If you’re single and in your 20s, don’t worry. The reason you’re alone is not that you are unattractive or hard to get along with, but that you’re looking for love in all of the wrong places. Here are 10 places where twentysomethings seek, but won’t find, romance.
Bars and clubs are great if you’re looking for a quick lay, but completely wrong for finding love. To start, you’re probably not nearly as promiscuous as your outfit might signify, or as rich as your watch and Jordans would suggest. The person you wake up to in the morning often isn’t quite who thought you were taking home at the end of the night, and if they are, they’re still not the type that you’d bring home to your parents. Face it: your inebriated self isn’t the real you, and it doesn’t make sense to start a relationship based on what you’re like when you’re intoxicated.
Try a Starbucks or an equally populated café, instead. The environment is fairly similar to that of a bar, but without the inebriation. Plus, people usually go there solo, so the awkwardness of approaching a group is diminished.
After the club and bar scene yields disastrous results, you may be inclined seek the polar opposite: a quiet place like the public library. Contrary to fantastical belief, however, libraries are not laden with straight-laced types who are surprisingly attractive once you remove their glasses. In general, your fellow patrons will be the homeless, parents and their school-aged children, and older folks trying to understand the miracle of the internet, none of whom you should be inclined to date.
Try your local parks, instead. If you go during the day, you’ll find a good blend of wholesome, outdoorsy types who are out enjoying the weather. You’ll still have to watch out for the occasional drug dealer, but there are actually fewer in attendance at a park than at the public library.
Meeting people at the gym seems like a good idea. After all, you know from the start that the people you’re considering take good care of themselves — and may be apt to take good care of you. However, anyone who buys a gym membership with the intention of trolling the weight room for a potential mate is a tad pathetic. If you’re at the gym, you should be working out. Wipe off your makeup, stop flexing in the mirror, and keep your eyes on your own treadmill.
Try your local social athletic clubs, instead. You’ll meet people who share your interest in biking, roller skating, bowling, or hiking, and do so in an environment set up for mingling.
It seems ideal, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, when you integrate your personal life with your career, things end badly. First, humans are incapable of keeping opinions to themselves, especially if they know both parties involved in a situation. As soon as rumors start, everyone is going to have an opinion, and whether you like it or not, those opinions are going to start clouding your judgment. Besides, what if you have problems? Imagine the awkwardness of bumping into your ex at the water cooler every afternoon.
Try happy hour at the restaurant down the street from your office, instead. It’s not a bar, so you can go without it seeming like you are trolling for dates, and the afternoon time slot indicates that the level of inebriation will be low. Plus, there will be a lot of professional people seeking to mingle in a relaxed setting.
If there is one thing to take away from watching movies, it’s that damsels in distress rarely make good wives, and heroes rarely make good husbands. Sure, it was awesome at the time, with the purse-snatching, adrenaline-rushing, muscle-pumping, bad-guy-chasing excitement. And when she turned to you, filled with gratitude, you lost yourself in the pool of her cinnamon eyes. But what do you really know about each other? Do yourself a favor and slow it down, cowboy, before you end up married to somebody whose idiosyncrasies are too much for you to bear.
Ask for a phone number and go home and take the time to digest the situation, instead. If, 24 hours later, you can’t resist, give them a call and go on a date, but don’t rush into anything.
Being the last single friend in your group is never fun. Jappy couples are always obsessed with getting you paired up, and come out of the woodwork with all of these great people that you just have to meet. Here’s the thing: if they’re so great, why weren’t you introduced before? These setups are based on convenience, not compatibility, and you shouldn’t be interested in being with someone just because your friends don’t like it when you side-eye them over their aggressive displays of affection.
Try online dating, instead. It’s a risky business, but if done properly, the reward can be great. Bonus: Hitched friends tend to be less aggressive about setting you up when they feel you’re trying your best to find your future significant other.
My opposition to singles events isn’t that they’re a pathetic, last-ditch attempt at love; it’s that they represent an impossible attempt at love. People see singles events like speed dating as quick and easy ways to meet people. At these events, you have to convey the best, most date-able aspects of yourself, while evaluating the other person. As a result, there’s no truth to be had. When everybody’s crafting a front designed to make themselves desirable, you can’t learning anything substantial about them. Honestly, your interaction would have been more successful had you run into each other at the free clinic and struck up a conversation.
Try the local supermarket, instead. It is a simple enough place to meet and greet people, but without the pressure to immediately impress someone. And you can tell a lot about a person by the contents of their grocery store cart, including whether or not they are actually single.
Remember that cute guy or girl you gave your number to a couple of months ago, but never heard from? It may be hard to not pick up now that the phone’s ringing, but don’t do it. If they didn’t call within the first week, there was a reason behind it. If they were taken at the time, what were they doing taking and keeping your number in the first place? If they weren’t really feeling you at the time, but just bumped into you recently and felt differently after noticing how much weight you had lost, well, that’s just really shallow. Shallow doesn’t deserve your heart.
Give the next person you meet a solid chance to take you out, instead, even if they aren’t your normal type. You need a night out. It doesn’t have to go anywhere, but it will probably help you out of your rut.
You loved them once, but the timing wasn’t right, or they weren’t mature enough, or you just weren’t ready. Whatever it was, you never quite forgot them, and a run-in at Starbucks has you thinking that there’s no such thing as a coincidence. Well, there is such thing as a coincidence, especially when you’re waiting for a nonfat decaf latte in a popular coffee shop down the street from where your ex works. Don’t live in the past, because your future doesn’t reside there. Your ex should never be your next. You left for a reason.
Focus on yourself, instead. If you’re in danger of falling down the rabbit hole, and back to your ex, it is probably because you’re in need of some serious self-reflection. Take a break from dating for a while and get to know yourself.
When all else fails, and you’re slumped on your couch full of despair, sometimes your eyes, of their own accord, slide over to your best friend, who’s slumped dutifully beside you. Suddenly, the question pops, unbidden, into your mind, “What if?”
No. Stop it right there. Yes, the best relationships are also friendships, but you better make sure you are both into it, and for the right reasons. If not, a couple of months from now, after a whirlwind romance, you could be slumped despairingly on your couch, only this time, all alone, after losing your significant other and your best friend.
Confide in your best friend about your thoughts, instead. They are your best friend for a reason. They will either talk you out of your brief lapse in judgment, making you grateful you didn’t act on it, or reciprocate, allowing you to embark on your new adventure together. Either way, don’t rush into anything, no matter how amazing things seem in your head.