Dear Annie, I'm recently divorced and am thinking about attending a singles mixer. But I'm really nervous and I am not sure what to wear. I am also worried that I'll feel awkward, that I won't find anyone interesting and that I'll get stuck talking to a loser. Leslie
Singles mixers and dances are great places to meet available men and women. While the thought of walking into a room full of strangers might feel intimidating, you're bound to feel more confident if you have a solid strategy to guide you through the situation.
Increase your confidence by looking your best
- Arrive freshly showered, well groomed and dressed to impress in well-fitting clothes that lightly skim—not hug––your body.
- Dress appropriately for the occasion.
- Wear an interesting piece of jewelry, tie or colorful scarf in order to provide a conversation point for someone who wants to meet you.
Set realistic expectations
Rather than expecting to meet The One, plan to enjoy a fun evening and interact with new people. You'll be more appealing if you have several short flirty conversations with each person spaced over intervals throughout the evening. Keep them wanting more!
Although some people go to singles events with the intention of meeting someone special, some strategies increase the possibility that they will leave feeling disappointed. Unsuccessful tactics include:
- Just waiting to be approached.
- Believing that you can tell if someone is a possible match simply by looking.
- Talking with friends rather than introducing themselves to strangers.
I advise my clients to attend singles events with the intention of talking to at least six people of the opposite sex before they leave. Successful tactics include:
- Appear friendly and approachable. Make eye contact, smile and nod to as many people as possible throughout the evening.
- Think of a short list of conversational topics. Keep it light and fun––favorite vacation destinations, spare time activities and favorite movies, books or shows. Avoid discussing dating, relationships or exes.
- Express an attitude that says that you are the host of the party and want to help others feel at ease.
- When you introduce yourself, chat for a few minutes. Then, say that you've enjoyed your discussion and that you hope to run into each other later on. If you have had good rapport, return later for a longer conversation. Repeat this pattern throughout the evening. Don't worry that you're leading people on—you are just being friendly. You are under no obligation to go on a date simply because you've enjoyed chatting with each other.
- You will be far more approachable if you move away from a conversation with your friends. Most people feel that it's rude or awkward to break into someone else's conversation.
Plan and practice your exit strategies
It can't hurt to say yes to an opportunity to get to know someone who might be interesting. After all, you can't find out much about someone over a few short conversations in a noisy environment. Once you have exchanged numbers or made tentative plans, excuse yourself by saying "I'm looking forward to seeing you again. I'm going to mingle for a bit. I'm really enjoying getting to know you."
If you want to escape from a conversation, wait for a pause, smile and say, "Excuse me, it's been fun talking with you. I'm going to mingle. I'll catch you later." If they talk non-stop, try to touch or tap them on the shoulder to get their attention.
Singles events and MeetUps are great ways to meet others. If you attend these events with the intention of getting to know a few people, rather than feeling pressured to find a date, you'll feel more relaxed and have more fun.