I am curious, (and being kind), and would like to know what your standards are? You mentioned lowering them, and mentioned in your past you have had lots of suitors but now, no one. Perhaps you are getting in the way of you??
Certainly going to functions alone is not as fun as going with someone, but it is also one of the ways you can "expose" yourself more. It seems easier to stay home and let time slide by, and yet, if you look around, there are plenty of other single men and women wandering around solo. You may be missing plenty of chances to run into one of *them*.
I am a bit older than you but still have found success so can share a few tips~~
I was married for 20-some years and so finding myself back in the dating pool was initially disconcerting, especially since swimming nude was probably no longer an option at my age...ggg. Still, I liked men and have always found it easy to speak to them so made the all important decision to not let fear of failure be an option EVER. Once that choice was behind me, the next choices revolved around what I wanted to do that I had not done in my marriage. For me, it was taking the time to explore places and to travel and linger for days in places I never thought I would ever go. I focused on having fun for my own sake. It honestly did not occur to me to think, wow, I am here in this groovy place and I am lonely. Yes, I was alone, but rarely have I been lonely, except sometimes during the holidays, since that seems to be the times when the focus is on family and friends. The years I am around others it is not an issue, but the times I am alone, I try to reach out to a friend or neighbor and make an occasion of it. This last Christmas, I took my neighbors to dinner. We had a blast and had not done that before.
I am also guilty of using Paulette's trick of handing out business cards. I had more than a few and some have more info on them than others. Some have just my email, and others, phone and another, the full line of info on me....ggg.
I order mine from http://vistaprint.com
For the price of shipping, you can get 250 free cards. I love getting business cards, so figured others would. I have a little book where I keep the cards I get from others and I will ask for business cards out of habit and that certainly says, hey, I am interested in having a relationship with you, even if it is a friendship with another woman.
I like to go out to bars to hear music, or for dinner, but do not find it so much
fun to drink and then want to drive home. I am more of the person who likes to invite others for a meal or even just coffee. Even as a young woman, I had developed the habit of having a dinner party after every pay day, and every Saturday morning, friends came for waffles and then we would go kite flying or swimming, motorcyling or sledding. I tend to enjoy physical activities so as an adult gravitated to those who shared the same interests I do. My most recent relationships, both my boyfriends thought a hike in the woods was an outstanding way to spend an hour or two. One guy asked me if I had time to walk through a city flower garden with him and wowser, that was music to my ears. The point being, you need to decide what YOU like to do and then find friends to do it with. These can be girl friends or guy friends. I have a nice list of guy friends who I am not inclined to be romantic with but enjoy their
company enough to want to keep up with their life stories. Very often I will give a guy friend notice I am expecting to be in their neck of the woods and ask if they have any time to share. That is the first notice. Then when I am going to be days away, I make my own dates. I usually get in a walk in the woods, certainly a coffee date, and if I have found something cool to do, I will always buy two tickets instead of one and plead my case, I have an extra ticket, can you come with me. Ive never wasted a ticket...ggg.
If you are not totally comfortable with being as forward as you would like, do not hesitate to stand in front of a mirror and practice the sort of dialog you would like to imagine yourself saying. In the beginning, I did a bit of that to get myself over the hump, so-to-speak.
Consider flirting. There are some great books on the art of flirting and they can offer great suggestions. I rarely pass up an opportunity to flirt which most often just means you make the other person feel comfortable enough to speak with you. It is a win-win situation. I especially love to flirt while shopping since it seems time and time again, a guy will ask me if they can help me. I rarely say no, and will tell them what I am looking for, and enjoy following them around for a few minutes, or allowing them to find the item for me and then I get to compliment them and thank them for their help. I am someone who finds it easy to make eye contact and smile so if this is a habit you have not indulged in, do consider taking the time to cultivate it. I have always been impressed by the panache of others, men and women who will compliment me or flirt harmlessly to make me feel good. So, becoming one of them has been more of a pleasure than a chore.
One of my favorite situations where I flirt shamelessly and which I have repeated
more times than I should admit, is if I see a man standing in front of an ice cream
display and especially if ice cream is on my list, I find it soooo easy to ask a
guy, or a woman for that matter, what their favorite flavor is. These little questions open a door for all kinds of conversations. Most often these little interludes are not ways leading to a tumble in the pillows, but ways to practice being open to others and making myself available to *life*. I think I began that habit when a guy did a similar thing to me. I had to laugh since I was intently examining roasts and trying to discern the best piece of beast for my needs when a guy nudged me and pulled out an index card with a recipe on it. He proceeded to ask me about the recipe which I figured was just a prop someone at a singles meeting suggested, but by golly, it worked. The five minutes we stood there laughing and visiting were the most fun of the whole grocery excursion. So, being available to be approached is important. Check yourself out. Are your defenses up?? Do you feel like if the elevator music came on, you could belt out a few lines?? If someone asks if they can help you, do you always say, no, thanks....??
