When I was single, I did something different when I turned 24. I don’t know why I decided to make a slight shift at that age; I guess I had never really made dating a priority before then. I was too focused on my education whilst in university and later my career in finance. I consciously made the decision then and there to make more time for it and see it as a significant part of my life.
After deciding to make dating a priority, I joined a couple dating sites, looked out for house parties where I knew I’d be meeting a lot of new people and started saying yes more (to dates, activities, and out-of-my-comfort-zone events). There was something else I changed.
I had always seen specific times as the right times to meet people. Let me explain. Throughout the work week, dating wasn’t really on my mind. I wouldn’t think about it on my way to work or at lunch or on a Monday night when I would go out for dinner with friends. Instead, I would wait until Friday night. Suddenly, just because it was a weekend night and I was going out with the girls, it would feel like the right time to meet someone. And then the next day, I’d wake up, go for a run, grab a morning newspaper, meet a friend for brunch, go to football training. And, in none of these moments, I ever thought: I could meet someone here.
It’s almost as if my mind switched off ‘dating mode’ when I was out and about doing the normal day-to-day things. And yet, strangely enough, as soon as it was a weekend night out in a bar, that’s when my ‘dating mode’ would switch on. After reading an article in a magazine, I realised how many opportunities I was missing out on in my daily routine. The article explained that you can meet someone anywhere and at any time. It could be when you’re waiting to pay for your newspaper at the corner shop. It could be in the queue at your local cafe. It could be on the bus that you take every single day to work.
It was more about opening myself up to the idea that there was no right time or right place. It was all about being open. The article continued to explain how it’s all about saying little things that can open up conversations in ordinary places. They gave an example of a conversation starter at a coffee shop: “Do you know if they have soy milk here?”. Or when waiting for a train: “Sorry, do you know if there’s another way to get to Victoria station?”. I was astounded – it was so simple. Why had I never thought about it before?
I realised then and there that if dating was now an important part of my life (as it hadn’t been before), I needed to start creating opportunities and be just as proactive as I was in my work-life. In the span of 7 days, I was really only investing 4 or 5 hours of one evening (or two on a Saturday night) to meeting someone. It was up to me to move it up the priority list. What’s the point of standing there in silence with an incredibly cute guy waiting to order your coffee? I realised I had to do two things: start looking and get chatting.
Is dating a priority in your life? Maybe it’s not. But if it is, how much time are you really investing in it?