New Ways To Meet Your Match
Unusual (But Effective) Methods To Find A Mate

by Kimberly Dawn Neumann
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Feel like you’ve exhausted the usual venues for finding a date? Try these more unusual methods and you may be rolling in romance in no time!

So you think you’ve tried absolutely everything to meet that special someone, huh? Well, guess what… you actually might have missed a chance to play connect-the-dates and not even know it! Seems the exact skills you use to network your way to a new job or find a killer apartment can also be directly applied to your love life. So, if you can learn to think outside the who-can-set-me-up box, the reward might be an entirely new circle of interesting prospects. Read on for some expert tips to enhance your connect-ability.

Work your family reunions
When it comes to family and matters of the heart, most people tend to think nuclear—as in, they hit up brothers, sisters and parents for dateable prospects. But open your search to the rest of your relatives, and you might strike a set-me-up goldmine. “We really forget
Let all relatives—not just your immediate family—know you’re looking.
about our extended families, but you don’t want to overlook them,” says Susan Roane, author of the audio-book The Secrets of Savvy Networking. “For example, I fixed up my college roommate with my cousin’s cousin at a wedding, and they were married eleven months later!”

In other words, don’t shy away from the “Why aren’t you married yet?” question at your next extended family gathering. Instead, say, “Because you haven’t introduced me to my future intended!” By doing so, you could jog the memory of family members who might not ordinarily think to set you up, but suddenly recall their cute, single next-door neighbor when you mention your still-looking status. It’s especially smart to take advantage of this tactic during the holidays when surrounded by relatives you don’t see that often… you never know who they might know!

Play office politics
Yes, office romances can be sticky, but there’s nothing that says you can’t use your work environment to your social advantage! A good way to do this? Try exploring extracurricular office activities. “What you want to do is all the stuff that doesn’t seem totally work-related,” says Ronna Lichtenberg, author of Pitch Like A Girl. “I find that big companies all have sporting teams of some kind, and it’s just a great way to meet people!” And you don’t even have to play; you can work the stands. “Whatever it is, go and cheer them on because the players will have buddies or significant others there as well who also know people,” says Lichtenberg. Affinity groups are another place to look. “Most companies have groups for women, ethnicities, GLBT, and more, and those groups do a lot of stuff together,” says Lichtenberg. “These are good people to use as your ambassadors because you already have something in common.”

How can you let your status be known to your colleagues and their pals without looking desperate? “Flattery is always your friend,” says Lichtenberg. “At a sporting or social event, things are quasi-social so you can say something to a person’s significant other like, ‘I’d love to find someone who makes me as happy as you obviously make your spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend.’” Put it out there in a way that makes them feel good about their relationship, and they’ll want to help you find one, too. Now, who said business and pleasure can’t mix?

Hit up “taken” types you like
You know this scenario: You meet a really fun new person and think, Wow, this has potential until your crush mentions his or her significant other. Another opportunity down the drain right? Actually, maybe not! Remember, like-minded people tend to cluster. So, if you enjoy this person, you might like his/her friends too. “It’s perfectly OK in that situation to exchange cards with the person and then say, ‘Hey, you seem really great—do you have any single friends like you I could meet?’” says David Wygant, dating coach and founder of Another trick? Ask about siblings. “You can easily say, ‘Wow, if you have any brothers (or sisters) like you, please let me know,’” says Roane. It’s a compliment while also clearly stating you’d actually be open to meeting someone similar. This person may be taken but you never know who has a twin or at the very least a seriously adorable best friend.

Try ditching your wingman (or wingwoman)
When was the last time you tried flying solo? It takes guts to party without an entourage, but the rewards can be plentiful. That doesn’t mean you have to show up by yourself, however. The trick is to take scheduled breaks from your friends and see who you can meet in the interim. “The reason people are afraid to split from friends is they don’t want to insult them and they don’t want to be left alone in an awkward situation,” says Laurie Puhn, author of Instant Persuasion. But, if you never part, you’ll never chat with anyone different either. The solution? “Say, ‘You know I love hanging out with you but this is a great opportunity to meet new people—how about if we both do that for 15 minutes and then check back in?’” suggests Puhn. By giving yourselves a finite limit for your separation, you can feel more at ease. And when it’s time to reconvene, you can always bring any new friends you make back with you.

Another thing to remember is that if you’ve been invited to a party, you’re never really alone because you know the host. “Many of us skip parties when we can’t find a friend to go with us, but why miss the fun because other people have plans?” says Puhn. “Just alert the host in advance you may be arriving unescorted. Then when you arrive, seek him/her out and ask to be introduced to people.” Tell yourself that if you still feel awkward in 20 minutes, you have permission to leave. Chances are you’ll be fine and probably enjoying yourself by that time.

Get the service industry working for you
If you always frequent the same bar or drycleaners and the folks there call you by name, they probably do the same with other patrons—and could introduce you to one of them. “Don’t forget the barista at your favorite coffee house, your hair stylist, etc. as they have other customers who are single or have single friends and offspring,” says Roane. The gym is another place to really capitalize on this technique. “It’s the job of the gym staff to
Friends of friends are a natural extension of your network.
know the members so we usually know who’s single and who’s not,” says Chris Winn, Membership Advisor, Equinox Fitness Club/Columbus Circle. “This makes it easy for you to ask about some hottie you’ve been eyeing before you make an approach.”

Reach out to friends of friends
Your friends may not know anyone to set you up with, but that doesn’t mean your friend’s friends don’t know your perfect match. So when you meet someone of the same sex at a party and feel a connection with them, go ahead and ask away! “If you’re both single say something like, “I enjoy talking to you and I think you’d like some of my friends… we should connect again. What do you think?’” says Puhn. “It’s totally cool to communicate directly, get an email address or phone number and invite him/her out with you sometime and also suggest reciprocation.” Friends of friends are a natural extension of your network. And you never know whom this person might work with or know from college that might be a perfect match for you.

Another great way to mingle circles is to host a party that’s B.Y.O.F. (Bring Your Own Friend), where everyone has to bring a single pal as an entrance requirement. Or try a friend exchange. “Pick someone of the opposite sex you’re friendly with and suggest a Friday night to bring both of your groups of friends together,” suggests Wygant. “In the process of mixing, you might end up doing some matching.”

Wear your single status on your sleeve
Instead of being afraid to admit you’re single, wear it like a badge of honor. Why? “If people don’t know you’re looking, they won’t feel comfortable offering a fix-up,” says Roane. “Single people, most of the time, just need to get out of their own way,” agrees Wygant. “Announce to everyone — and I mean everyone — that you’re single because you never know who will have the perfect person to hook you up with.” In other words, if you’re single be proud and say it out loud. Someone with a setup might be listening.

Kimberly Dawn Neumann is a New York City-based freelance writer whose work has appeared in such publications as Cosmopolitan, Redbook, Marie Claire and frequently for Happen. She is single… and looking.
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