Our ancestors ‘courted’, always with marriage in mind, and amongst people who were very much like themselves. But nowadays, we ‘date’, just for fun, and with almost anyone. But once you start thinking about getting married, your focus needs to shift towards finding dates who’ll be a good match.
So you should leverage your friends, because they’ll introduce you to like-minded people. You never seem to meet anyone promising? You need more friends. Aim for around a dozen who are close, get closer to the ones you know least, and widen your circle of acquaintances. Because they’re more likely to introduce you to people from outside your existing social circle.
Friends don’t only provide you with promising introductions, they also help you to date better! For example, just being among friends boosts your self-confidence and social skills. Friends help you learn how to talk about your feelings, to be less self-conscious, supportive, and to keep confidences secret.
You should also consciously interact with more of the strangers you meet. Because dating is ultimately a numbers game, and you do actually rub shoulders with lots of people. So if you don’t talk to them, you’re missing a whole lot of opportunities.
Instead, make a point of talking briefly with everyone you meet, especially those you meet through the world of work, because they’ll be like you, and their job already tells you a whole lot about them. Like how successful and hardworking they are.
Improve your conversational skills by talking with your colleagues for a few minutes every day. Meet more people by becoming active in your professional society and institutions such as Rotary. Build solid professional friendships, give talks, and do voluntary work. And check out everyone: clients, suppliers, competitors, people in interesting organisations, and the strangers you meet at parties!
With a little practice it’s fun. Just show genuine interest in everyone you meet, and ask about their work, background, availability (‘…and what does your partner do?’), leisure interests and so on. Work on your introductory words ahead of time, because the right words are never there on the spur of the moment. And focus on putting the people you meet at their ease, because the more outwardly focused you are, the more confident and relaxed you’ll feel.
Everyone loves talking about themselves, so these conversations will go well. But go no further with anyone who doesn’t exactly match your needs. Fortunately, they won’t even have guessed what you were up to!
Have a few coffee dates with the winners, quickly dropping anyone who shows the slightest signs of insecurity, odd personality traits, anger, previous poor relationships or family issues.
Keep building on this purpose-driven small talk on subsequent dates. Start asking all the important questions, and don’t try to sell a more successful version of yourself. Just be you, because if your new partner genuinely likes the real you, you’ll soon start developing a really good relationship together.