“Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match / Find me a find, catch me a catch.” We’ve come a long way from the era depicted in the classic musical Fiddler on the Roof, when parents routinely hired someone to find their adult children a “perfect match.” We’ve now got the freedom to be our own matchmakers, but there’s still a catch. It’s not always an easy task! Consequently, many singles are enlisting the help of professional cupids whose business is bringing together compatible couples.

Today’s matchmakers work hard for their money—and they demand a lot of it. Prices for these pros run steep, and only a select few singles are affluent enough to afford the service. But you get what you pay for, and matchmakers are selective about their clientele, finding them via referrals as well as by scouring cocktail parties, political fundraising events and charity balls. Then comes an extensive one-on-one interview and background check. “I’m more than a matchmaker. I become a friend to my clients,” says New York-based matchmaker Barbra Brooks. “I’m available to them at all times. After each arranged date, I interview both people for feedback, which I pass on—diplomatically, of course.” Over the past 16 years, this personalized approach has resulted in “hundreds of marriages and at least 40 babies,” adds Brooks.

No need to be wistful, though, if you can’t afford to hire a matchmaker of this caliber. We’ve asked Brooks and three other exclusive matchmakers for their best tips on how to find love. Here’s what they have to say:

1. Be realistic. “If you look like Roseanne, don’t fixate on finding a Tom Cruise look-alike,” says Brooks. “I also tell women who seem to be on a money hunt—that is, looking exclusively for men with big bucks—they’ll have to change their attitude if their goal is a long-term relationship. Men can sense right away if you’re out for their wallet, not their personality.” In the long run, the most priceless attributes you should want in a mate are not looks and/or money but a loving heart, dependable nature and commitment to you.

2. Be a hot mama, not a prospective mama. “Men have a radar for detecting women who are baby hungry,” warns Christie Kelleher, director of the New York office of Kelleher & Associates, an upscale matchmaking service for successful professionals. Kelleher, whose service has brought together about 6,000 marriages in 19 years, adds, “He’s thinking, ‘Whoa—I don’t even know your middle name, and I already know the colors you want to paint your kid’s nursery.'” Your best bet: no baby talk!

3. Make dating a priority. Janis Spindel, the self-described “cupid in a Chanel suit” and president of the New York-based Janis Spindel Serious Matchmaking service, suggests that clients approach finding the right man as they would a job hunt. The key is to always be prepared because you never know when or where you’ll meet someone. Wear clothes that make you feel attractive and plan ahead for interesting conversation. “You also need to change your routine,” adds Spindel, who in the last 10 years has brought together more than 300 marriages and 400 monogamous couples. “Don’t get your newspaper delivered. You might meet someone at the newsstand.”

4. Nix the ex talk. On the first few dates, Brooks advises her clients to excise the desire to tell the new man all about the previous boyfriend. If your ex was fabulous, your date will feel he can’t measure up. But if you bash your ex too much, your date could think, Whoops—she might be talking about me that way in a few months! Similarly, you should be wary of a man who can’t stop talking about his former paramour. If he’s still hung up on her, his heart has no room for you.

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5. Neurotics needn’t apply. You both need to be emotionally healthy to forge a successful relationship, says Neil Clark Warren, Ph.D., who founded a cyber matchmaking service called eHarmony.com in 2000. For instance, it’s not a good sign if you’re in the relationship primarily because you’re frightened of being alone. It’s equally bad if your guy looks as longingly at the gin bottle as he does at you. Or if he’s morbidly depressed. Don’t fall into the codependent trap and think you can “heal” him. It’s smarter to look for a man who doesn’t need healing.

6. Mind your manners. Men are understandably appalled when their bright, attractive, funny date suddenly does something tacky like ripping a piece of bread in half and putting the other half back in the bread basket or applying lipstick at the table. “Men also find it gauche when the woman calls for the check,” says Brooks. “The man wants to do the summoning of the waiter and the paying of the bill.” Spindel also warns against a few more etiquette faux pas: “Be on time, shut off your cell phone, look him in the eye, not down at the floor. Don’t ask him too many questions about his job. He’ll think you’re a gold digger.” You don’t need to be Emily Post, but if you display the sensitivity of a lamppost, don’t be surprised if the first date is the last one.

7. Similarity breeds success. “This doesn’t mean you’ve got to marry your clone. But when you’re getting to know someone, ask yourself if you and he have the same core values,” says Warren, also the author of Date…or Soul Mate? How to Know If Someone Is Worth Pursuing in Two Dates or Less. “Think money, intelligence, lifestyle and sense of humor,” he says. And think really hard if your major life goals mix well. Both of you need to agree on the merits or disadvantages of marriage, making babies and whether to aspire to living in a tree house or a penthouse. These are things that you can start finding out in as little as a date or two.

8. Present a challenge. “Let the guy know you like him, but don’t take his initial interest as a signal to latch on to him right away,” Kelleher suggests. She points out that “three dates do not a relationship make.” We’re not talking The Rules here—don’t hesitate to return his call in a timely fashion. But don’t build your social life around him (for example, keep your Friday night theater subscription with your friend Beth) and don’t press him to talk about his “feelings.” Do make it clear that while he’s a welcome addition to your life, he is not the whole enchilada. This is all subject to change after you have been dating awhile and the relationship has become more serious.

9. Don’t be a babbling brook. Sure, you’ve got a host of charming stories, but save some for the second date. “Men really want to occasionally get a word in edgewise,” says Brooks. Women should pace themselves and think of about two to three great stories to tell on their date. But don’t go overboard talking about yourself!

10. Sunny side up. “My male clients bemoan the lack of warmth that women project,” says Kelleher. “Guys say many women clearly don’t want their date to give them a hug or open the door.” Lower your guard, flex those lips into a smile and be nice.

11. Be a girl. Leave your professional persona at the office. “My male clients also complain that women often come across as masculine—dressing in stiff suits and debating their date on everything from what wine to order to world affairs to who gets the check,” says Kelleher. (Let him.) In other words: It’s a date, not a boxing match.

