It may seem counterintuitive to think a weekend made for lovey-dovey couples is the weekend to go out, but let me tell you a little story that may change your mind.
My life in high school, college and after was pretty much devoid of long term relationships. I met guys, but nothing really stuck. They never seemed to be interested in anything more than a party friend to hang out with. So I started to think that I would never be in a long term relationship, that I would probably never be married.
Fast forward to 1998. I had been living in Cincinnati for about a year and a half and made some friends, but still no boyfriend. My roommate on the other hand, had met several men that she dated, and I was feeling, well let’s just say, ANGRY. I was constantly questioning what she had that I didn’t, etc. etc. I am sure that Valentine’s Day in 1998 she had a date with a boyfriend, and I had a date with my female friend M, to go to, of all things, a wedding. The person getting married was someone we worked with, and we decided to make a whole day of it (M was single too). So we went to the wedding, our singleness on display for all. Afterwards we went back to my apartment and starting drinking beer and had dinner. We met 2 other single friends at a popular dance place called Willie’s. We continued to drink and dance, and generally were having a wonderful time sans dates.
Then, a guy came over to dance with me. We danced most of the night, and kissed on the dance floor. It was like the whole world dropped away and it was only us 2. I had never really experienced anything quite like it. As the house lights came on, we started toward the door, and he asked for my phone number. I happily gave it to him.
I dated that man for almost four years, and then he asked me to marry him. We have been happily married for almost 14 years. And of course Valentine’s Day has an extra special meaning for us as it was the day we met.
He told me that he, too, had not had a lot of long term relationships. That he didn’t figure he would ever get married either. A rather odd thing to have in common but it was something we shared. I think it is part of the reason why that we cherish our partnership – it was something at one time that we thought we would never have.
OK, enough with the mushy stuff, why am I writing this? To tell anyone that is looking for a relationship the following:
1. You can meet potential dates (or more) at a bar. People told me time and again that it wasn’t possible, but it happened to me and others I am sure.
2. You will most likely find someone when you are not looking. I was dancing and carry on with my friends, I had NO, and I mean NONE, thoughts about meeting a potential date there. My three single friends and I were celebrating our singleness, so meeting someone was furthest from my mind.
3. You must leave your abode in order to meet someone. I could have curled up on the couch, wallowing in self-pity about the fact that I did not have a special someone on Valentine’s Day, but my friends and I made it a mission to be happy that day, no matter what the circumstances. Get out of your PJs and do something fun with others!
4. But what if all my friends are couples? Then go out by yourself. Somewhere safe! I used to go out by myself all the time, and sometimes I still do. Take a painting class, do a wine tasting, see a movie, go shopping, anything that puts you in contact with others. Chat up the instructor, the person sitting next to you, all in the name of being social, which brings me to…
5. You have to learn the art of talking to people you don’t know. This is hard. I have to hand it to my friend M, who taught me this valuable skill. It will help you in all sorts of situations, not just finding dates. Going out alone is the perfect opportunity to work on this skill! People are social by nature, and almost always are receptive to a little chit chat.
6. Live your life to the fullest. Don’t put your life on hold until you have a significant other. Join groups, volunteer (which is another way I got to meet a lot of people), go to events, ENJOY! The house cleaning can wait until later, the grocery shopping too.
I am grateful to those three friends that I went out with in 1998 for providing great memories. And I am grateful that I had the experience of being on my own. When my best friend was coupled, I was inspired (OK, maybe it was forced back then) to seek out ways to meet people and stay social. I learned a lot about being self-sufficient and the benefits of being courageous. And each time I successfully went out by myself, my confidence grew. And I think confidence is an extremely attractive quality for someone to possess.
So I encourage you to get out there, explore what the world has to offer, and maybe while you are confidently experiencing life your heart light, shining brightly, will attract the perfect mate, like a moth to a flame.
“There is never a time or place for true love. It happens accidentally, in a heartbeat, in a single flashing, throbbing moment.”
-Sarah Dessen, The Truth About Forever