Friday, August 8, 2014
It's summertime again: Forget about dating, and just make new friends : )
When May arrives each year, if there's no one super-special in my life, I can start feeling lonely and disconnected, wanting someone really fun to date for the all-too-short warm-weather months.
So, at about that time, I start paying attention to my online dating site again. I start taking a look at the available guys, trying to determine which ones aren't quite as old and decrepit as the others, not too deadly dull, and of those, which are not sooo disastrously focused on women much much younger than they.
Heading off the summertime blues
Last year, I wasted the better part of a year going against my own advice -- giving try after try to someone whom I felt was the best of what was available. And, it wasn't a bad summer. Fall not so great. Winter even worse.
He told me, on one of the first dates, that he had zero emotional intelligence. I wasn't sure what that meant, but I came to find out. And I was immediately much happier without him.
When May arrived this year, I, once again, did check in with the dating site, and I did go on a couple of go-see coffee dates. Meh to the 9s. (Or, hell to the no!)
I began to consider my motives. What did I want from this?
Well, shallow as it sounds, I really just wanted to meet someone nice whose eyes sparkled at the sight of me. I wanted to dine outdoors in balmy weather, and get dressed up for someone who would appreciate it. I wanted to laugh, drink some wine, share stories both silly and sad. Go on long walks. See new things together. Stuff like that.
It finally occurred to me: I don't need a man for those things. I need girlfriends!
This is a job for girlfriends
If you've been reading this blog from the early posts, you know that it started as a 40+ single girl's guide to navigating the weekends solo. That's because, post-divorce, all of my girlfriends were happily married or in relationships. They were busy on the weekends, and I would have felt out of place being a third wheel or hanging out with their families.
I had a few things to sort out for myself anyway. So I spent a couple of somewhat lonely summers
getting comfortable with my own company.
But now, it's different. And I need to take the same advice that I give my Dynamic Divorcee coaching clients. It's pretty easy to make new friends and get closer with old ones: We single ladies just have to make the first move, and make it a few times in a row.
Schedule weeknight dinners for some one-on-one time with girlfriends who are married. Saturday night out with a couple of lifelong friends who are now single, too. And sometimes, even a night out with a married couple.
So far, this summer, I've had a lot of fun, and hardly noticed that I'm unattached. (Well, actually, I'm not completely unattached. But there's no one in my life right now who has my undivided attention, and certainly no one in town who is anywhere near as much fun as my friends.)
All it takes is a text or a phone call
A couple of my Dynamic Divorcee clients are a little chagrined that it takes so much effort to engineer these social events. That is, that we are the ones who have to do the calling and occasion-making. But is that so bad? How much effort is that, really?
Much less effort than going on boring coffee dates, and even more boring and disappointing second dates, while feeling like maybe you should really try to make this lackluster thing work. More fun to get dressed up for friends who appreciate it rather than to be looking pretty for a guy who shows up in a t-shirt and shorts.
Yes, for a while, you may have to be the one who calls a certain friend (or someone you would like to have as a friend) over and over. She's not calling you, and you're the one making the effort. But, after a few rounds of this, you can ask: How about you call me next time?
It's good practice to be proactive and go for what you want -- even in friendship.
Give it a try:
1. Make a short list of some people who make you feel good. People you'd like to see more of. These should be people who are upbeat, positive, and encourage you. People who think you're great.
2. This week, contact at least three of them. Suggest a get-together: Coffee, a drink, lunch, something that doesn't take a huge time-commitment.
3. Schedule it.
4. See how you feel after your date. You had fun, didn't you? Way more fun than responding to messages on OK Cupid.
5. Repeat. I have a list of my favorite people in my city whom I may not get to see often. My goal is to engineer a chance to see each one at least four times a year.
6. Enlarge your list of friends/potential friends. Notice when you meet someone in the course of your life whom you'd like to know better. Then, start with step 2.
Have fun with the rest of the summer! And let me know how it goes : )