Where to meet a guy when you're over 30 years old?

We are living in a world of sheer unlimited possibilities. Technology has advanced to a point where we take it for granted that things happen at the tap of our fingertips - no matter what time of day. You can get pizza delivered to your door well after midnight, your phone shows you the quickest way to your client's office and even takes the traffic into account, you can talk to your friend in Australia in real time. Despite all these amazing technological advances, some things don't just happen that effortlessly - and probably never will. One of them is meeting new people, especially once you moved past the stage of frequenting the same weekly college classes or sleeping in sweaty hostel dorm rooms. As a relationship, confidence & dating coach, I get this question from my clients all the time: "Where can I meet a guy being in my thirties (or forties, or fifties for that matter)?"

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Well, before we dive into answering this, it's important to understand, what's really being asked. Usually, what's behind this question is "where can I find a guy who meets all of the criteria I have listed for a potential future partner, without having to make unreasonable changes to my already incredibly busy life?" While this answer is going to be different for everyone, I've listed the strategies that have been proven to be most successful for my clients. Some of these spots may already be your go-to place for meeting men, some will seem obvious, even though you haven't yet tried meeting someone there and some of them you probably wouldn't even have considered as an appropriate environment to potentially meet someone special. Keep an open mind and read on!

Dating apps

Speaking of technological advances and convenience, let's start with the most obvious site to intentionally meet someone: dating apps. Depending on where you live, there's a variation of apps to choose from (ok-cupid, bumble, hinge, how about we, coffee meets bagel…), but to stay within the scope of this article, let's talk about the most notorious one: good old Tinder. Yes, I know, Tinder has gotten a lot of mixed reviews. I too have more than one friend, who declared that they're "done with Tinder" cause the guys on there "are only looking for sex anyway", but just hear me out and I will show you ways to be successful with Tinder.

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As most dating apps, Tinder and the technology behind it were built to optimize the process of finding the right person and, honestly, I don't think it's fair to blame the algorithm if you're not being matched with the kind of people you're looking for. Maybe consider changing the way you use it? As an example, let's say you don't want to be attractive to people, who are looking for a one-night-stand. Well, you better not have one or more of the following photos in your profile:
* Selfies taken in the bathroom (this is actually a no-go, regardless of whether you're looking for a one-night stand or not) or in the elevator
* Photos with a red sports car (unless it's yours, then go ahead sister!)
* Photos in which you're making a duck face
* Party-photos in which you're so obviously drunk, you can almost smell the alcohol through the screen of your phone
* Photos in which you clearly care more about displaying your cleavage, than about giving the viewer a sense of what kind of things you enjoy doing in your free time.
Instead, use one good headshot and a couple of snapshots showing different parts of your life and you doing something you love: traveling, doing sports, playing with your dog, whatever it is you're proud of - it will help to start the conversation. (If you're still unsure about your photos, you can get random people on the internet to rate them for you on photofeeler.com) And then, once the matches come rolling in, ask them one simple question: "What are you looking for here?". Once you go ahead and ask them, you don't have to play the guessing game and try to figure it out from their profile description. The only important thing is, that at this point you need to be clear yourself about what you're looking for on here: meet new friends? Go on fun dates? Find a workout buddy? A travel partner? The one? There are lots of possibilities!

Online-dating

Online-dating platforms may already seem a bit old-school, since they have been around for quite a lot longer than their little siblings, the dating apps (in fact, pioneer Match.com launched in 1995!), but they're still a good way to find a partner, especially if you'd rather not have the distraction of carrying an abundance of attractive people on your phone.

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Interesting enough, many users who have a profile on a paid dating platform like www.match.com or www.parship.com, also have one on an app like Tinder at the same time. The reason they choose to pay for the membership of a platform as well, is the advantage of having more information about potential candidates and therefore the possibility of tracking down the optimal candidates through advanced search. This is both a good and a bad thing: while you might save time dating the wrong people, you can only adjust your search to factors like age, height, income, hobby, kids etc. While you might have a preference, these criteria can't tell you anything about how happy you would be with that person and you might end up ruling out the guy, who's emotionally available and shares your values, just because his income is on the lower side. Remember those lists of ideal partner traits you and your friends drew up in High School? Here's an exercise to help you come up with an adult version of that: free yourself of what you feel drawn to, of what you think you want in a partner and become clearer on what you actually need in a relationship: Make a list of the last five people you've dated or had a serious crush on. Next to this list, make a column for "things I've liked about being with this person" and one titled "things I haven't liked about being with this person". Write down five things per column, per person. Put the list away and revisit it after a couple of days. Keep adding things to it, if you have new thoughts. Pick the top five things out of each column, that are most important to you and there you have your real-life-approved want-list and no-go-list. Does this update your search criteria on your online-dating platform?

