Meeting Someone: the Places You Go

Meeting Someone: the Places You Go

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I'm going to tackle the issue of meeting someone in two posts: 1) The Places You Go; 2) The People You Know.

A question I hear over and over again from Christian singles is, "How do I meet someone?" You may greatly desire a godly relationship, but what if you're not in a relationship and you never even meet any potential people to be in a relationship with? That's a frustrating place to be.

In my article "Single While Active," I talk about one barrier to marriage:

I have a friend who constantly laments that God has not given her a husband, but she never meets new people. She's not involved in group activities or even a community at her church.

Ask a couple dozen married couples how they met, and you'll hear some common answers: At a church event. In a class. At a party. In a small group. At a friend's wedding. The point being: If you want to meet someone, you need to be where a potential spouse may be.

Whether you're an outdoor enthusiast, a musician, a photographer or a movie connoisseur, find new places to develop your interests. Join a mountain biking club. Sign up for an art class. Volunteer for children's ministry at your church. If you are looking for someone to share your life and passions, what better place to meet him or her than while pursuing those passions? Even if you don't meet someone, you're doing things you love.

Taking that a step farther, getting out of your comfort zone and meeting new people allows you to gain practice interacting with the opposite sex even if your Mr. or Miss Right isn't there. And a word of caution about "Girls' Night": There's nothing wrong with spending time with your same-gender friends. However, if you're a woman who consistently chooses girls' night over coed events, you may be limiting your opportunities to meet someone. Likewise, if you're a guy who spends weekend nights hanging out with the guys rather than seeking out mixed-gender settings, how do you expect to meet that special lady?

Be intentional about venturing into new settings and groups of people. If you and I were sitting down over a cup of coffee right now, I would encourage you to pick an event to attend or new activity to try, dress your best and, when you get there, engage with at least one member of the opposite sex. Introduce yourself, and ask him or her a few questions. The point isn't to score a date; the point is to meet new people and keep your social skills sharp. Not only does this set you up for future success, but it also increases self-worth and diminishes loneliness in the meantime.

Question to ponder: Is your stewardship of your time and social life leading you closer to a potential relationship and eventual marriage or further away?

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  • Comment by  Kelly1:

    You know what?  I do this all the time and I AM EXHAUSTED.

    I've been actively dating for, what, 10+ years now.  Every 6 months or so I'll sign up for 2 or more new classes.  I just took up snowboarding.  I am constantly meeting new people and right now, I'm burned out.

    (An example: last weekend I was at a hostel, and I usually love hanging out with new people in communal areas.  But that weekend I just couldn't handle it.  I wanted to be surrounded by people who know and love me.  I look at my married friends - they rarely meet new people.  They have no incentive to.  And I'm quite jealous, because wow, life would be much less tiring if I could just relax into the friendships I have instead of constantly meeting new people.)

    Note: I don't meet new people solely for husband-hunting, it is a side benefit/effect of trying new things.  Some days I really wish I had a friend to come along with me to, say, karate class instead of starting over again.  But all my friends are too busy with their husbands/children, which is why I take up new activities to fill the time and keep my brain alive.

  • Comment by  MikeTheemling:

    Although this is useful advice it should be noted that within (some) churches there is active discouragement from the staff in regards to looking for a mate.

    This seems to be more common with men than with ladies.  If a man, even if he is actively involved with the church, is single and "older" (let's say ~30+) there, he is often treated with suspicion.  This can manifest itself as from being viewed as a possible sexual predator (i.e. the "wolf on the hunt") or to being flat out told that "Church is not meet-market".

    This happened to me some years ago.  I approached the young adult pastor and asked him if there were practical things I could do to increase my chances of finding someone in the church.  In short, he gave me the familiar "focus on Jesus and not your marital status" spiel which is a little ironic since at the time he was himself single and his own advice didn't seem to pan out.

    I'm simply saying that it seems there is a double standard within the church regarding this issue.

  • Comment by  NeedACatchyName:

    Well said.  I think too often we associate being intentional about finding a relationship for guys with taking on the responsibility of asking a girl out once you like her, but I think it's EQUALLY important that a guy is also very intentional about going out and looking for a girl.

    Of course, one thing this article doesn't address is a question I've had for a while.  Suppose you're a guy who's already looked in the usual spots--singles group, volunteer work, the ever-popular swing dancing, etc. but you haven't had much luck, because, well, those activities are mostly just other young males looking for females.  :)  Obviously, this is generally caused by a gender imbalance in your community, and could apply to females as well as males by reversing the genders in the previous sentence.  What does one do when the normal ways to meet girls just aren't working?  Are there any creative ideas to find girls outside of the usual suggestions?  And at one point to you consider more drastic measures such as seeking out long distance relationships or even moving to an area with better odds?

