Relationships and Love

Love in Your Own Backyard

Being off Online Dating has its merits. Being off Online Dating also has its minuses.

Let’s start with intention: You know that when you contact a person (or being contacted) that there is some sort of romantic intention in the meeting of a stranger. There are classifications of intention:

a. Mr. Playboy looking for Recreational Sex

b. Mr. No Strings Attached

c. Mr. I Am Not Sure Yet

d. Mr. I Am Looking For a Real Relationship (but no marriage)

e. Mr. I Am Looking for a Long-Term Relationship (and possible marriage)

Not to be one-sided, I hear from my single guy friends they experience some of the same with women:

a. Women don’t really know what they want

b. Women won’t tell us what they want

c. Women say they want a relationship and then don’t.

Feel free to add to the list men. I want to hear from you! But getting back to intention in Online Dating-you at least know when meeting this person that they want something in the way of romance and love.

With Offline Dating it’s all about guessing when you meet a new person. Are they:

a. Single?

b. Interested in a romantic relationship?

c. Available?

Where do you meet potential dates when you are no longer swiping through a bunch of photos on Tinder or reading in-depth profiles on Match or Plenty of Fish? In your own back yard! The fancy word for it is propinquity.

Propinquity: The state of being close to someone or something; proximity: he kept his distance as though afraid propinquity might lead him into temptation.technical close kinship. Webster’s dictionary

In social psychology, propinquity (/prəˈpɪŋkwɨt/; from Latinpropinquitas, “nearness”) is one of the main factors leading to interpersonal attraction. It refers to the physical or psychological proximity between people. Propinquity can mean physical proximity, a kinship between people, or a similarity in nature between things (“like-attracts-like“). Two people living on the same floor of a building, for example, have a higher propinquity than those living on different floors, just as two people with similar political beliefs possess a higher propinquity than those whose beliefs strongly differ.

How do you go about finding these people who either live near you or enjoy the same interests as you?  Do you canvas your neighborhood? Go door to door with you clipboard (or iPad) in hand asking questions?

No, but figuring out your neighborhood is a start. I live in a really nice area of Denver. The demographics in this area run more toward established neighborhoods with people closer to my age. And a large percentage of them being married! So I have to get creative if I want to find a future mate in this area (which I do.)

If I lived a few miles down the road though, I would be near Denver University and my neighbors would be grad students and young professionals. Lots of singles, but not a great place to meet people my own age.

Last night my neighbor and I walked down to a new bistro in our neighborhood. As we sat around the bar, I observed the people  there and guessed a lot of them were from the area. I sparked a conversation with a few, and sure enough they all lived within walking distance. They were all in the age range of me, and it was so comforting to know I now have a new place to go and be with people who live in the area. Am I going only to find a date? No!

I’m going to enjoy the convivial atmosphere. And if I meet someone in the neighborhood that is single and available it’s icing on the top!

They say picking subjects and events that interest you is another way to find potential people who also share some of the same interests. Here is a list of possible places to get you started:

  1. Clubs or groups: ski clubs, cycling clubs, reading clubs (though ladies, unless you are starting or involved in a mixed group club, your chances are slim), hiking clubs,etc.
  2. Meet Up groups: There are so many kinds of meet up groups. Some are specifically for single people. I personally would go more for a meet up group that holds my specific interest as opposed to attending lots of single groups. I am involved though with one single meet up groups that does a lot of fun things.
  3. Business networking groups: I belong to a big city-wide business network group. It’s geared to solo or small group entrepreneurs. I have a day job, but I like the people and go anyway to the weekly group as well as the city-wide monthly groups. I have met so many interesting and lovely people. And yes there are lots of single men and women at these.
  4. Lectures: art museums, libraries, art galleries, and universities have wonderful lectures going on all the time. It’s a great place to simultaneously learn and meet people.
  5. Churches and synagogues: If faith is important in your life, your chances are better to attend big events at places of worship. I attend a small church so my propinquity factors are low for meeting someone (I did and we dated briefly, and now it’s a bit awkward seeing him). But I can still look up the big churches and attend an event or a singles group there without having to be a regular attendee.
  6. Start your own group in your neighborhood or on Meet Up:  I love reading the New Yorker magazine. I am scouting a place to hold a group meeting twice a month. I’ll advertise it on Meet Up, but I am also creatively thinking of ways I can post something in my neighborhood for people to attend (Perhaps this is where I can use a clipboard and canvas the neighborhood!)
  7. Workshops with organizations you are interested in or intrigued by: I am joining a writer’s organization in Denver. They have workshops, events, visiting authors and writing groups.
  8. Exercise groups: my girlfriend regularly attends a morning boot camp. It takes place outside and is a small group. They have events outside bootcamp-breakfast together, happy hour, etc. A man who has patiently grown to know her through these events finally stepped up and asked her out. They are now in a very exclusive relationship-propinquity!
  9. If there is a big park or recreational center in your neighborhood, find out if there are neighborhood events taking place you can attend.

This may feel like overwhelm. You don’t have to be in a full-scale march to each one of these kinds of propinquity. And if you are more of an introvert and hate going on your own, conscript a friend for the first few times.

Offline Dating is more about living your life while expanding your boundaries. I am an extrovert, but I can get too comfortable doing the same old things or not going out enough.  Even if it’s just one thing from the list every week (or month), it gets you going in the right direction.

And what do you have to lose? Nothing. You will gain more knowledge, meet new people, and perhaps your odds of finding true love will be as good as Online Dating!

What is my propinquity adventure for this weekend? Attending a lecture at the Denver Art Museum on the new Wyeth exhibition.


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