12. Look beyond his good looks. Don’t be dazzled by a handsome face and buff bod. Is this guy worthy of winning your heart? “How good is he at relationships? How does he treat his mother? How does he get along with siblings, cousins and friends?” asks Brooks. If the answer to those questions is not too well, take heed. Once he is confident of your affections, he might revert to type and treat you like everyone else he “cares” about.

13. Be mindful of that ole black magic. At first glance you felt more of an urge to hold his hand than jump his bones? That’s not a terrible sign: Physical attraction can deepen as you really get to know and trust each other. But there must be an ember of initial attraction to build from. Without any chemistry, Warren says, you’re better off as friends.

14. Hold out before having sex. Spindel is adamant that you should forego sex at least for a little while. The matchmaker feels that until your guy is ready to commit at least part of his soul, you’re better off not committing your entire body. Her rationale: “Ideally you should wait until you’ve had the discussion about not seeing other people. That way you’re sure he’s operating more out of love than lust.”

15. Go with the flow. The real key to making it as a couple, says Warren, is that both people are willing to compromise. If one or both partners must always have their way and are threatened by even small changes, trouble will soon be brewing. For example, if he suddenly has to work late on a night you were hoping to cook him dinner, be understanding of his need to be flexible and have him come over for coffee instead of the main course. Of course, he should be really sorry for the change in plans and should want to make it up to you.

Sherry Amantenstein is a contributing writer for iVillage. Follow her on Google +.

A version of this story originally appeared on iVillage.

How to Get a Boyfriend: 10 Proven Tips To Get The Guy You Want

If there’s one topic I get asked about the most it’s how to get a boyfriend.

I understand. When you’re single and looking for a quality partner, it can be frustrating when you don’t find someone right away. And the more you want it, the more desperate you can get in wanting a boyfriend. The more desperate you are…well…the less likely you are to attract a man. It’s a Catch 22 situation.

But I’m here to tell you that, with a little patience and the tips below, you will find a boyfriend. You’ll find an amazing guy that you don’t have to settle for because he’ll be everything you want in a man.

How to Get a Boyfriend Tip 1: Be Confident and Show It

There’s nothing more attractive to a man than confidence.

Even if inside you feel desperate and lonely, I want you to work toward projecting total confidence. It can take time, so if you don’t feel confident today, realize you need to work up to it. But men love confident women. A confident woman seems like she can take care of herself. She doesn’t appear to need a man but rather wants one in her world.

A confident woman is sexy. Desirable. Worth putting effort into winning over.

Don’t you want to come off as that woman?

I thought so.

Here are a few ways you can boost your confidence and improve your ability to get a boyfriend:

  • Smile at yourself in the mirror. Tell yourself you are beautiful every time you see your reflection. No one has to hear you!
  • Wear clothes you feel amazing in, even if you’re just going to the grocery store
  • Pull your shoulders back when you walk
  • Pretend you own the place when you walk into a room

How to Get a Boyfriend Tip 2: Take Your Time

I know you want to figure out how to get a boyfriend today, but girl, you need to be patient. I know that isn’t what you want to hear, but understand that the next man who will be your boyfriend is out there somewhere. But right now, he may not be emotionally ready to connect with you. He might be in another relationship. Hell, you might not actually be ready for a relationship.

When it’s right, it will happen.

When you try to rush finding love, you may waste a lot of energy bemoaning the fact that you’re single and complaining about how there are no men left. What do you think this energy does for you?

Nothing.

In fact, it may even prevent you from finding a boyfriend. You’ve heard the saying like attracts like? If you spend all your energy complaining about being single, you’re creating negative energy. It’s like filling your body up with junk food. These junk thoughts impact what you attract. If you complain about being single, you’ll stay single. Or you’ll attract the wrong kind of guy simply because you don’t want to be alone.

So go slow. Learn to accept the fact that sometimes you will be alone. There’s nothing wrong with it. Embrace it. More on that in a minute. But first, a few ways you can learn to take your time as you learn how to get a boyfriend.

  • Realize that being single is a temporary situation. It might last a week…or a year. But it’s not permanent.
  • Watch movies like How to Be Single that show an upbeat view of single life.
  • Maintain high standards when talking to men. Just because you want a boyfriend doesn’t mean the next guy who messages you on Tinder is the one.

How to Get a Boyfriend Tip 3: Get a Life

Staying active will fill up your time and make you feel fulfilled.

Okay, let’s talk more about embracing being alone. I know it seems counterintuitive to finding a boyfriend, but bear with me.

It’s shocking how uncomfortable humans are with being alone. In a study published in Science Magazine, researchers found that, given the choice of sitting quietly with their thoughts or electroshocking themselves, an overwhelming number of participants chose the shocks.

Are you wigging out as much as I am about this??

Somewhere along the way, mankind decided that the only way to assign value to ourselves was to be surrounded by other people or in relationships. Who are you if there’s not someone nearby to tell you that you’re awesome?

Really?

You are awesome, and you don’t need a boyfriend or even to constantly go out all the time to prove it. But you may need to change your mindset and even your habits to ensure that you’re not sitting around feeling lonely.

The best way to find a boyfriend is to not be looking for one. Get a life. Be active. Do things you love. And then, when you least suspect it, someone great will come along. You might meet a guy at your hiking group’s weekly meetup, or at the coffee shop. But you won’t meet him if you’re sitting at home crying about it.

Here are a few ways you can get a life and stop focusing on wanting a man:

  • Pick up a new activity. Exercise is a great place to start. Rock climbing, anyone?
  • Find things to do alone that you love. Check out a great book. Rent a movie. Give yourself a manicure. Make this a habit.
  • Go out with friends…just don’t do it every night of the week.

How to Get a Boyfriend Tip 4: Be Open to Opportunity

Like I said in the last tip: you could meet a fantastic guy just about anywhere.

