playdates for adults

Playdates for Adults: The 5 Challenging Tasks of Finding a Partner

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How to Find Play, Fun, and Love, Maybe

This whole business of online dating has gotten too serious. We’re way too focused on type-a goals.

  • Find a date.
  • Arrange an in-person meeting.
  • Assess the “relationship” quality of the person
  • Pass, Fail, Repeat

Dating Criteria – Type A Dating

But love, or looking for a real relationship, is not really a type-a task. In the driven mode of dating, we get criteria like:

  • Has (or doesn’t have) children.
  • Want’s more (or doesn’t want any) children.
  • Is Christian, or whatever “spiritual but not religious” means.
  • Would sleep with someone on the first date, given the right circumstances. Or wouldn’t consider sleeping with someone until the 6 – 10th date.
  • Is successful in business and likes to travel to exotic locations. Or still working for a living.
  • Partier (most pictures have a drink in hand) or “social drinker” or “doesn’t drink at all.”
  • Has a rocking body. Or not.

And while these are some valid criteria, they are more for sorting through the cattle-call of online dating profiles, rather than looking for a relationship. In a word, they are a bit superficial.

Alternatives to Online Dating

So there are some other alternatives to online dating that are worth looking at, if you are seeking a mate. Or perhaps even a one-night-stand, if that’s your thing.

  • Meetup Groups
  • Activity Groups
  • Spiritually-related Groups
  • Workout Groups

When you think about the person you might like to be spending your Saturday afternoon and Saturday night with, where do you imagine you might be on any given Saturday afternoon? And then it’s your opportunity/responsibility to get yourself there. She/he might already be there. If you know the types of activities you’d like to be doing with another person, then get yourself to those activities as a single person and see if there are any other singles there.

The Five Challenges of Finding a Partner

beautiful woman with blue eyes

1. Showing Up

For example, if you were recently excited by the World Cup, you might have found a public place to go view the game. You might have stayed home and watched it on your computer. And even if that is what you would’ve liked to do with a “special friend” it’s not very likely that you are going to be introduced to them while in your pj’s in your living room. Get out there.

2. Brightening Up Your Presence

You want to be the brightest spark in the room. If you are happy with yourself and confident in your mission, you can walk into a room full of drinking soccer fans and still hold your own torch. If your torch (your self-love, self-confidence) is sputtering, perhaps that’s a good place to put your attention. Get your game in order before going out looking for a game.

finding love - it's about time

3. Learn How to be Charming

Listening is an art. Often it is the most confident people who can listen better than others. The ones who are always needing to tell stories, be brilliant, and obviously work too hard at being charming, are often the ones who are still trying to find their inner confidence. If you want to be heard, listen. It’s the most powerful thing you can do in the opening “is there chemistry” moments of a face-to-face meeting.

4. Showing Your Enthusiasm by Taking Action

If you want a second date, say it. If you don’t want a second date, tell them too. And if you BOTH want a second date, you won’t need to be emailing each other later to see if there was “chemistry.” Believe me, if there’s chemistry, you will both be asking “What’s next?” And the answer will sound like this, “What are you doing for dinner?” or “What are you doing tomorrow night, I’ve got tickets to …” If you have to ask, there’s probably not a connection. If there is a connection, and you are BOTH actually wanting a relationship, you will both be asking for the next meeting.

So much of this process is figuring out who is playing games, who is really ready for something, and who is so damaged from their previous relationships that they are in no real position to be available.

kissing couple

5. Being Brutally Honest

You don’t want games. You don’t want new drama. You want clarity, well-stated intention, and a clear communication style with this person you might actually be interested in. Anything less is a red flag.

If you feel it, say it. If you don’t feel it, say that too. Then return to task one, LISTEN. The more you listen the more attractive you will seem to the other person.

And the final tip of romancing a potential mate: Say their name back to them, repeatedly, like a poem.

“The sweetest sound in the human language is one’s own name.” – John Brock

Good luck out there.


John McElhenney – life coach austin texas
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Dating 2.0

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