Dating in Dublin
Gone are the days when online dating was sneered at. Now people use the internet for shopping, paying bills and booking holidays -- so why not dating?
Since most of us don't have the cash to socialise as much as we used to, the opportunities aren't always there to meet up with people in the more traditional ways and venues. Dating websites come in every shape and form. There's any number of options out there from worldwide services such as www.match.com to more localised versions such as www.anotherfriend.com and www.maybefriends.com.
The advantages are obvious -- you can talk (and flirt) with someone at any time and can choose to reveal as much, or as little, information as you want. It's also a very good way to meet different people from different social circles. However, one of the greatest strengths is also one of its biggest disadvantages -- anonymity. Not everyone you deal with online is honest, or there may be little or no chemistry when you meet a 'match' in person.
We all know some daters feel the need to exaggerate their physical appearance (tall, dark and good looking can often mean short, overweight and balding in real life. And that's just the women). So beware of chancers: one female friend who tried online dating still shudders at the memory of a date with a man in his 50s who had been using his son's picture to attract twentysomethings.
But for every dodgy story, there are successes. And there are dating websites to suit your tastes, from websites for older people such as www.fiftyalready.com to dating sites for sports fans, such as www.lovegaa.com.
WHAT TO DO: Be truthful. E-dating may be initially anonymous but pretending to be something you're not risks problems when you meet.
WHAT TO AVOID: Don't give out any personal information too early in a correspondence and take things slowly. Try to get as much information about someone in advance of meeting them.
HOBBIES & NIGHTCLASSES
Opposites attract, goes the old saying. But when it comes to long-lasting relationships, it makes sense that those of a similar outlook usually stay together. So, instead of going clubbing and shouting over the din at 2am to some random stranger you've just met, why not take up a new hobby? It could be a book club or a language or a flower arranging class, but meeting people who have similar interests means that you're already increasing your chances of romance. But don't just join a class that you have little interest in for the opportunity to meet singletons. Most people are genuine about their subject and won't appreciate the fact that their class is being used as a dating ground.
WHAT TO DO: Pick something that you have a real interest in and want to know more about.
WHAT TO AVOID: Hobbies and night classes are not short-hand for dating so you should limit your expectations to learning more about your chosen subject and meeting some new, interesting and like-minded people. Anything else is a bonus.
Going on holidays is often seen as the preserve of loved up couples or families. Travelling alone can be an intimidating experience unless you're one of those people who thinks a stranger is just "a friend you haven't met yet". (And if you're that way inclined, chances are you won't be short of travelling companions anyway.) What's more, when you're booking holidays alone, you'll often find yourself subjected to the dreaded single supplement, meaning that your room can sometimes wind up costing more.
There are lots of websites and groups which cater for people who want to travel abroad but have not got anyone to go with them -- try www.thetravel department.ie or www.thepatt club.ie. While these holidays shouldn't be confused with a version of Club 18-30, there's lots of opportunity to meet like-minded people on a holiday that will see you all spend time together. And if you fancy adventure, there are lots of clubs, such as Gecko's Adventures, www.geckosadventures.com, which use London airports as a hub for treks.
WHAT TO DO: Go somewhere you have always had an interest in seeing, not somewhere you think there might be hot young things.
WHAT TO AVOID: Sometimes these holidays attract older travellers so not everyone is on the pull. It's unlikely, for example, that there's a good clubbing scene in Lourdes and you might be the only person under 60 on the plane. Do some research in advance.
With Facebook members numbering 500 million, and with an estimated 250 million active users logging in on a daily basis, the world of social networking offers countless possibilities. According to statistics, the average user has more than 130 friends, many of which are acquaintances rather than people they see regularly. Similarly, the fact that you can find old friends with the click of a mouse, increases the chance of romance. There's always the option of looking up the friends of friends. Unlike dating sites, people tend to be more honest on Facebook and use real snaps of themselves. Sneaky, eh?
WHAT TO DO: Be as honest as you can when it comes to your relationship status.
WHAT NOT TO DO: Keep the privacy issues in mind and try to check someone out in advance if you're thinking of meeting them -- no matter how attractive they look in their profile picture.
Why have one date an evening when you can squeeze 20 in? Speed-dating gives a group of people (usually 20-30) in a room a couple of minutes with all the other singletons before deciding which ones they like at the end and the chance to swap details. Try MysteryDates.ie/SpeedDating Dublin, ClickDating.ie and speeddatingdublin.ie.
WHAT TO DO: Take it with a pinch of salt. While there's no guarantees, keeping a sense of humour about things will endear you to other daters.
WHAT NOT TO DO: Tell everyone your life story. A warm smile will do.