To Online Date, Or Not

Dear Karen,

I have just gotten back into the dating scene, after a long-term relationship that didn’t work out.  I would like to know what other vehicles you would recommend for meeting men (other than online dating, which I do NOT want to do).  Thank you for any help you might be able to offer me. – Mary

Dear Mary,

Good job moving forward!  You can’t get where you want to go if you’re looking backward, right?

I will answer your question, but it may not be exactly what you were hoping for.  I think you’re making a big mistake by not being willing to do online dating as part of your plan.

Here’s how I talk about this with my coaching clients:

Imagine you’re looking for something, and there are two ways you can go about finding it.  One way is to wander down a road, hoping for a random sighting of this thing you’re looking for.  The other plan is to go to a location that is filled to the rafters with this exact thing you’re looking for.

Which makes the most sense, from an efficiency stand-point?  I hope you said “go to the location filled to the rafters…”

Dating these days offers those two options for people.  You could spend time living your life, meeting the random single man (and then it may take you some time to learn his relationship status, as well as what he’s interested in), or you could sign up for online dating and right away have access to hundreds or thousands of men who at least claim to be single and available for what you’re looking for.

Note: just like in life, there will be a percentage of men on these sites who are not telling the truth about their situation.  And, just like in life, you have to be smart about things, take care of yourself and trust your gut.

There are plenty of guidelines on most sites about how to keep yourself safe, so whichever one you decide to join (if you do), make sure to read up on their suggestions.

As a final plug for online dating, here’s an interesting quote from Wired magazine back in 2002:

“Twenty years from now, the idea that someone looking for love without looking for it online will be silly, akin to skipping the card catalog to instead wander the stacks because ‘the right books are found only by accident.’”

OK.  Enough said about online dating.  I hope I’ve convinced you.

Online dating is not the only thing you should be doing (in fact, doing only that can create a negative result, because it can get you a little too focused on “looking for” a man online, instead of “attracting” a good man by living a great life.).


I always encourage women to get themselves out there and live a fulfilling life, doing things they love – or exploring doing things they’ve been curious about, at least.

The worst approaches to take while you’re on the path to the relationship you want are to:

a)    wait to live your life until you have a man;
b)    feel like you are somehow incomplete without a relationship.

So, Mary…what are the things you love to do?  Who do you love to do them with?  Get yourself going, find some like-minded women to spend time with, and live a life you completely enjoy.

In the same way you (I’m betting) are more naturally attracted to people who seem happy, who are enjoying their lives, and who have positive attitudes, you will be a natural magnet to people when you are feeling good.

Note: if your interests lean toward crocheting, you may want to expand your areas of interest to include things that would have a higher population of men!

One suggestion is to partner up with at least one other woman who you feel would convey a good attitude toward men (because you will be “guilty by association, and if you’re out with a woman who radiates “man-hater”, men will stay away from both of you!).

When you’ve found a buddy (or two) who fits the bill, plan weekly “flirting forays”; take turns finding fun things to go do – and just make sure the objective for the event is to have fun, practice flirting with men, and no other agenda.  Anything beyond fun is a bonus.


You may find yourself falling into the trap of believing that there is a scarcity of men – particularly if you’re over 40.

I have three words for you…

Men are everywhere.

If you choose to believe it, you will see it.  The reverse is also true: believe there are NO men out there, and you’ll see that, too.

Make sure you are working to gather evidence to support what you want.  The evidence is everywhere, once you open up to it (and you stop being a magnet for all the “woe is me” stories, which, sadly, are also everywhere).

In conclusion: if you are having fun in your life, you’re being adventurous (for you), and you’re trying new ways to get closer to what you want, you will definitely meet men.  Along the way, you may even meet the man of your dreams.  In any case, your life will certainly be better!