If the online thing isn’t for you, there are a number of group dating businesses that host dinner parties, days out or theatre trips where people meet in smaller groups with a shared interest. You could arrange this yourself by spending time doing the things you really enjoy and meeting people socially perhaps via volunteering? There are also holiday companies for single people and organisations like Gingerbread – who specialise in supporting single parents with finding a new partner, or just socialising at all.
Essentially, unless you fall in love with the person who delivers your post – you will need to go out and meet people to find one of them that makes your tummy go gooey.
The hardest part of the whole process is finding out if you make them feel that way too.
It may be that you need to actively put yourself in places where you are more likely to meet like minded people – but still being an honest and authentic person you will need to have think about a creative way to do that. For example, if you love Italy, have been there many times and love the food and culture then maybe taking an Italian evening class would be a good idea? You will learn a useful skill for yourself and are likely to meet people that also love Italy – some of whom may be single… You could also look in people’s shopping baskets for ‘dinner for one’ type deals and stalk them, but that doesn’t seem as healthy…
We’ve created this infographic to give you some starters with the dating world, making sure that you remain open and honest – while also keeping yourself safe and sound.
Once you have agreed to meet up with someone you then have to remember your frugal values and goals. Make sure you are clear from the outset about whether you are going to ‘go Dutch’ or buy your own tickets to the cinema etc. It’s nice to be treated, but you may also want to have enough money with you that you can pay your half or the whole amount should you or they run out!
If you are on a strict budget it’s much easier to be up front about that, and offer ideas that you are happy with. Some frugal suggestions could be:
- a picnic and walk
- visit to a museum or gallery (especially if they are free)
- using a Groupon or other voucher for a meal or experience
- Just having a drink rather than a meal – meeting at different times may help
- finding a free local event like a fair or outdoor cinema
- borrow a new outfit rather than buy one
- use memberships you already have – a trip to the gym, a National Trust visit, a discount code or just a free drink in Waitrose!
Dating should be fun and if you do meet someone you want to see more of, that’s a very exciting time. If you are genuinely happy on your own that’s fine too. There is not just one perfect person for you, there are lots of people you could be happy with – the most important part of the whole process is that you have to be happy with yourself (mostly) first. If we don’t believe ourselves to be essential nice and loveable we will be inherently suspicious of people that profess to love us – because they must have something wrong with them! I have a video going up tomorrow all about this and will link to it from here as soon as it goes live x
Wishing you happy times ahead.