He could be the cutie who stops to ask you what you’re reading in the park.

He might be your next dance partner at the club.

He could be your brother’s best friend.

He might show up at your next business mixer.

You’ll notice that in all these scenarios, you are out and about when these opportunities arise. Again, they’re not happening for you at home! Yes, online dating is a tool you should consider, but you’ll maximize your chance of finding a boyfriend if you are open to the possibility at all times.

So how can you be more open to opportunity?

  • Put effort into looking nice whenever you leave the house. I’m not saying put on your full war paint, but clean, flattering clothes and brushed hair are a start!
  • Say yes to invitations for events you might not otherwise want to go to.
  • Smile! Every time you see an attractive man, smile at him. That way, he’s not scared off by your resting bitchy face.

How to Get a Boyfriend Tip 5: Be Ready to Commit to the Process

Online dating should be just one thing you’re dedicated to exploring.

I always say that dating is not for the faint of heart. You can put a lot of effort into talking to guys, then going on dates, and they may never pan out. You may start to get jaded and think, if I have to get all dolled up for yet another bad date, I am going to hurl!

But look at it like this: think about the last time you were job hunting. I bet you put a lot of time and energy into scouring those job ads, reading them, and applying for the ones you liked. Then you had several interviews, only one of which was a job offer.

You see where I’m going with this?

Dating takes dedication. You can’t put in 10 minutes a week and then throw your hands up and scream, I give up! There’s no one for me!

You’ve got to be ready to commit. It will take time. It will take emotional energy. Some days, you’ll want to give up, and that’s okay. On those days, I say just take a break. Spend some time by yourself or with friends and don’t think about how to get a boyfriend. You can pick up your efforts when you’re ready.

Just don’t expect results if you’re not ready to put in the effort. Here, a few guidelines:

  • Be open to all channels, including singles mixers, online dating, and meeting through friends.
  • Dedicate several hours a week to attending events and looking online.
  • When you get discouraged, back off. Have some time away from the process, then get back to it.

How to Get a Boyfriend Tip 6: Be Open to Who You Meet

Another mistake I see a lot of women make is not giving a guy a chance. This happens a lot online, where first impressions mean a lot. But in reality, guys can suck at taking good profile pics or writing their bios. So if you’re judging them by that, you might miss out on some great guys.

And even if you don’t hit it off with a man you’re on a date with, you never know where that relationship could go. A lot of dates that fizzle out end up creating great friendships.

I know a woman who went out with a man she met on OKCupid. The chemistry wasn’t there, so they decided to be friends. He invited her to a party he was hosting, and she brought her friends. Now they’re all friends, and the ladies often ask the gentleman for advice on reading men. That’s a bonus in my book, to have a male friend who can give you a different perspective on dating than your girlfriends!

So give a guy a chance.

  • Give him a second date. Some men are incredibly nervous on a first date and don’t make a great impression. But on a second date, they’re more at ease.
  • Before you swipe left, consider at least engaging in conversation. If he’s witty and intelligent, that blurry selfie might not even matter. Plus guys are better looking in person usually.
  • Don’t be closed off when going on a date. You never know what it could turn into (business connection, he’s got a friend better suited for you, etc.).

How to Get a Boyfriend Tip 7: Flirt

How to get a boyfriend: step up your flirting game!

The best thing about being single is that you have the license to flirt. Hard. Not only does flirting boost your confidence (not to mention the confidence of the man you’re batting your eyelashes at), but it also gives you the opportunity to get better at it. Oh, and it raises your white blood cell count and strengthens your immune system.

And heads up: you might have to be pretty obvious when you get your flirt on. In a research project, it was found that only 36% of men realized when ladies were flirting with them. DUH!

Even if you have no intention of making that bartender your next boyfriend, it can feel good to flirt and be flirted with. And the possibility of scoring a free drink? Always a perk.

  • Make a point to flirt with someone each time you go out with your friends or alone.
  • Sign up for my free Flirting Workshop to get effective tips that work.
  • Smile. That’s the biggest part of flirting.

How to Get a Boyfriend Tip 8: Wait to Have Sex

When you do meet a guy that you’re into, those first few dates are pretty critical. They’re when both of you determine whether you have enough chemistry to take things to the next level, AKA a relationship. Having sex too soon can ruin your chances for this guy turning out to be a boyfriend.

Why?

Having sex too soon — like after just one to three dates — can put sex too much in the center of things between you and this guy. He may assume you’re only after a hookup or something casual when, in fact, you really want to develop a nurturing relationship.

And because many women feel more emotionally connected to a man after having sex with him, jumping between the sheets too early might make you feel like you’re into a guy more than you would be if you hadn’t slept together. In other words, sex can skew your feelings about a man. It can create a rosy glow that keeps you from seeing the flaws that ultimately mean you won’t end up together long.

So how long should you wait? Talia Goldstein, CEO of Three Day Rule, a white glove matchmaking service, says: “There are no hard and fast rules in terms of when you should be intimate with someone, but in general, it’s best to wait until you feel like you’ve made an emotional connection.”

Here are more tips to cooling your libido when you first start dating a guy.

  • Plan dates that keep you away from either of your houses. Netflix and chill is really code for “let’s get it on.”
  • If he’s pushing to get intimate, tell him you want to wait until you know one another better.
  • Keep those good night kisses short and sweet. Focus on the anticipation of when you finally do have sex! It’ll be amazing.

How to Get a Boyfriend Tip 9: Question Your Reason for Wanting a Boyfriend

You put so much energy into wanting a boyfriend…but have you considered why you want one?

Is it because you don’t want to be lonely anymore?

Because you want someone to spend your weekends with?

Because you’re horny?

Because you want to make your ex jealous?

Or is it…

Because you’re at a point in your life where you’re ready to be a great partner?

Because you want a partner to learn from and grow with?

Because you’re ready to give all your love to one man?

