Another question about meeting people in your 30s
September 28, 2019 9:45 AM   Subscribe

Need some tips for human interaction as a single female

I moved away from the city I love back to my home city a couple months ago and Im trying to meet new people because a lot of my local friends are married with kids or are homebodies who dont go out. I have two questions:
Online dating in this small city seems to be terrible. I didn't see anyone on the 3 apps I had that looked remotely dateable.Has anyone been to a "singles night" at a bar? There is one I am thinking of attending tonight that has games and organized activities to make it less awkward. But I'm wondering if it's going to be extremely lame and if I will have to bat away advances from gross guys?

Second question. I live in a lovely neighborhood that probably has a mix of families and young people. Tomorrow there is some kind of neighborhood party at the local community centre. I'd like to go because I dont know anyone in my new neighborhood. But I expect it's going to be mostly parents with young kids. Can anyone help me with a social interaction plan for this type of thing? I have bad social anxiety but I push myself to fight it when there's something I really want, in this case it's to make friends in my neighborhood. I find moms with kids sometimes eye single people with suspicion. Would I look funny showing up to this event as a single 31 year old that looks 26? Would it just confirm my fear that I am the only interesting single young woman in this entire neighborhood and I should stay home in my imagination instead?
posted by winterportage to Human Relations (7 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Remember: anything you go to, you don't have to stay at. Promise yourself you'll stay half an hour (unless a safety issue arises at the bar) and after that you can peace out whenever you want.
posted by praemunire at 10:20 AM on September 28, 2019 [12 favorites]

.Honestly the trick to making friends is to keep showing up to the same place at the same time for a long period of time.

A friend who lives a lot taught me this:

Find a weekly activity for each of 3 areas:
Community service
Spiritual (whatever that means to you)

That's three social events a week.

At each event have a conversation with at least 3 people.

After 3 weeks to 3 months you will have community..
posted by jander03 at 10:50 AM on September 28, 2019 [54 favorites]

I dunno, as a new parent I love to see single non-parents at events, gives me a chance to talk like a human instead of as a parent.

And if you genuinely enjoy spending some time with children now and then? Parents will love you. Don’t limit yourself to the moms either, dads can be fun too. Hey maybe even a single dad might be a nice friend to meet.
posted by SaltySalticid at 10:57 AM on September 28, 2019 [8 favorites]

You never know unless you go. (Now that the unhelpful tautology part is out of the way ...) And seconding praemunire: if you go, and it's boring or uncomfortable, you don't have to stay. To sweeten it, I'd make a backup plan to do something reliably mood-boosting if the singles' night or neighborhood party fails: see a late movie, get dessert, record a snarky video diary about the experience you'll never post anywhere.

I want to focus on the neighborhood party/awkwardness being surrounded by families part here:
1) yes, it can be so awkward. It can always be awkward, especially because a lot of people who have kids were once single people who felt awkward without easy points of connection, and now that they have kids they're in the habit of looking for other parents because, hey, you can always tell each other about your kids! (And I really deeply suspect this has something to do with how family-dominated community events end up being, that so many single/childless adults have that experience and expectation of being Not The Target Community. )
2) Gonna encourage you to go anyway, of course. Not necessarily to befriend the people there or even do more than introduce yourself - just to meet them, know who they are when you pass on the sidewalk or wave from your porch. Not all of your neighbors will be there, after all - but if they see you and a mutual neighbor they've known for years having a chat, there's your chance for another introduction right there.

Having neighbors I know, who I can rely on and vice versa, is one of the best things about where I live now - wishing you luck in finding/building the same!
posted by Tess of the d'Urkelvilles at 11:11 AM on September 28, 2019 [2 favorites]

If you're not usually a bar person, I'd avoid singles night at the bar. If you do like bars and are a social drinker, I'd have a "OK one drink and leave" plan and then if you are having a good time, stay. I got to a local, regular trivia night at my bar and it's a great place for low-impact interaction with people as well as just getting to know people in town which is helpful. Regular events can help lower the anxiety, no matter what they are (book group at library, "pick up trash" event, whatever) and are a good way to meet other single people both in and not in your gender preference.

As far as the neighborhood thing, I'd go. You are in the neighborhood! Bring something nice (snacks, a nice side dish, something) Good social plan "Hi, I am new in the neighborhood. My name is winterportage. Nice to meet you."

other things you could say

"I grew up here in XYZ neighborhood and then moved away for $REASON and am now back here and work at ABD/going to school/Taking care of parents/something vague"

"I wanted to check out the community center and this looked like a good way. So great to see so many young families in the neighborhood"

sometimes I try to take a helping role and see if someone is setting up or cleaning up and asking if I can help. It's good to have a job. Otherwise you can wander in with a set end time (I'll hang out for 45 min and try to say hi to five people) and then, again, if things go better you can stay.

Most of my friends in this town are married (I do have an LDR) and I make social time work both by going to the bar for trivia, but also going for evening dog walks with friends (they'll text me "Hey we're going for a walk, want to come") and having friends waaaayyy outside my age range (I have friends that are 30 years older and 20 years younger than me, it can be sort of great). It may really be that dating apps suck around you, you might want to check things like Craigslist (oh gosh, do they still do personals?) or local type stuff. I don't think I would have been able to meet anyone on one, but I did meet my guy at a MeFi meetup, so ymmv.
posted by jessamyn at 11:17 AM on September 28, 2019 [4 favorites]

1. In my experience (as a man) it's only the single men that make moms clutch their children close. I have female friends who even touch strangers' children without a second thought.

2. You might meet a single father at one of these.

3. At least in the U.S., parenting is really, really hard and often lonely, so if you're willing to help out in any way, however small, you are likely to be popular.

Can't comment on the bars, but I will second everyone who said that regularity is key. Almost all of my dates, and eventually my wife, were people I met at this weekly thing I'd been attending for years.
posted by meaty shoe puppet at 12:31 PM on September 28, 2019 [1 favorite]

Married people with kids (source: I am one) like hanging with single people sometimes, and because married people with kids usually think being married is pretty great (source: I do), they often like to introduce single people they know to other single people they know. What I'm saying is, go to the neighborhood event and meet the mostly married-with-kids people because they may be your way of finding the single folks who, like you, find everybody on the app undateable.
posted by escabeche at 8:52 PM on September 28, 2019 [3 favorites]

« Older It rubs the lotion on its skin...   |   How to calculate one or two person rate Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.