2009 is here, and if you are single, you might be thinking it’s time to step up your search for Mr. or Ms. Right. A few weeks ago, you may have read my Online Dating Dos and Don’ts, which sparked a lively conversation. Check it out if you are thinking about online dating. If you are looking to meet people the old-fashioned way (face-to-face) here are some ideas that don’t involve picking someone up at a bar or club.
Don’t attempt the Metro flirt in morning rush hour because everyone is too cranky/preoccupied on their Blackberry. This is best done at an off-peak time. If you see a cute guy/girl on the Metro, try to snag a seat near them, and start up a conversation.
When I was waiting for the train a few summers ago, a guy asked if there was space on the bench next to me. We started talking while waiting for the train and continued chatting after boarding. We exchanged information and ended up dating for about two months. Continues after the jump.
A Coffee Shop
There are a lot of great coffee shops around town where people hang out for awhile. The communal tables at Busboys and Poets and Tryst make for easier introductions, as does sitting at the bar. Even if you see someone sitting at a two-person table, ask to share their table.
You have to be careful with this approach to not be too intrusive/intense. People are there to actually read or do work. I was chatting a lot with a guy at Tryst over the weekend, and it derailed my study attempts.
Another anecdote: about a year ago on one of those rare, really warm and sunny early spring days, and I wanted to sit outside at Java Hut in Dupont. I only saw one seat available at a table already occupied by a man, so I asked to join him, really just to be outside. He asked me for a restaurant recommendation and we started chatting. We ended up going out to dinner later that evening, and then he came with me to the grocery store (it was a Sunday). Nothing came of it because he was in town for a conference, but it was a fun date nonetheless.
The gym is hopping these days with everyone trying to get on track with the New Year. A good conversation starter at the gym is asking someone if they are training for something or maybe commenting on something on a nearby TV. I also once asked a guy to help me adjust the weight-lifting bench that was stuck, and we ended up chatting and going out.
You also have to be careful with this approach 1) to not be creepy and 2) that this person may have the same gym schedule as you and you will see them most days. A few summers ago, I was at the gym when I lived in New York and this guy walks into the weight room and just stares me down, then he asks if I noticed him checking me out. I should have seen this as a red flag, but I was young and naïve, so I chatted with him and ended up going on one date. He was just as intense as his pick up line. I told him I wasn’t comfortable with our age difference – me 21 and him 30 – as a nice way to end things. Unfortunately, we had the same gym schedule and I saw him everyday.
Whatever your interests are, there is some kind of group/club in DC for you if you are interested. I like to be busy, so I am in many – a volunteer group, a triathlon club, a book club, tutoring, and tonight I’m joining a master’s swim team. Groups and clubs are a great way to meet people with similar interests. In all of my groups, I have seen people find dates, relationships and even marriage. To find a club to suit your interests, trying googling the hobby + DC, and see what you find. There are also activities and volunteer events posted on Craig’s List.