This second batch of reasons is perfectly legitimate. But if, when you’re really honest with yourself, you agree with some of the first batch of reasons why you want a boyfriend, I encourage you to explore those reasons. As I said before: being lonely isn’t the end of the world. It can actually be really fulfilling if you let it. If you want a more robust social life, go out with your friends or make new ones. If you’re horny, well, you don’t need a man to help with that. 😊 And if you want to make your ex jealous? Grow up. You’re better than that.

  • Want to get into a relationship because you’re ready and have love to give.
  • Only look for a boyfriend when you’re completely okay with and secure in yourself.
  • Constantly revisit your reasons for wanting a man as a reality check.

How to Get a Boyfriend Tip 10: Put Yourself Out There

It can be incredibly scary to put yourself out there, especially if you’re recently single. But I’m telling you here and now: if you’re not willing to be brave, you may not find a boyfriend as quickly as you’d like.

Creating an online profile on a dating site is scary as hell. But really, what have you got to lose? Even if you only play around with it and never go on dates, you get a feel for the tool and maybe get some good texting experience under your belt.

Walking up to a guy at a party or in a bar takes guts (imagine how we feel!). But you’ll never see him again…unless it works out. So give it a shot.

Giving a guy your number doesn’t mean you have to marry him. If he asks you out, it’s just drinks. Or dinner. Or coffee. Or whatever. You’re not signing your life away.

So just do it. Be brave and allow yourself to try things you never thought you would, all in the name of love.

Conclusion:

Be patient. Love will find you when you least expect it.

My best tip on how to get a boyfriend?

Just let it happen.

Be open, be brave, and be confident.

Your next boyfriend — who very well could be The One — is out there. The anticipation of when he’ll fall into your life is half the fun. Wake up every day happy and full of expectations. Could today be the day you meet him? Do you already know him? Allow the magic of dating and finding the right guy to fill you with enthusiasm.

After all, what’s the alternative? Sulking because you’re not partnered up? That’s no good.

I know when you have friends who are married or who are couples, it can be hard being single. But think of it like this: some of your girlfriends may envy you. Their relationships might look great from the outside, but usually, you have no idea what’s really going on. One girlfriend could be putting up with a cheater or just a loser guy, and may not be brave enough to leave him. Another may not have had sex for years.

So yea, from their perspective, your singleton life may look pretty fabulous.

So embrace it. Enjoy being able to do exactly what you want to do. No checking in with someone. No having to factor in the fact that your man is a vegan/nondrinker/introvert when you make plans. You can eat popcorn and ice cream for dinner and watch chick flicks all night. No judgment.

But one day, you’re going to meet a marvelous man. And some of what you loved about being single will go away. Certainly, you’ll trade one set of perks for another, but you may look back at your single time and be a little nostalgic.

So live in the moment, you Sexy, Confident lady. You won’t be single forever, so make the most of the time you have before Mr. Right comes along.

What tips do you have to add on how to get a boyfriend? Leave them in the comments below.

There’s no better time to work on improving yourself than right now, in your single life. Join this free training to learn how to find love this year.

Where Should Your Friends Meet Your Boyfriend Or Girlfriend For The First Time? A Dating Coach Explains

There comes a golden moment in every relationship when you’re ready for your two worlds to collide by introducing bae to your friends. You may have in mind the perfect time for a get-together (or have rehearsed all the funny anecdotes you’re going to tell), but you might still be wondering just where should your friends meet your boyfriend or girlfriend. This relationship milestone may require a lot of vulnerability — on both your end and your partner’s. But that doesn’t mean you should be nervous. It just means that you’ll need to pick a place where everyone is comfortable and where it’s easy for the ice to be broken.

Ideally, this means a very chill situation — somewhere fun and low-pressure, and where all parties can talk and get to know one another. So, go ahead and cross ragers and raves of any kind off your list. Weddings and birthday parties can be a bit dicey because it puts a lot of pressure on your SO, so play those by ear. But definitely not a funeral or any kind of big, intimidating event, especially with family to meet on top of friends. (Introducing your SO to your family is another milestone that both needs to be planned out and needs for the timing to be just right.) So, how should you go about setting up this introduction?

GIC / Stocksy

Licensed counselor and dating coach Marquita Johnson (aka the Millennial Dating Coach) says her top places for introducing your SO to friends are restaurants, parks, sporting events, concerts, and festivals. Johnson’s thought process is that you should pick a place where your friends and your beloved can engage each other, yes, but also learn about one another. Chatting about favorite foods, playing Frisbee at the park, talking smack about one another’s teams, or trading thoughts on the artist you’re seeing lays the foundation for your crew’s budding relationship with your SO. “It also allows for commonalities to emerge without feeling forced,” Johnson says. That is to say: You, your friends, and your SO get to be in that moment together.

Another situation that you can get bae and your friends together for is a game night. This can be somewhere super comfortable and casual like your house, apartment, or residence hall. It can also be at a bar where they do trivia nights. Similar to watching sports (or playing them in your local park), game nights bring about some friendly competition. And if you’re playing a game like Cards Against Humanity, your partner and your friends will get to know each other real quick!

Lauren Naefe / Stocksy

A happy hour at a very low-key bar — not the busiest one in town where you must shout to be heard — and then going to the movies isn’t a bad move. Neither is an outdoor markets with vendors that you can check out. There’s also the magical promise of the beach, if you’re lucky enough to live near one. Not only are your surroundings gorgeous, but there are so many routes you can take to make sure the meet-up goes smoothly.

You can split the crew up into teams for volleyball. You can bring food and do a little beach picnic. Everyone can take turns wading into the water or even doing water sports, if they’re about that life. It’s hard to be grumpy or lukewarm toward someone as you’re squishing sand between your toes, splash-fighting them, or clinking a cold one on a perfectly spread-out, tethered, and hopefully sand-free towel. That’s the ultimate mix of drinks, snacks, sunny conversation, and actual sunshine.

