Over the past few weeks I've seen a number of posts on my various social media feeds about people fed up with dating and frustrated with the idea of meeting someone.
At the risk of being "that guy", it wasn't that long ago that I was in the same boat - and I know how easily I could end up being right back there. (depends on the day :D)
But I still want to share what ended up working for me. Maybe it will be of use to someone. Probably not. But perhaps it will end up starting a conversation in the comments and something good will happen there. Or maybe people will just tell me how really wrong I am. Which is always fun too!
I used the site OKCupid for years. Never really branched out much from there. I know there are a lot more options now, but what I really liked was the matching percentages, and how there was a separate "friend percentage" as well. I took time to answer as many of the matching questions as I could, and kept answering more whenever I had free time... eventually I had answered almost all of them! It wasn't just about setting my own numbers, there were a few of them that actually made me stop and ask "what is ACTUALLY important to me?"
For the most part, I used it as a way to make friends after my divorce. I helped organize "meet ups" of other single people who wanted to get out of their house, meet people (and play some "nerdy board games"). That didn't help me get any dates, because I was busy during the events just making sure everything was running smoothly, and, if I'll be honest, I really wasn't putting myself "out there". But it did put me in a position to form a new friends group that wasn't the married-with-kids completely settled types that I still very much liked, but I couldn't hang out with the same way.
The dating I *did* end up doing did end up being "meet up related", they were never women who showed up to the event - but I was emailing everyone and just telling them about the event, so I was checking out a lot of profiles and sending out a lot of messages. Which eventually led to some conversations that actually *about something*. We were talking about the event, and it went from there. I think the sincerity helped when they realized "Wow, this guy is ACTUALLY emailing to see if I want to go to this event to meet OTHER people" and the conversations could go from there with actually talking to each other rather than the usual awkwardness.
But even then, I didn't fully appreciate the percentages involved. There were two "significant" OKC relationships and they were both with women who I had a 86-90% match with. You would think "that's really good", and while we *did* get along, especially with the lower match, that was just too big of a gap.
The friends that I really hit it off with, were in the high 90s (both in friendship *and* relationship potential). I'm still friends with most of them, even years later.
It was after one of those break ups though - with a woman who was probably one of the kindest people I've met, but we were really not well suited, and we both knew it (one of those "both people don't want to hurt the other ones feelings, until one of them takes the risk and they are both kind of relieved" moments) - that I made the decision "I'm not going to worry about this anymore!" I was just going to take the time *for me*, and concentrate on who I wanted to be.
But I found that I kept looking over at the site. Even though I told myself I wouldn't.
After a few months off-and-on of that, I finally decided "I'm going to inactivate my profile". But, of course, I wanted to look one last time
- one of those "well, if I *were* looking right now, who would be out there?"
and there was someone with a 99% match. (I believe 97% friend match, but it could have been a point in either direction)
I'd never seen a profile match THAT high before. The closest had been 96% and those had become really good friends of mine.
Well, it wouldn't hurt to look at the profile right? Maybe check out a picture and see...
I read her words and it was like someone was reaching into my chest and holding onto my heart. I saw the picture... and yeah, I would have followed that woman anywhere.
She wasn't really looking for anyone either, having just got out of a serious relationship. She was finding her feet again and wanted to take things slowly with any potential relationships - but was setting up her profile to start having those conversations.
There's an "Message Me If" section, where you can put potential conversation starters. Hers was about one of her favorite bands and really asked for an emotional response. Which is exactly how I reacted to their music as well... so I just answered that question and sent it out to the universe, thinking I would never hear back from her. (Because I'm me and that's how I think...)
She responded by the time I woke up the next morning. (at the time it felt like several days, but when I went back to check the *actual* amount of time, it was a few hours)
We've talked every single day since then. (and yes, I did abandon everything I had previously known and followed her to a town I previously wouldn't have been able to locate on a map.)
I'm not entirely sure where I was going with that. :) Other than to say that if you are out there looking for someone, go with a place with a Match system and answer as many questions as you possibly can, as honestly as you can.
More importantly though, and this is easier said than done - don't go out "to meet someone". That way leads to madness. At least it did with me. I've seen quite a few people just end up circling the drain because of that cycle. If you *can* get out and make new friends, definitely do that. Concentrate on being just being the best "you" that you can be. Concentrate on finding ways to make yourself happy.
Don't disregard that urge to "look one last time" though. Because (well, at least for monogamous relationships - other mileage may vary) you really only need it to work that one time. :)
Something that works every single time is our topic thread: http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/958277.html
If you are a current contestant, go there and link your entry. You still have a couple days, but let's not wait until last minute. It would be embarrassing to miss when there is probably the most time EVER given for a single entry. (*that's* something you don't want on your dating profile!) (Granted, I've seen at least one good reason for someone to miss, and I'm sorry for her loss. The rest of you get extra kicks!)
The Work Room is still open for those struggling: http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/958506.html
Take advantage of the room, and of the Mentor. Don't let the topic intimidate you and get into your head. There are *so many* ways to go with it, you just can't play *its game*, you need to play *yours*.
You've got this.