According to Match.com: The kind of partner people said they were looking for didn’t match up with the kind of partner they were actually interested in.

Online networks

While dating apps and websites have a lot of advantages (being guaranteed to be shown single people, who are actively looking for a relationship, instead of having to approach ten random people before someone starts flirting back is kind of a biggie), there could be plenty of reasons, why you are not (yet) ready to put your face on an online dating website. So if you're still not convinced, there are alternative digital spaces where you can be successful in finding a partner! Try networking websites like www.Meetup.com, www.Internations.org or www.asmallworld.com - they organize differently themed (networking-)events and have a group for every possible interest. It's usually free and super easy to sign up. Once you're at an event, you will likely find a friendly atmosphere and lot's of really open people, who share an interest. Plus you get bonus networking skills practice!

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A client of mine was particularly successful at meeting men at Meetups. As you might have guessed, she neither went to a cooking event nor an embroidery class - she went to one completely opposite of the places she usually frequencies: a workshop on innovative technology and blockchain. Out of the roughly 20 participants, she was the only woman and while everyone pretended to look at the powerpoint slides, she started to sense that all attention was on her. When driving off the location’s parking lot after having left the event before everyone else, wondering why the discussion had already stretched for thirty minutes past the advertised end time, she noticed everyone else leaving the building. They had all made an effort to keep the conversation going and now that she, the most interesting part of the night had left the event, all the other participants had suddenly lost interest in discussing blockchain. Her pocket filled with business cards handed to her during the breaks with words like “Call me if you have any more questions about blockchain and maybe we can grab a drink”, she contently drove home. Just like my client, you don’t have to pick a topic you already have experience in. Instead, go to a Meetup that’s totally new to you - it’s enough to be interested! Go there, ask questions, be open, relax! Take advantage of the fact that networks like these don’t put you under the same (time-)pressure as official dating platforms. No one is going to expect anything from you, not even after the third time you’ve seen them. Similarly effective, yet more advanced are "fun clubs" or other Facebook pages.

A good friend of mine sat in front of her computer in the middle of Russia, when she met the love of her life (who lived in England at the time) on - try not to laugh - the "Modern Talking fun club" Facebook page. Can you imagine a funnier story of how you met the man of your dreams? They are now happily married and have amazing kids (Yep, I wouldn't have thought something so beautiful could possibly come into existence because of "Modern Talking" either).

Adults-only hotels

Even though life and it's stories have made me a believer in online dating, I'm not going to deny possible downsides that meeting your spouse online may have for you. Thankfully there are plenty of other places where you can find love, one of them being hotels and resorts. If you don't want to end up in between prepubescent kids mindlessly splashing water at you while leaping into the pool and their frustrated mother yelling at them from the sun chair next to you, make sure you check in at an adults-only resort. Some travel companies even have resorts in their repertoire that are especially reserved for singles and their friends. One of the most famous companies offering this is Club Med, whose resorts provide countless possibilities to meet new people face to face, and who knows…?

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Having been to these types of resorts myself a number of times, there's one last insider tip I'd like to give you before you book: be aware that during the time that colleges are on breaks, the average age of guests will be around 25 years. So unless you're really into college kids taking full advantage of the open bar at 11 am, you should probably aim for the beginning or end of the season to surround yourself with a more mature audience. I accompanied a friend of mind to a beautiful resort in Turkey one summer. Sure enough, she met a cute guy, started flirting with him and we hung out every day. We had so much fun (there are literally thousands of fun things to do at these resorts), the week just flew by. While my friend and that guy were into each other enough to exchange their contact information, soon after arriving back at home, they stopped talking. A year went by and nothing really happened. Fast forward to the next summer: we were stoked about spending another week at our now favorite resort. And who did we run into at the bar after our first dinner? Yep. Her handsome guy. They’ve decided to not waste another year and have been in a very romantic long distance relationship ever since. He’s currently planning to switch offices to her city in Switzerland so that they can built a life together. Modern love sometimes means love at second sight.

