Russ, Online Dating Coach
You might be surprised to hear this from me: online dating isn’t always the answer. Sure, online dating can be great practice. It gets you out of the house, you get to work on your dating “skills,” so to speak; but after a while, you might get tired of seeing the same profile clichés over and over again, tired of sending messages to tons of matches, tired of spending your evenings who’s viewed me shuffling on your computer (especially if you’re spending your days on your computer already).
But how else are you supposed to meet single people? Maybe all of your friends are married. Maybe you’re new to your city. Maybe you work in a field that is dominated by other men. Maybe you work alone! If any of this is the case, there is another way. I’m calling it “Organic Dating.”
No, no, I’m not talking about only dating vegans, or re-using condoms (gross! PS don’t ever do that.) I’m talking about living a life that follows your curiosities and interests, integrates you into your community, makes you friends, and hopefully – eventually leads you to the right one. Hmmm, maybe I should call it “Holistic Dating.” I’ll have to think about that one.
The First Rule of Organic Dating is “Don’t Date”
Yeah, that’s right. If you’re going to follow your interests and curiosities, and have authentic friendships that eventually lead you to the ultimate relationship, you need to be prepared to not date any of the people you meet until you’ve known them for at least a couple of months. I’ll talk more about how this works later on, but meanwhile, you’ll be making yourself an even more interesting person, and making new friends along the way.
Good criteria by which to judge whether something is a good source of organic dating is as follows: 1) it interests you, 2) there are women there, 3) you have repeated exposure to the same people. This last part is important because you have to see someone several times before you can get to know them – before you can learn as much about them as you could if they had an online dating profile. This is why so many couples meet at work – because when you go to work, you see the same people over and over again. Here are some great places to meet people who you will eventually date:
Improv classes are great for increasing your confidence, creativity, and conversation skills (for mining those conversation nuggets) – they’re also great for meeting people. If Improv is a little too goofy for you, many comedy schools also provide comedy writing classes. If you’re more into drama, check out an acting class. It will likely be filled with some pretty attractive ladies, to boot 😉
You can find Meetups on a ton of different interests (even meetups just for single people) on meetup.com, but there are also other places on the web, such as Yahoo groups, where groups can be organized. If you don’t find a Meetup that fits your interest, START YOUR OWN. There are tons of benefits to being the organizer of any group, primarily being that you are the leader – and ladies love leaders. Oh, and try to pick an interest that at least some women will share – while still being true to your interest, of course.
You’ve probably heard of Couch Surfing, but if you haven’t, you will think it’s either crazy, or cool: it’s a website where you can find random people’s couches to sleep on (for free) while traveling, or you can “host” travelers at your place. It sounds like you run the risk of getting axe-murdered, but the community are managed well by the karma-like system they have: you know you can trust someone who has lots of positive reviews from people they have hosted.
But hosting isn’t where you’ll find the utility in Organic Dating: every major metropolitan area has its own active Couch Surfing community of people who hang together when they aren’t traveling. Make a basic profile, and subscribe to the group for your specific city: eventually, you’ll see who the regulars are on your local scene. They’ll likely be planning various meetups at bars, or parties and BBQs that you can attend and meet other Couch Surfers in your community. Even if you don’t go to any of these events, the people on these message boards have great ideas for what is going on in your local area – which you can then use to get a group of friends together for fun stuff. The people you meet in the Couch Surfing community are great to meet because they are usually single, are lots of fun, and are from all over the world.
Very important, though: I can’t stress enough that Couch Surfing is NOT a dating site. Never go into a coffee meet up, or – god forbid – a hosting situation expecting a date or a hook-up. But, if you’re Organic Dating, then this is a given.
If you have causes that interest you, hunt down the organizations that support that cause, and find out how to volunteer with them. If you’re interested in the arts, check out a local theatre; animals, your local humane society or animal shelter; or, find out if a food pantry has any group volunteering events.
This is probably an obvious one, though it won’t apply to everyone. If you have a church you go to – get involved in the events.
This is probably the ultimate way to meet women. There are plenty of social dance styles: Salsa, Swing, and Tango are probably the most popular ones. If you know how to dance any of these styles, you can literally go to any club where this dancing occurs, walk up to a woman, ask her to dance, and she will say “yes” well over 90% of the time. In fact, it’s even considered rude for her to say “no,” unless she has a good reason (she is tired, isn’t dancing, or you’re just plain creepy – which you’re not since you only want to dance and have no intention in dating her until you’ve known her for a while). Next thing you know, you’re holding hands with her, having a conversation, and dancing. You can do this dozens of times, with different women, in the course of a night. It’s like speed-dating, but less awkward. If you’ve been to your standard “dance club” where they play top 40 or electronic music, it does not work this way!
One catch is, you have to learn how to dance, and this can take lots of time, patience, and potential embarrassment; and no, you don’t need to have a partner – in fact, most dance classes are filled with single people, like you. Check out Yelp to find a local dance studio. Many of them will have sample drop-in classes so you can try different styles. Additionally, many of the bars and restaurants that have social dance nights begin them with free lessons. Eventually, however, real lessons are well worth the investment. If you just don’t like dancing, though, don’t force it.
Why Not Date?
So, you don’t date any of the women you meet at these places? Why is that? It’s because you aren’t looking to date: you’re looking to create a network of friends, to follow your interest, and eventually lead you to the right person.
Make friends with them. Not even just with the women, but the men, too. Make friends with a bunch of them and invite them all for dinner, invite them all for drinks, have a dinner party, or plan a hiking trip. Really, just do what you would have done were you to go on a date, but instead invite more people. There’s a few good reasons to do this:
You leave yourself open to meeting friends of friends
All of these people with whom you share these interests, and whom you make friends with – they all have friends too; and chances are, those friends are like-minded as well. If you haven’t rushed into dating one cutie right away, you haven’t blocked yourself from dating her much sweeter friend when you meet her later on.
You get to know people without the baggage of dating
Sometimes when you hang out in a casual setting with someone, you learn some things you might not otherwise, or that you might fool yourself into overlooking if you were in a dating situation. True story: I once got a bunch of random new friends together for dinner. There was one girl whom I was pretty interested in. But, when the bottle of wine we were all sharing got towards to bottom, she proceeded to – without offering any to anyone else – pour THE ENTIRE REST OF THE BOTTLE into her glass, which now nearly overflowed with wine. Nobody said anything, but I saw a few stunned faces at the table. Some of you might not think this is a big deal, but I personally thought it was rude, and I was glad I learned that about her before dating her, rather than learning that while paying for her meal. PS, we all had an awesome time anyway!
You don’t poison your social life
If you lead an integrated existence like this – where you’re exposed to the same people over and over again and are integrated into your community, rushing into a relationship can poison your entire social life. Suddenly that meet up group is awkward, or you can’t go to your favorite dance club because you might run into your ex. Following your interests will likely lead you to a good partner, but it’s better to be patient than to ruin your whole social life with an ill-advised date.
So, there’s my little manifesto on Organic Dating – have any experience with this? Has it worked for you? Please comment below.
Thanks Russ for a valuable insight. I wish more people would use these advices more and have a fulfilling happy love life – SjC