Just a little anecdote here~~Last year, I was feeling lonely during the holiday
season and decided to chase my blues away by going shopping. I had a few names on a short list but it was long enough to make for a good hunt. I was in Dillards looking at Christmas ornaments and so obviously in the Christmas section. There was a black woman there who was all glowy and singing like an angel on earth, at the top of her voice along with the holiday music they were piping into the store. It made my holiday and when she asked if she could help me, you bet I said yes, and complimented her on how great it made me feel to hear her singing. Now, sure, I could have missed that precious gift of meeting that woman, but by following my higher guidance to make a choice to do something which could uplift me, I found my blessing. If you stay home all the time and look for nothing, you are sure to find it....
I like to go to all kinds of functions. If I go to the farmer's market week after week, by the third or fourth week, people are smiling at me and speaking with me and
I am visiting with them too. If I manage to find a friend to go along, that is all the better. Someone else posted about meeting their Mister Right in a museum. I
think I will waste no time map-questing my way to the museums I know exist in the next big town over. Where I used to live, we attended every art walk, every new museum opening and all the theatrical openings. There are regulars to these crowds and so often before you know it, you are one of them.
I used to go to auctions for years and that is a great way to meet people. I also found standing in close proximity to someone waiting to bid, it was as nice for a guy to be told he smelled good, as it is for a woman. I figure, if a guy is going to go through the trouble of splashing on some nice smelly stuff, I am going to let him know it is working....ggg. So, this point being, do not be afraid to expand your comfort zone. Obviously habits you have used in the past are no longer working for you. Now is the time to turn on your creative juices and open other doors and take a look at what is behind them.
About being alone...I used to dwell on that some. I did not remain in my home and so have been rather nomadic as I am still in my adventuring phase of post-marriage dissolution. A friend of mine gave me some insight which had the effect of smashing up my pity party. She said, Zoe, you could step off a curb tomorrow and be killed. Get out there and LIVE~! Some of that pity was also directed at a health crisis that I was going through and the concern that I would not be successful in healing myself. Certainly, she was right and as time has passed more than a few of my own friends have passed so suddenly, that it makes time seem all the more precious.
One recent event really brought this home too. I was sitting on a bench, outside of one of those fancy car washes,waiting for my van to be spit-shined. A man walked by me and I recognized him, (okay, it WAS his ass) and I followed him to where he sat and amazed him as we had not seen each other in about 6 years. Of course, I did not hesitate to ask him to stand up so I could hug him. He described the meeting as cosmic and we made a date to meet the next Monday. He died the Saturday before the
Monday he was to come to visit. Indeed, it was a cosmic closure and I feel so
grateful I have that last hug to remember him by. The point again being, life is
short and so each hug, each phone conversation, each opportunity to allow others to reach out to you and vice versa are precious. Do not waste your energy focusing on what ifs. Work to cultivate the habit of living in the NOW. In my younger and more reckless youth, I used to disarm my friends by saying, "today is a good day to die". I believed it then, and still do...and that has made a huge difference in how I enjoy my life.
Of course, if you get the flu or need a ride to the emergency room, it is often a good idea to set up a buddy plan ahead of time. If you feel you have no one you can trust to call, then you are indeed ripe for the choice to go make some friends so you can build a support system. You are not alone in feeling the loss of real family to depend on. Distance and other constraints have made it next to impossible to be close to *real* family for most of us. For those of us willing to open up to it, we collect our family of *friends* and over the years, our stories weave through and along with the weft and warp of others stories and their lives. These last years, as I have wandered about trying to find my own direction, I have found myself far from friends and family. How heartwarming it was to land where I am now, and my friend said to me, "I needed a sister". I sort of got myself adopted. One of my good friends who, like you, has no family, years ago lent some money to a young man who she met in Bali. Since then, she has grown old with he and his family and is considered an elder to them and very respected. Do not sell yourself short on where and how your story of
your life may unfold.
Okay, now, having said all this, I will share that in the time since I have been
divorced, I have had 3 *serious* relationships. I do not chase love and choose
instead to allow it to find me. Certainly, I could not have imagined the ways love found me and this is also why I find I like it best to let fate steer those my direction whose own lives will enrich mine. The first, I met at a book stall in a conference. There was an instant connection. The second, I met on a beach. He was a friend of a friend, the odd man out, another single like me, and we discovered over dinner with friends, we had much in common. The third is a relationship I am still in. He was a computer engineer who came to work on our computers here. The pivotal piece of interesting conversation which piqued my interest, he knew who Lonnie Mack was. Ha...ggg. So, it comes back to my initial question, are you standing in your way?? Are your expectations dashing your hopes before you even give love a chance to spill onto your life??
Learn too, to fall in love with YOU and you will become incredibly attractive to others. Treat yourself the way you want to be treated and while you may still be alone for awhile, you may be happier. The law of attraction does work but it is subtle in nature. I sort of feel, when you least expect it, the chances for love will pop up. Like DQ said too, do not pass up opportunities to LOVE just because you cannot see yourself spending the rest of your life with someone. I have loved well and left and still love keeps finding me. Eventually the one who is looking for who I am will find me. In the meantime, I am enjoying *perfecting* the art of being *loving*....
be happy, be well,
ps. if you want to enjoy a feel good movie about taking control of your life,
consider Queen Latifah in "Last Holiday"...