Fifteen Places to Meet Someone You Might Like to Date

Meeting that special someone often happens by accident, but can increase the odds of meeting someone you like by frequenting the right kinds of places. A place you enjoy, where you feel comfortable and safe, solves the problem of what to talk about. Here are eight good places to meet people.

  • The halls of academia: Find something you’ve always wanted to learn about and take a course. Even if you don’t see any datables in your classroom, you’re out of the house, learning and relating, and your chem partner may have a cute sibling who’s single.

  • Parties, vacations, and other fun stuff: Fun places are some of the best places to scout out datables. Everybody’s relaxed, open, less uptight, and prepared to be happy and smile (it’s the reason for so many vacation romances).

  • Movies: Not everybody in line is coupled up; lots of singles go to movies, so the line into the movie, especially if it’s a long line, is not a bad place to get to know somebody. If you have the time to get to know each other before the movie begins, offering to share popcorn can work, too. (Yeah, I know the old joke about the chicken in the popcorn box. Puh-leeeeze.)

  • Dances: Folk dancing is great, as is square dancing, because the caller tells you what to do, and you’re always changing partners. Ballroom dancing is a bit iffier in that there is a huge premium put on doing it well, and you’re pretty up-close and personal with someone. But if you love to dance and you’re good at it and you don’t mind your feet getting stomped occasionally, dancing does meet the something-in-common, sorta nonthreatening thing.

  • Grocery stores: Buying food in the local market has that comfort/familiarity/nurturing thing going. It’s a (usually) nonthreatening environment, you’ve probably been there before, and if no one datable happens to meander in front of your grocery cart or pause invitingly in the produce section, you can still pick up your milk and Ding-Dongs.

  • Bus stops: Waiting at the same place and at the same time every day creates a sense of community. You see each other — and every other regular passenger — here all the time, and you can sit together. The trick here is to go slowly (pun intended). Don’t worry unless the person you’re interested in moves or switches jobs; you have plenty of time.

  • Laundromats: What’s more domestic than airing your once dirty, now clean, laundry in public? Always carry extra fabric softener and change (you never know who may need to borrow something) and under no circumstances mention underwear.

  • Bookstores: In some bookstore chains, you can curl up in a big comfy chair and listen to jazz quartets — and even be tempted to chat each other up. And if you happen to spy some cutie perusing your favorite author’s latest, discussing the finer points over a soy latte in the bookstore café seems fun, savvy, and safe. Somehow being picked up in a bookstore seems really smart, dontcha think?

  • Restaurants: Asking to join someone sitting alone is a bit iffy. If the person says yes, you don’t have to eat alone, but if the person says no, you may lose your appetite. But if you have nerves of steel, go for it.

  • Places of worship: Many churches, mosques, temples, synagogues, and other places of worship or spiritual activities have special singles services and events, figuring that they’re safe and familiar and spiritual and, with any luck at all, have the potential to increase the wedding business. The only problem here is that you can’t date lots and lots of folks at the same place of worship, or you’ll get a bad rep. So either be selective or plan to change congregations should the need arise.

  • Volunteer activities: Being your most altruistic self is hard to resist, and having something in common with another altruistic soul gives you lots to talk about. Just make sure that you like the activity itself.

  • Political campaigns: Political campaigns offer a nearly perfect environment because volunteers share a common goal, campaigns don’t go on forever, and the atmosphere is exciting and intense.

  • Sport teams: Even if you’re a klutz, find a sport to play. It’s generally safe, it’s fun, it’s physical, and team members almost always get together afterwards — especially if they win. Even if you view yourself as the ultimate klutz or hated gym, more and more leagues are demanding co-ed-ness.

  • Health clubs: Health clubs have a lot going for them: You’re among other people doing essentially the same thing. You see the same familiar group of people all the time. Keep in mind though that most people are in spandex and therefore often a bit shy, so be willing to go slowly.

  • Individual sports: Even if you embrace the loneliness of the long-distance runner, skier, mountain climber, shot putter, or cycler, there are clubs that support your individuality while having great parties, useful Web sites, and like-minded souls. If you run into the same person daily as you scoot around the reservoir or walk your dog or peddle uphill, smile as you gasp.

  • Sporting events: Most people are really relaxed when they watch sports — unless it’s the playoffs — and they are quite willing to explain what’s going on or to argue about who’s best. So asking the cute person next to you, “Why did the ref call that penalty?” will likely result in a smile and an explanation.

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