If movies and TV shows are anything to go by, the most likely place to meet your future significant other is a bar. Your eyes lock across the dance floor. He sends you a drink a few minutes later.
You smile and pretend to ignore him for a while. And then you’re passionately making out against the door of a taxi you’re trying to climb into to go back to his place. There’s only one problem: if you don’t enjoy hanging out in bars and hooking up with strangers, this isn’t such a great way to meet your future boyfriend.
It looks all romantic and wonderful on TV but, in reality, a bar tends to be a place where people go to hook up, not find a committed partner. And if (like me) you’re not the kind of person who even likes going to bars in the first place, the chances of you finding the kind of guy you’re looking for inside of one are pretty slim. I mean, sure, maybe he’s there for the same reason you are (that you couldn’t think of anywhere else to meet people), but the most likely reason a guy is hanging out in a bar is that he likes hanging out in bars. So, if that’s not your scene, that’s not the place to go.
It looks all romantic and wonderful on TV but, in reality, a bar tends to be a place where people go to hook up, not find a committed partner.
But where else is there? Where can a girl who’s hoping to meet a guy go if what she’s looking for is love and commitment, not hookup sex and the morning-after walk of shame? Here are a few suggestions:
This is another way to meet someone whose values are aligned with yours. Pick a volunteer opportunity you really care about — feeding the homeless, reading to children, cleaning up the beach, etc. — and attend regularly. Again, this isn’t about scoping out the other hair-net clad volunteers as you ladle out soup, it’s about doing something that makes you feel good with other people who enjoy it too.
Since you’re helping other people, it takes the focus off finding a boyfriend and puts it on the worthwhile cause you’re working toward.
Also, since you’re helping other people, it takes the focus off finding a boyfriend and puts it on the worthwhile cause you’re working toward. This is good because, as you’ve probably already discovered, the harder you try to meet someone, the less likely it becomes. (Not sure if that phenomenon has a name, but it should because it’s true.)
2. A Club (Not That Kind of Club)
Another way to meet a guy who is simpatico is to join a group or club that focuses on something you’re interested in. There are clubs out there for pretty much any interest. Board games, sports, trivia, acting, photography, science, you name it. You can do a Google search for interesting clubs in your area, or join something like meetup.com and check out their offerings.
The point is not to treat this as a scouting mission, but rather to sign up to do something you enjoy and meet other people who enjoy it too. If you’re having fun and enjoying yourself alongside other people doing the same, you may just find yourself connecting with someone who might be a good match.
3. A Class
Like a club, signing up to take a class on something you’re passionate about will put you in regular contact with other people who are passionate about it too. If you struggle with social anxiety, a class might be a better option for you than joining a club. A class tends to be more structured with less small-talk or unplanned time. But class discussions, group projects, and study groups can help you interact with others in a less open-ended way, which might feel more comfortable for you. Once you get to know your classmates — or maybe one particular classmate, hint hint — you can find time to hang out outside of class.
The point is not to treat this as a scouting mission, but rather to sign up to do something you enjoy and meet other people who enjoy it too.
4. A Place of Worship
Let me first say that, by putting this on this list, I’m not saying you should convert to some religion you don’t actually believe in just to pick up guys. Nor am I suggesting that you spend the entire service making eyes at all the single-looking guys in the pews around you. What I am suggesting is that, if you happen to be a person who attends church regularly already, you can assume that any single guys you do meet there already share some of your values. And that’s an important first step in finding a partner you’re willing to commit to.
See if your church has any groups or social events for people your age (some churches even have singles mixers!) and join them, even if it feels awkward. If you go a couple of times and it’s not your scene, fine. However, it could be a good place to start.
This is a fairly obvious one in this day and age, but I felt I’d be remiss not to include it. The great thing about online dating is that you can search specifically for guys who share your interests, values, and passions. Make sure to choose a site that’s about finding a committed relationship rather than a quick hookup and think carefully about the criteria you filter for once you’re on the site. And then — once you’ve found someone who seems promising — arrange to meet him (in a safe and public location).
The great thing about online dating is that you can search specifically for guys who share your interests, values, and passions.
If you’re looking for an in-person relationship, don’t spend a lot of time building your relationship online before you’ve met. That will only lead to heartache when you do actually meet because you’ll have filled in the empty space of the person’s absence with all your hopes and dreams for your future boyfriend. This is not the same as having a long distance relationship with someone you’ve already met, or even getting to know someone online whom you can’t meet up with because they live far away. If you’ve joined an online dating site specifically to find a committed boyfriend, make sure you’re searching within your geographic area.
It can be hard, in the age of random hookups and no-strings-attached sex, to know how to find a guy who’s looking for something more. The trick is to stay away from the kinds of places where people go looking for hookups and random sex. Try to go to places and do things you enjoy (even if you don’t find a boyfriend). You’re most attractive when you’re happy and excited about what you’re doing. And so is your potential boyfriend. So take a deep breath, try not to worry too much, and enjoy yourself. The right guy is out there. You’ll find him when you least expect it.
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