"OOOh, intriguing!" my friend Beth said at the Superbowl party last night. "So let me ask you this: where can I find Mr. Right?" I had just finished telling Beth that my new dating book "Have Him At Hello" is coming out in 4 weeks. My book is the culmination of a 10-year dating research project where I interviewed 1,000 single men. And as I talk about the book at parties this month, Beth's query "Where can I find Mr. Right?" is the number one question I get -- probably because leading up to Valentine's Day, love is actually NOT in the air for a lot of fabulous singles. As a dating coach, and a matchmaker who's responsible for 762 marriages, it's not that I mind being asked that question. In fact, it's a million-dollar question, right? And it's not that I don't have a good answer. It's just that everyone is asking me the wrong question!
If you ask someone "where" something (or someone) is, you're implying there's a physical place to find it. Where are my socks? In the laundry machine. Where is the library? Over there on Main Street. Where are all the great single guys? Ummm, sorry, the GPS can't locate them because once they're out of college, they don't hang out on campus, the good ones aren't standing in bars, and your friend's dinner party is for couples. No wonder you get a lot of blank stares when you ask, "Where can I find Mr. Right?"
But what if you asked a different question? By changing just one word and asking "HOW can I find Mr. Right?", suddenly everyone's got an answer. Granted, not everyone's got a good answer, but now you're sparking some dialog instead of silence and shrugged shoulders. Turns out "how" versus "where" is a subtle but significant difference! "How do I find Mr. Right?" says: "let's get creative" and "help me find solutions." It implies there's a strategy you're looking for, not just pondering "where's Waldo?" "How" is a deceptively empowering word: it's a "presumptive close," as we say in business (i.e. "This is going to happen, now all we need to do is figure out how.")
Some answers you'll get from asking friends how to find your mate will be trite: join an online dating site or take a wine-tasting class. Sure, those ideas can work, but you've probably tried the standard fare so I won't bore you with that. But if you ask me the right question in time for Valentine's Day, here are 4 new ideas for HOW you can find Mr. (or Ms.) Right:
- Using Facebook: Finding great guys is all about networking through your friends, so scroll through the friend's lists of your friends on Facebook and play "I Spy A Cute Guy." If you spy someone intriguing, ask your mutual friend if he's single (or check his relationship status if his profile isn't private) and ask to be introduced. But be smart: in order to "Have Him at Hello" on Facebook, as I discuss in my new book, you have to post a fantastic profile there. Pay attention to your photos, status updates, and groups you join to ensure they reflect you at your best.
- Tweeting: Send a tweet Friday afternoon that you're meeting friends at your favorite pub or café, and say you're looking forward to anyone joining you for a spontaneous happy hour. Tell your "followers" to bring their friends. You're bound to meet new people, and even if they're not single, they might know someone to fix you up with later.
- Through Meetup.com: Meetup groups are a social way to connect with people in your town around mutual interests. If you go to www.meetup.com and search something like "Singles in Detroit who love books" or "Singles in New York who love to travel," you'll find dozens of like-minded singles groups.
- Teaching your own man-class: Contact your local adult education center and offer to teach a seminar geared toward men. Identify something you can do that men typically can't, and watch guys sign up in droves. One of my dating coaching clients created a class called "Bachelors: Learn How to Cook 10-minutes Meals." She wasn't a great chef herself, but collected 5 super-simple recipes and soon had 25 single men sitting in her class. She reported that three men asked her out after class, and two of them were really cute!
The takeaway here if you're single on Valentines Day? It's not that there's a shortage of good men or women. You've just been asking the wrong question.