Dear Dr. Romance:
I have been reading your article "The Fine Art of Squirrel Hunting". I certainly will appreciate any wisdom or guidance that you can share. I'm a minister who ministers to congregations, and I was widowed several years ago.
1. I've pretty much stopped going to any singles group functions. I think you're right when you say that they are not too productive except if they are organized around a specific activity. I don't know of any of those focused activity singles groups going on though. I'd appreciate any further thoughts you have.
2. I'm wondering if you have any further thoughts about friends introducing me to people. I'm thinking that if I would have at least some prior contact with the person they are connecting me with, that would be good, but I'm wondering about a "blind date" without having met the person before. One thing that concerns me is if I don't really pick up on someone whom a friend has fixed me up with that that could jeopardize the friendship. I'm thinking that would be a little different from my meeting someone at a friend's party and asking the friend about that person's availability. But if a friend goes out of his or her way to arrange a date, that's a lot of investment on their part. I welcome any thoughts you have about that.
3. I really like the idea of getting involved in certain activities that I would enjoy anyway, and then getting to know a number of people in the group. I probably know the answer to this, but these things take time. I certainly know the reality that you need to spend time at a goal you want to reach, but I'm wondering if you have any other particular thoughts about that.
4. On an ongoing basis, I receive invitations to speak to various groups of caregivers and trainers. These invitations come from both the nearby area and all over the country. I'm wondering if these would be good opportunities to meet people. Sometimes these speaking invitations also have a social time like dinner or even parties. Most of the time these are couples, but there are also times where single women are also present.
In the past when I have gotten invitations to speak in other cities, which typically are with individual congregations, I haven't accepted those because it has been much better that I use my time to speak with larger groups representing many congregations. But if my goal is to meet people and to have social connections, I'm thinking it would be good to accept these invitations. For example, several months ago I preached and a couple of days later spoke to a group of current and former ministers and leaders at a church in another city. Then last week I got a note inviting me to a potluck that they are having next month. I'll definitely go. I know you said something in your book about not missing an opportunity for a party.
5. I think my number one challenge at this time is meeting people. Part of it has to do with my schedule, part the fact that I had settled into a pretty comfortable life of work, family, and my late wife pretty much arranging social kinds of things. But this is something I do want to do something about.
I'm sorry for your loss, and I think it's the right time for you to find a partner. I think you're right, that the air of desperation in singles groups pretty much precludes meeting someone in a productive way. Because you are in the ministry, I think focusing on church-related social activities will be your source of success.
If your friends want you to meet someone, suggest they either bring her to a church activity where you'll be, or invite you over to dinner or a party. Blind dates are for teenagers, not for your age group. You want to meet new ladies in a group setting, where you can chat, but not feel committed to anything until you are interested.You're very interested in your vocation and in church, so that could be your social group. The key is finding something that allows you to see people repeatedly, so you can get to know them before you settle on a likely lady.
Yes, this is a good opportunity, especially the ones in your area. If this potluck is a regular thing, try to go several times. If you let the churches do the arranging, by inviting you to dinners and potlucks, I'm certain you'll find someone. You've done your grief work, you know how relationships are, and your goals are realistic. It takes some time to meet enough people to find the one you're looking for, but I'm certain you'll do it. How to Be Happy Partners: Working it out Together will help you understand how to find someone you can really succeed with. "Guidelines for Successful Dating" will also help you with this new venture. I wish you the best of luck.
For low-cost counseling, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org