Sunday, December 28, 2008

Dating Guide for 2009: Eight Steps to Finding True Love

2008 is winding down and New Year's Eve is coming fast. You'll blow the horns, make a few toasts. It'll be another New Year's party with no one you really want to kiss at midnight. Another lonely year staring you in the face.

But it doesn't have to be that way. In fact, 2009 can be the year you find the love of your life.

You can create the stuff of your dreams by making a simple shift that changes the way you date this year. You can make a resolution right now, right here as you read this dating guide, to find new love that is better than any relationship you have had before.

For singles, the chances of finding a mate could be better than ever! The average marriage now lasts under seven years, and this means new singles are coming on the scene all the time. In fact, around 16 million people are now using online dating in the U.S. You have a lot of singles to choose from.

So go on, make the affirmation. Something like, "I will find a mate who is just right for me." Here is an eight-step action plan that can make your resolution a reality in 2009:

1. Prioritize Finding Love. Imagine if you didn't have a job. Looking for one would be your top priority. You would spend hours searching sites like Yahoo! Hotjobs, calling recruiters, and jumping on any leads.
In contrast, finding love ranks pretty low on your to-do list. You come home from work, run errands, call your friends, watch your favorite show, and maybe spend 15 minutes browsing your online dating site. Most singles are better at planning their weekend than planning their dating life.
Yet study after study has shown that relationships are treasured above all else when we reflect on what has meant the most in our lives. So make finding a mate a top priority.

2. Have a 'New You' Party. Invite friends over for a New You party where they give you a makeover. Let them go through your clothes, getting rid of unflattering stuff and putting together some hot new looks for you. Find a look that makes you feel great.
Tell your friends you are looking to meet someone special. Email the same message to any other buddies who did not make the party.

3. Work Your Online Dating Site. Throw out your old photo and profile. Have a friend who is a good photographer take 100 headshots of you in order to get one that looks especially warm, attractive, and inviting. Get some opposite-sex friends to help you pick out the best photo and work on your dating profile. After you post them, spend at least three hours a week looking around the site, sending and responding to messages, and connecting by phone and in person with people. Block out time in your daily calendar to work the site.

4. Go Where the Odds Are Better. Sign up for two ongoing classes or activities that interest you and have lots of singles in them. Finance courses, rock climbing, golfing, snowboarding/skiing, and hiking are great for meeting single men. Single women are plentiful at cooking classes, yoga, and spirituality workshops.
Coed city sports teams are great and usually have an even mix of genders. Look into volunteering for a local or national political group. There are many other activities to consider, so search online, or go to and peruse their groups.

5. Meet New People. Say hello to three new men or women every day. Assuming you are in a safe or public place, make eye contact, smile, say hi or ask for some help. This is what I call the Marcia Cross Technique. Actress Marcia Cross was in her forties when she met her husband by chatting with him in a flower shop. She now is the ecstatic mother of twin baby girls.
You can start with saying hello to the less threatening types and work your way up to the ones who are "out of your league." You will be surprised how receptive the cuties can be!

6. Date Against Type.
Most singles do not find love with the type of person they imagine for themselves.
Most singles do not find love with the type of person they imagine for themselves. The guy who wants a petite blonde winds up with a brainy brunette. The woman who dates starving artists marries a rich, balding lawyer. Look at photos and profiles that you would ordinarily take a quick pass on. Try and experiment. You may be very happily surprised!

7. Go for a Second Date. Even if you are not exactly blown away by a person on the first date, remember to stay open. You cannot know what secret goodies are hidden in someone just by meeting them once. You have to let a potential partner unfold and show you his/her different sides. If there is any connection with this person at all, give it another chance. Love almost always comes in a surprise package.

8. Open the Door. If you do meet someone and have a really good time, send a quick text or email the next morning to let the person know that the door is open to getting together again. This is especially important for women to do. Write something specific about the date that points to the connection between the two of you or refers to something you both loved.
Now you have your love resolution and plan. Most importantly, commit to the first step and make finding a mate your top priority. Then follow the recommended program to create the love you want in the coming year. Chances are, by next New Year's Eve you'll be kissing the one you want.

For the latest research on singles finding love, read my new book, "Love in 90 Days: The Essential Guide to Finding Your Own True LGuide to Finding Your Own True Love."

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