Studio Firma / Stocksy

What you’ve got to look out for is a place where there’s an opportunity to connect, but also an “out” if conversation slows or folks aren’t quite clicking. “Having another activity to engage in — eating, watching a sporting event, or enjoying nature — can provide a healthy distraction and allow for natural conversation,” Johnson says. “It helps ease potential feelings of discomfort that usually accompanies meeting new people.” That is to say, the pressure is off your friends to like your partner right away (and the heat is off your partner to be liked right away).

If it seems like one isn’t too keen on the other, don’t stress. Johnson reminds us that ultimately, we’re the ones in a relationship with our SO — not our friends. “If your friends are not head-over-heels with your significant other, don’t panic,” Johnson says. “It is OK to be open to their feedback, but know that it is your decision on who you decide to be in a relationship with.” Your friends probably have good intentions and could have a thoughtful reason as to why your SO rubs them the wrong way. But ultimately, you’ve got to trust your own gut. “No one knows you better than you,” Johnson says.

One pro-tip that Johnson gives — apart from avoiding graduations, weddings, birthday parties, and work events — is not to surprise your SO or your friends with the fact that you’re introducing them to one another. “It can be awkward for all parties involved,” she says. It’s also a good idea to touch base with your partner and see if meeting one friend at a time would be a better fit than meeting the whole crew at once.

If you are feeling anxious or nervous about picking the proper place (and just making sure everything runs smoothly), acknowledge those feelings: They’re valid. But also see the planning process as an opportunity to make some positive memories and bring your two worlds together — while having a bit of fun in the process.

How To Meet Single Men: 20 Best Places to Find Your Prince Charming

One of the most frustrating things for my female clients, especially those over 40, is knowing how to meet single men. When you’re in college, you meet guys every day, in class or at parties. But when you’re older and you focus your life on raising kids or on your career — and if your social circle is primarily married friends — it can be challenging to find opportunities to meet single men.

Technology Has Made Meeting Single Men Easier

While it can be a conundrum, trying to figure out how to meet single men, there’s one thing that can be tremendously helpful: technology. Not only can dating apps help you connect with men that fit what you’re looking for age, appearance, and career-wise, but you can also find groups on sites like Meetup.com to simply get out and meet more people, regardless of romantic potential.

If you haven’t yet braved the world of online dating, give it a shot. The great thing is that you can curate exactly who you’re looking for. If, for example, you only want to date men who are 6’5″ with dark hair who are engineers, you can set your search parameters for that! At the very least, it gives you practice talking and texting with men, which is always helpful.

Best 20 Places and Ways To Meet Single Men

Many women I know are averse to meeting men online and prefer the more natural in-person method. Still, if you’re not open to opportunities at the right time, you might miss a great guy who’s right beneath your nose!

That being said, you may have to get out of your comfort zone in order to put yourself in places where you’re more likely to meet single men. You won’t meet a guy if you always stay in with your girlfriends (unless the pizza delivery guy is your cup of tea)! So get out there. Go to new places. Try new things. At the very least, you’ll enrich your life and have great experiences.

Here are some places to consider as you figure out where and how to meet single men.

1. Dog Parks

Okay, let me just say this: if you do not have a dog, don’t hang out at a dog park. Because it’s just weird! But if you have a pooch, why not let her get some exercise while scoping out the (hopefully) single doggie dads who are there?

This strategy for how to meet single guys is such a simple one because dogs are such a wonderful conversation starter. Who doesn’t love to have people fawn over their dog? If he ends up being married or taken, at least it’s not weird that you struck up a conversation with him.

Let’s say you see a good-looking guy at the dog park every Thursday night when you take Delilah for a little ball-throwing. Toss the ball in his general direction so you have an excuse to approach. Here’s how that conversation might go.

You: “Hi there. Which one of these pooches is yours?”

Him: “The Dalmatian over there humping the tree.”

You: “Oh wow, he’s quite…exuberant. I’m Tiffany, by the way.”

Him: “Hi Tiffany. I’m Martin. Who’s this bundle of cuteness?”

And just like that, you’ve started a conversation. Just make sure to pick up Delilah’s poop.

2. Standing in Line

Do you ever stop to think about how long we spend standing in lines? Well, you don’t have to wonder because someone else already figured it out: 10 years! What a waste…unless you make the most of that time.

If you’re standing in line behind a cute guy, use a little humor to strike up a conversation:

You: “Hey, what are we standing in line for?” (smile so he knows you’re joking.)

3. On a Plane

via GIPHY

An airplane is a great place to get friendly with just about anyone, including men. It’s tricky though: the man you’re talking to may not live in your city, so you may waste your time on a guy who’s here on vacation (just look around to make sure his wife and kids aren’t sitting on the other side of him). But if the two of you hit it off, having several hours of flight time to get to know each other can be a great spark for things to come.

You: “You’re not a nervous flyer, are you? Because I’m not nervous unless other people are nervous.”

Him: “No, I travel all the time. Don’t worry; if you get nervous, I’ll hold your hand.”

4. The Gym

When it comes to trying to meet guys at a gym, there are two schools of thought:

EW. No way. I’m sweaty and wearing yoga pants.

Hm. There are definitely some hot guys at my gym…

If you’re serious about fitness, this is probably one of the places where you spend the most of your time, so why not figure out how to meet single men at the gym? If you keep seeing the same guy doing deadlifts every week while you’re killing it with squats, take a slow approach.

Week 1: Make eye contact. Smile.

Week 2: Pass him and say “hey.”

Week 3: Find an excuse to talk to him. If you use the same equipment, ask if he’s done (if he looks done). If he’s on equipment you’ve never used, ask if he can show you how to use it.

Keep in mind: you run the risk of going out with this guy and things not working out. Then what will you do about your fitness routine? Change days? Change gyms? Hopefully, it won’t come to that, but get to know him in the guy for a while first before agreeing to go on a date.