  • Comment by  Travis:

    Good word!

  • Comment by  MatthewBowers:

    step 1) be interesting, even if only mildly

    2) do stuff, go places

    3) introduce yourself to people as you're doing stuff and going places

    4) You'll meet somebody, guaranteed

  • Comment by  Elizabeth:

    good word

  • Comment by  DaveInKC:

    If you happen to belong to a church demonination that has multiple churches in the area where you live, you might try checking to see if other churches nearby have a larger singles group (or a singles group at all, if your church doesn't have one), & attend the activities that church group organizes.

    And if I attended a church that actively discouraged single members from finding a mate, I'd seriously consider finding another church.

  • Comment by  KC:

    I agree with the above comment. I have met great people at friend's parties, weddings, through volunteering, and sports. I was simply doing what I loved.

  • Comment by  Maotianming:

    Sometimes I feel like my church goes out of it's way to limit singles. I live in a community with a huge guy imbalance and it only gets worse the older you get. (110/100 men to women) All the single groups in my church have mostly single guys and one of the pastors actually asked me to stay in my group so as not to "distract" other groups from evangelism/service projects. "Help your own group"

  • Comment by  Ru:

    I know in Candice's post today she mentions that being in friendships with married older folks can open up, through their single grandkids, sons, daughters, nieces, nephews, siblings, etc. to create new circles of potential single people. I am all for older folks being helpful in match making, if done respectfully and keeping in mind the individual characteristics of the two people involved. However, I have a bone to pick.Married people need to stop saying things like, "there is this person who you might get along with" yet do nothing about introducing you to that person.I have had this situation happen before and it is makes things hard.

  • Comment by  Seth:

    I agree with Matthew. Part of it is just being the sort of person people find interesting.

  • Comment by  Denise:

    My reply to the question of stewardship of time/social life... toward a relationship, but with no change in status.  I would greatly appreciate someone telling me what else i could possibly do!  i'm 34... thought i'd be married by 21... need i say more.  I am involved with a ministry and a study at 2 different churches and actually even went to the point of making up flyers for myself and giving them to the respective leaders... was on MarryWell for a few months with no contact (beside other girls who shared my interests)... even gave out above mentioned flyers to a womens group i used to be in (have since nixed it to 'create time for whoever i might meet, who of course wouldn't be in a womens group') ... i truly don't know what else i can do to be more intentional aside from getting (as my joke goes) a billboard on the side of the freeway!?  in the past i tried a few educational classes (which were either filled with women or too young of boys) when i purchased my home i spent tons of time at home repair stores ... hung out in the apple store took some classes ...  I have traveled and am educated therefore, i can hold a decent conversation and am relatively informed about a variety of topics... the Biblical response i get is: "lets pray" or "i'll pray for you" and, the worldly response is dress differently (read: skin) and don't talk so smart (?!, really, i was told i'm too smart).  My obvious frustration is likely further exacerbated by the fact that several friends/colleagues have all become engaged/married in the same recent period of time.  I am often told something like, how is it that your not married, which i know is supposed to be a compliment but it just makes me want to cry.  It has been wonderfully encouraging to watch Suzanne go thru the single life, transition to marriage and now to new motherhood... yet, it feels like a fantasy for myself at this point.   Sorry this isn't uplifting, but any suggestions would be appreciated (and no there are no singles groups at either of my churches and yes i've told my friends i'm willing to go on blind dates and no i don't look like Dr. Frankensteins monster~! LOL... had to throw in a punch of laughter there)

  • Comment by  Tiana:

    PLEASE also remember and stress that these things should be done where other CHRISTIANS are going to be the people you meet.  That was not really mentioned, and though it was likely implied (or intended), it needs to be clear.  Young adults for Christians, conferences, etc.  Even websites sometimes (with caution) that are Christian....

  • Comment by  KRenee:

    I think this is good advice for me :) The only problem is, since I haven't met anyone on my small college campus, when on earth do I find time to do anything new off campus? All in God's timing I guess! :)

  • Comment by  James:

    Well, I am planning to try an online site in a few wks...that should get the ball rolling.  I did attend a singles group several yrs ago, even dated a bit...but when that didn't lead anywhere I wasn't compelled to continue on.  

    My usual haunts:

    coffee shop/bookstore - I sketch people, this doesn't usually lead to encounters though sometimes people will inquire if I drew them.

    gym - I'm pretty much in my own world there, sometimes in a bit of angry mood if I'm not lifting great. Definitely some girls there though...

    pubs - this definitely helps the social skills, lol. Some interesting characters out there...  

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