Life Advice



Erika Ettin: 3 ways to meet people

Erika Ettin, Tribune News Service on

Published in Dating Advice

Everyone wants that perfect meet-cute. You sit down next to each other on the airplane. Sparks fly. You talk the whole time. You exchange information. Boom. Match made in … the sky.

While all that sounds just lovely, one has to wonder just how realistic it is. We all have that one friend who it’s happened to, so we think it’s possible. In fact, we might think it’s the norm. “Well, my friend Jamie met her husband on the Amtrak train to New York, so I’ve been taking the train more.” Or “Jeffrey gazed at Chris in the frozen food section, and they’ve been eating ice cream together ever since.” It’s nice, it’s sweet… and it’s a one-off experience. We just remember these stories because they are more interesting than “We met online.”

Because these stories are few and far between, it’s important to make sure you’re putting yourself out there in the right way. I want to share the three main categories of meeting people:

1. The first is the random "method" we talked about above — the airplane, Starbucks, the top of the Eiffel Tower. You get the point. These are unpredictable. You don’t know if people are single. And if they are, you don’t know if they are looking. The chance of meeting someone randomly is small. Don’t go into a random situation expecting to meet someone or you’ll be sorely disappointed. Hoping is one thing, but just leave it there.


2. The second is the club or group — a Meetup, a hiking group, a sports team, an art class. Just like with the random events, you have no idea who is available and who isn’t, so you can’t expect to meet someone, but it’s an added bonus if you do. The purpose of this way of meeting people is to put yourself out there doing something you already enjoy. For example, if you hate fishing, don’t join a fishing group to meet someone because you’ll have a miserable time! But let’s say you love hiking. Join a hiking group. Whether you meet someone or not, you’ll be enjoying yourself doing something you love anyway. Meeting someone would be icing on the cake. Also, when you’re doing something you love, you’re more yourself, which is a great way to attract people — friends and partners alike.

3. The third are events and sites targeted specifically for singles — online dating of course, speed dating and any other singles’ events. Here, while maybe more contrived, at least you know the other people are also single and looking. This is the best way to put yourself out there. There’s always an element of chance, but you’re setting yourself up to have the best odds when you know people have the same goals as you do — to meet someone. This is why I highly recommend online dating. Especially with COVID-19, more people are using online dating sites than ever. It’s time to jump on the bandwagon.

So let’s put it into action. I want you to scour your city’s event listings and sign up for one singles’ event, whether in person or virtual. Maybe it’s a speed-dating event, maybe it’s a happy hour geared toward singles, maybe it’s something else. Commit to putting yourself out there and giving yourself the best chances of meeting someone. Remember, though, that however you put yourself out there it will still take time, and you’ll have ups and downs, good dates and bad. Don’t give up. Take breaks if you like, but don’t quit if it’s something you really want. If you need help finding events in your city, please feel free to reach out.

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