5. On Public Transportation

Another place you may spend significant time is on a bus or train commuting to work. Again, this is an opportunity to see the same guy doing the same commute, and there’s opportunity to strike up a conversation.

But realize that if you don’t take a chance, you might regret it later, like Devin Custalow did. After feeling a connection with a man wearing yellow shoes on the subway, she had a mural painted in New York City, inviting the mystery man to meet her on Valentine’s Day. The event drew a crowd…but unfortunately not the yellow-shoed man. Take this story to heart, and be brave enough to strike up that train conversation.

6. Cooking Classes

Want to know how to meet single men? Try a cooking class!

Singles cooking classes are sprouting up all over the world, and they make for a great opportunity to meet single men who, if they don’t already know how to cook, are at least making an effort to! Because cooking classes are so hands-on and involved, they make for a fantastic bonding opportunity.

Often, instructors will pair up a man and woman to partner together, which can make it even easier to get to know a guy. You could ask for tips on dicing, get his opinion on your broth, or simply make fun of his technique.

7. Language Classes

I always say the best way to meet single men is to not try! Do something you’re interested in, and if you meet someone, great! Learning a new language is a great way to stretch your brain (and prepare to visit a new country!). And you never know who else will be in the class (or teaching it).

A lot of times, language instructors will pair students up to work on an assignment together, so make sure you’re sitting next to that cutie so that you snag him as a partner.

8. Networking Events

If you’re tired of meeting scrubs with crappy jobs, realize that where you meet a man can also determine how successful he is. Professional networking events have two benefits: 1. you’ll expand your professional network and maybe find some great business opportunities and 2. you’ll meet men who are professionally-driven.

In a scientific study, researchers looked at two characteristics of men: prestige and dominance. While dominance was associated with short-term relationships, prestigious men were linked to successful long-term mating. So if you’re looking for something serious, look for a guy who’s successful and likes what he does for a living.

Just a note: networking can be tricky: I know a man who met an attractive woman at a business networking event. They exchanged numbers and set up a dinner “date.” He assumed it was romantic…but she was business-only. Be willing to spend time with this man on a professional level and see where it goes if necessary. Here are a few conversation starters that might help you gauge whether he’s interested without making a fool of yourself:

“It sounds like you work a ton! How does that impact your personal life?” (this gives him the opportunity to mention a wife or girlfriend if he has one.)

“Wow, if I had a boyfriend who worked as many hours as you do, I’d struggle with that!” (same thing.)

“So what do you do when you’re not kicking ass and taking names at work?”

9. Bars and Restaurants

Socializing at a bar is a great way to meet men.

Let me just say: this tip on how to meet single men requires a little independence because it works best if you’re alone in a bar or restaurant (though it can work if you’ve got your wing women with you). Your best strategy is to sit at the bar alone. I know; a lot of women are uncomfortable with this. But you can chat with the bartender or read a book if you’re uncomfortable. Just don’t get so engrossed in it that you don’t notice the people around you.

Be willing to strike up a conversation!

  • Ask for the salt shaker
  • Ask how a drink that a guy ordered tastes
  • Make a comment/joke about what’s playing on the tv

If you’re into sports, go to a sports bar during a big game. It’s a great icebreaker. Even if you’re rooting for the opposite team, you can still rag on the guy you’re interested in.

10. At the Beach Or Pool

Summertime is here! If you plan on being outdoors and near water a lot this summer, make the most of the opportunity, because you might just meet Mr. Right. It’s a fun, lighthearted place to be, so keep your approach the same.

“Hey there. I think your back is burning. Want me to apply some sunscreen?”

“Excuse me. I can’t reach this spot on my back. Would you mind putting some sunscreen on it?”

11.Vacations and Tourist Spots

“Excuse me, would you mind taking my photo?”

This one’s better for a short-term fling…or if you’re willing to have a long-distance relationship since more than likely a man you meet here won’t be a local.

The bonus is that you’ll have a great time exploring the touristy side of your city. So many locals don’t do what visitors to a city do, so you might find something you never knew existed right beneath your nose.

On the other hand, if you’ve been to the local theme park a dozen times, you can use that opportunity to play tour guide to a man you meet.

If you’re on dating apps, I know men who, when visiting a city, hop on to meet local women who can show them around. They may or may not be looking for a hookup. Some just like having local flavor and making new friends. And hey, if you click, you can always have him return the favor if you visit his city one day!

12. Parties

You feel like you’ve exhausted your social circle’s pool of single and available men, but you never know. Parties are a fabulous opportunity to meet friends of friends of friends. Because everyone is socializing and having a good time, there’s no pressure for the two of you to pair off…but if it happens, you can always get the scoop on what this guy is like from the friends that brought him.

If you’re too shy to introduce yourself, ask a mutual friend to do it. If you’re just a little shy, join a conversation he’s having with other partygoers. If you’re not shy at all, walk right up to him and introduce yourself. That’s that Sexy Confidence at work!

13. Active Events

Get active while meeting a great guy!

If you love getting your 5K on, this is a great way to meet single men! Mud runs, obstacle course challenges, and other active events always attract men, so if you’re physically fit and into that type of activity, why not sign up? Active men are more likely to be drawn to active women, and you’ll already know you have a few things in common.

And hey, don’t be shy about creating a little healthy competition. Just before the race or event starts, look at the guy and say something like, “Think you can beat me? Good luck with that!” then take off, leaving him in your dust.

14. Bar Crawls

Admittedly, being drunk is not the ideal situation to meet a man, but I still know people who ended up being couples after meeting on a bar crawl. The key is going with a friend and setting your limit drinkwise. Tell your friend that no matter how much you like a guy, she is not to let you leave with him! This keeps you safe…and also makes him want to connect with you sober to get to know you.

Lots of cities host singles bar crawls, so do a little searching online to see if there’s an event coming up.