Themed vacations

In case you want to avoid the resort life all together, there are other types of vacations designed for people above thirty travelling solo or with friends. Over the last decade, countless travel agencies (like www.gadventures.com) organizing trips for every imaginable interest have sprouted. Whether you're into yoga, cycling, hiking, cooking, sailing, skiing, partying, languages, tennis, meditation, cities, golf, surfing, painting, cruises, diving, snorkeling, eating or simply sunbathing - the list of possibilities is sheer endless. In case you do meet someone, having a common interest will give you a head start in bonding over it and getting to know one another. In case you don't, you'll at least get to look forward to a full week of fun, doing something you enjoy. And this is the reason why it's so important you sign up for an activity you truly like (or are at least excited about trying), because, seriously, how bitter would it be if you got there, realized right away that you're not interested in any of the men there and on top of that were stuck participating in an activity that you find boring?

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One of the most amazing couples I know met on a trip like this. When Sarah, who I’ve been friends with for years, went on a trip to Thailand, she decided to partake in a week of sailing adventures. Now, if you’re picturing a luxurious yacht and everyone posing in their designer bikinis on deck while sipping Martinis, you’re thinking in the completely wrong direction: the boat had no showers, no bathrooms, no kitchen or any other type of facility. There were no comfortable cabins with big beds, they all slept on deck - every night, for one week. When they got up in the morning, they simply dipped into the crystal clear waters for their morning fresh-up, when they got hungry they dropped anchor at a nearby fishing village and checked out the street food stands. Sarah told me that this experience has not only irrevocably changed her notion of what “clean” smells like, but sharing a 48-foot catamaran with ten other people day and night has also transformed her concept of “closeness”. Sarah and her now-husband Luca, are two of the four people out of this group, who ended up marrying each other after they met on this trip. The reason I’m telling you Sarah and Luca’s story is to illustrate, that you can find love in the most unexpected places. You might think budget sailing trips through Thailand are only for Australian college students, but then why would outstanding professionals, who are always on the go like Sarah and successful swiss business owners like Luca go there? Was Sarah going on that trip to find herself a wealthy guy? Well, no. She went on that trip because she loves adventure, because she’s open to trying things, she’s never done before (like going a week without showering) and because she was excited to meet like minded people. You don’t need to fly business class in order to meet ambitious and enthusiastic people. You will find them doing what you love.

Clubs and classes

Your budget is tight, or you want to make sure you meet someone, who lives in the same community? No problem, you don't have to travel to faraway places for a chance to meet someone, who shares your interests. Check out the community centers and sports clubs in your area and sign up for a weekly class.

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One of my close friends made it even more convenient for herself and started her own running club at her company. For full disclosure, she didn’t do this to meet a significant other - she had just moved to town and was happy about meeting pretty much anyone. But that doesn’t mean that this wouldn’t work to meet a guy. Organize a language exchange, a monthly bar tour, Sunday city walks, board game nights or whatever else sparks your interest!

The professional environment

Did you know that about 30% of relationships start in the work environment? Even more promising is the fact, that relationships sparking in the office are more likely to advance to marriage than relationships that begin in any other environment - even more likely than when the couple meets through friends!

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If you work at a small company or already unsuccessfully had coffee in every department's kitchenette, it might be time to sign up for workshops, seminars or conferences in your field. This is a great way to meet people, because unless you hate what you're doing, you should already share a common interest and, on top of that, attendees generally come by themselves and are therefore more open to getting to know the other participants. During sessions, you will most likely be asked to work together as a group and then you already have topics to chat about during coffee breaks.

Lunch

One of my clients came up with this next idea during a very fun coaching session: ever since she's been a teenager, she had set her mind on dating a doctor. After a couple of detours, she found herself single at 35 years old and was determined that now was going to be the time. So she dedicatedly went to the hospital cafeteria every single day for lunch. It took her about a month until she felt ready to ask people if she could sit with them and, sure enough, after another couple of weeks she did meet a doctor. Weather it's the hospital, the university, the coffee shop next to the prestigious consulting firm or the bistro in the television studio, become a regular for lunch and don't be afraid to chat people up!

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The gym

Chances are you already frequent this place, so if you really have no extra time to invest for a wine tasting class, use the places you already go to during your day to day life - except, from now on, do it with your eyes open.

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Most people hit the gym right before or after work, they go straight to the locker room, throw their stuff in a locker, put earbuds in, bang out however many sets of whatever workout is popular right now, run a few miles with their mind elsewhere and then leave without having said a single word to anyone or even without having made eye contact with anyone. Try to slow down a little! Bring an extra 15 minutes and look around, make it a habit to chat with the other regulars on your way in. People are more likely to approach you after they've had the chance to observe you interact with others. And again, don't be afraid to walk over to someone and initiate a conversation.

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