If you meet a guy early in the event, pull back from drinking so much so that you can have your wits about you. And just another safety tip: if he buys you a drink, go with him to the bar so you can watch it being made. This ensures he doesn’t put anything “extra” in that drink. He probably won’t, but as they say: better safe than sorry.

15. Festivals

I live in Boston, and it seems like every weekend (especially in the spring and summer), there’s some sort of festival going on.

Music festivals.

Food and beer fests.

Craft thingies.

Not only are these events a ton of fun, but you can also meet some cool people. I especially like the food and beverage events because there’s something about walking around holding your plate and cup that just disarms people and makes it easy to have a conversation.

“Ooh. That looks good. Where did you get that?”

“What number tasting are you on? Who knew someone could have so many tiny pours of beer!”

16. Sports Clubs

Whether you’re into sailing, tennis, or rock climbing, there’s probably a club for that in your town. Not only will you stay fit, but you’ll also make friends…and maybe even successfully learn how to meet single men there. Even if you don’t meet a single guy at one of the meetups, you might later on through the network you build. Having a shared love of a given sport is a great foundation for a relationship!

17. Church

Who’d have thought church would be a place to meet someone?

If you are a churchgoing soul, never underestimate the power of the spirit. It just might move you to meet someone! The great thing about meeting a man at church is that you know you have shared values. That’s one of the key building blocks for a long and happy relationship (and even marriage), so meeting a man at church is a great start.

If you’re shy about introducing yourself, ask your pastor/priest/minister to do it. And if you don’t have a specific church you go to, look for churches that cater to people your age. Some may even hold singles mixers.

18. Weddings

What is it about weddings that brings single people together? Maybe it’s seeing a happy couple and wanting the same for yourself, but when it comes to how to meet single men, you can’t overlook the wedding!

Whether you’re in the wedding party or a guest, make sure you look your best. If you’re close to the bride or groom, you might even do a little research beforehand to find out what single guys will be there (and which to avoid). Make the most out of the party by talking to as many people as possible, dancing, and having a good time.

19. Bookstores

Men dig chicks who read! And vice versa. Bookstores may be a dying breed, but they’re still a cool place to succeed at how to meet single men. Again, meeting someone in a place that you love already tells you that you have something in common (books!).

So head to your favorite bookstore, order a chai latte, and curl up on that couch, leaving room for anyone who might want to sit next to you!

20. Co-ed Sports Leagues

Here’s another sporty way to meet men: co-ed sports leagues. Soccer, volleyball, and dodgeball are just a few examples of sports that mix men and women on a team. Playing with a man you’re attracted to gives you the opportunity to observe how much of a team player he is, as well as how he interacts with his teammates. If the team goes out for drinks after the game, get him alone for a little one-on-one conversation.

Conclusion: Important Tips When Learning How to Meet Single Men

Let’s end with a few tips to maximize your opportunity to meet single men. First of all, be willing to try new things. You will get out of your comfort zone, and that’s okay. But don’t force it. If you absolutely hate sports, don’t plop down at a sports bar and think it’s going to work. The first man you meet will realize you have no clue about football, and he’ll wonder why you’re there.

Also, be aware of who’s around you. While it’s easy to get sucked into the game you’re playing, you might not notice a guy checking you out!

And lastly, have a good time! While you should find more opportunities where you might succeed in learning how to meet single men, you should also be doing things you actually enjoy.

Let’s hear from my ladies: what tips do you have on how to meet single men? Leave them in the comments below.

Before you work on how to meet single men, step up your flirting game. Sign up today for my exclusive Flirting Workshop!

You can’t say Men’s Health is single-dimensional.

We want everyone to find that special someone. For instance, we’re happy to help women find guys.

That’s why we calculated a special Men’s Health “MetroGrades” list for Oprah, and why our editor-in-chief, Dave Zinczenko, appeared on her show on Friday to talk about it.

The topic: Where can women 35 and older find a man?

We crunched numbers on seven categories that have a bearing on how great a city might be for finding guys.

They are: ratios of single men to single women and of gay to straight; divorce rates; fitness; philanthropy; education; and our favorite, the thrill factor — places where guys and girls do the kind of fun stuff that makes hearts race and bonds form.

The winner? San Jose, California.

The city at the southern end of San Francisco Bay has the greatest concentration of single, intelligent, physically fit men who love high-adrenaline activities.

“San Jose is the heart of Silicon Valley, and technology is notoriously male-dominated,”says Jeff Thomas, who writes the column “Male Call” for the San Jose Mercury News. “There are literally throngs of guys in striped shirts and khakis on every street corner.”

And they’re not all tech geeks. There are plenty of others to choose from in this diverse city, where residents speak more than 52 languages.

The men stay in shape, too. On any of the more than 300 sunny days a year, you’ll spot muscular guys in the well-maintained public parks and on the numerous hiking and biking trails.

Great weather and hot, successful men — what more could you ask for?

Read about the rest of the top 5 on the following pages. For the entire country, go to our interactive map.

No. 2

Salt Lake City, Utah

Utah’s capital offers a world-class mix of art and culture, from the world-famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir to the Sundance Film Festival.

“Salt Lake City men are creative daters,” says Sarah Nielson, a Utah blogger and dating columnist for In Utah This Week. “I’ve had everything from rogue camping trips to last-minute road trips to Las Vegas.”

The national and state parks provide the perfect playground for hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking, and, of course, skiing and snowboarding. During the warmer months, the Great Salt Lake is the place to swim, sail, boat, or kayak.

“Men in Salt Lake City are often more laid-back and much more relaxed than men in more fast-paced cities,” Nielson says. And the many outdoor summer concerts, movies, and special events are perfect for a casual date.

No. 3

Arlington, Texas

Smack-dab between Fort Worth and Dallas, Arlington has a transient population looking for love.

“We have all these new, lonely people in the middle of a metropolitan area,” says O.K. Carter, a columnist for the Star-Telegram. “If you want a cowboy who writes poetry, you can find him. If you want a doctor who rides Harleys, you can find him.”

Everything’s bigger in Texas — including the hearts of Arlington men. Guys here invest more of their disposable income to charities than most, and they’re down-to-earth.

“There are some really friendly guys here,” says Diane Brandon, vice president communications and research for the Arlington Convention and Visitors Bureau. “I’ve gone on dates with men I met at Starbucks or Whole Foods Market because they’re approachable.”

There are tons of other male-dominated places to find a mate, including the Rangers Ballpark, River Legacy Park, and Six Flags Over Texas.

No. 4

Raleigh, NC

This corner of the Research Triangle is full of smart, successful singles (third highest in college degrees.

“We have the combination of the high tech, the universities — the sharp minds — and the southern hospitality of the region,” says Martin Brossman, a life coach in Raleigh.

“There’s so much new business in the area that the 21-35 demographic is growing out of control,” says Warren Hall, director of sales and marketing for ZSpotlight, an online entertainment guide. “We’re seeing a great influx of new people.”

Outdoor activity is high on the list for Raleigh men, whether it’s hiking, canoeing the Neuse River, or teeing it up at legendary Pinehurst, 65 miles away.

Hit the Mellow Mushroom for pizza, Prime Only for steak and seafood, and, afterward, maybe Amra’s, an upscale cigar bar — this is tobacco country, after all.

No. 5

San Francisco, California

Fog-veiled mornings, the Golden Gate Bridge — it’s easy to see why this city is one of America’s most romantic.

“There are so many straight single men in San Francisco, it’s shocking,” says Violet Blue, a sex educator and sex columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle.

With a dot-com resurgence, “We’re getting the overflow from Silicon Valley of guys that want to meet women. There’s definitely a buyer’s market for women here.”

San Francisco was top-ranked in the categories of education and fitness.

“I really like a lot of the bars around the Financial District,” says London-import Will Simonds, a marketing manager for Urban Division, an adventure social club. “People tend to go there after work and they all share the same interests.”

Blue notes that everything is online now. “There are a bunch of sites not even for dating, but for flirting,” she says. “A lot of people tend to use social networks here, even Flickr. Tons of people meet on Flickr and meet up in the real world in any of the amazing bars we have.”

And what about the gay question? It’s a big plus, Blue says: “The people who move here and people who live here have a much more open mind. We definitely have a lot of conservatives, but they know they have to get along with a lot of different people.”

Brittany Risher Brittany Risher is a writer, editor, and digital strategist specializing in health and lifestyle content.

Male Take: 5 Surprising Spots To Meet Great Guys (NOT The Bar!)

Where can you meet single men? Five places to meet good guys.

I was having a conversation with one of my single female friends the other day — in fact, I was having the conversation with her, since it’s one that I seem to have with all the single women I know at some point or another: We were trying to figure out what kind of guy she should go for, who would make her happy for the long haul and where she should find him.

When you consider how most any woman can pick up guys very easily (typically much more easily than they think — trust me!), it would seem that it’s just a matter of picking up the right ones — and having the relationship be more than just sex. No small feat though, right?

But think about it: one reason you might think it’s hard to pick up guys is because you’re trying to pick up the most desirable-seeming candidate in any situation: the most handsome, best-dressed, wittiest, or whatever guy in the room. But if you identify him that way, a lot of other women probably do, too. With guys like that, not only is there more competition, but the fawned-upon dude is likely to be spoiled. That often makes him not such a good choice. And if you were to look to someone less obvious, your chances would go way up.

It’s been said many times, but the human tendency to reach for the stars often gets in the way of the more-than-good-enough that might be staring us in the face. We desire something and get unhappy when we don’t get it, but if we removed that “perfect” mental image from our heads, we might be completely content with what is actually at hand.

So where do you go to meet decent guys? The answer, of course, is not bars. Going to bars works for drunken hook-ups (and, hey, sometimes that might be what the Dr. ordered) but for something more promising, you need to be sober and talking to someone who isn’t just out for a wasted romp.

Here are five tried-and-true places to meet guys more likely to be good relationship material.

1. In a class. Your local community college and organizations like the YMCA offer a lot of courses for adults— and they’re great places to meet new people. Think about it: any guy who’s taking a class is clearly into self-improvement. He’s striving and curious: two great characteristics in anyone. If it’s a cooking class, the benefits are obvious. If it’s a language class, he probably wants to travel (you see where this is going). And having signed up for the same subject, the two of you clearly share an interest. There’s literally no better place to meet men than in the classroom.

2. Volunteering. Not only are you doing good, but you’ll meet a lot of new people. Granted, the woman to man ratio probably won’t be so good, but you can rest assured that the guys doing the volunteering have good hearts.

3. A potluck — at your place. Potluck dinner parties are great low-key events and perfect for meeting potential dates. Host one at your place and ask your friends to bring along their favorite single guys. But be sure to tell them that it’s no set-up; you just want to meet them and see if there’s chemistry. Because you’re not in a loud bar or restaurant, it will be much easier to really chat and get to know them and you’ll also be able to judge them on how well they cook or what wine they bring.

4. Hardware store. What easier way to start a conversation than by asking what you need to install a dispose-all in your sink? Employees at the hardware store are friendly and available to talk to. And they may not make a lot of money, but they sure can be useful. Not into the employees? Ask that cute guy in the plywood aisle if he knows which shelves you should install in your closet.

5. Coffee shop. It’s in your neighborhood, which can suggest shared interests or tastes. And you can judge from the book he’s reading or the computer he’s typing on if you go for the same things. You probably want to go scouting on the weekends, though; guys who are there mid-week might well be unemployed.

The point, of course, is to be out and about. The more new situations you put yourself in, the more guys you meet. And, as we all know, face-to-face evaluations are a lot more telling than pics and stats on your computer screen. In the long run, you’ll save a lot of time if you meet your men during everyday life rather than on the internet. Happy hunting!

Contributor

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