The Importance of Advertising Yourself 24

If I were single and wanted to date, I’d get a button printed that I’d pin on my coat or wear a t-shirt (when appropriate) that said something like “Single, want to mingle?”

I’ve learned that I have looked unapproachable to some, unavailable to others, mean, and, at varying times disinterested, unfriendly, and sad.

Who – me?

Yes – you!

I’ve also been told that I am intimidating.  And that  I didn’t look like I was single.  This one got to me!  (What does single look like?!)  A former boyfriend said, “You look like you don’t need help and wouldn’t accept any if it was offered.”  That one stung.

A little bit of all of these descriptions is true but that certainly doesn’t mean that they were accurate.  Accurate or not, they are what the other person(s) walked away feeling about me.

In reviewing opportunities missed I can see how my husband and others felt I was unapproachable and unavailable.  (I know timing is everything, T, but we might have had a few more years of bliss had you approached earlier and had I noticed  your interest.)

I know that I missed opportunities to meet people because I didn’t take the opportunity to flirt and because I avoided rejection.  (Except when out clubbing – I was much bolder out dancing because I guess the environment was about picking up…)  A lot of my single friends say that they don’t know how to flirt.  I have a former colleague with whom I worked intimately for a couple of years.  She was the dating queen.  A guy could come to the office to deliver paper and she’d have a date set up in the space of five minutes! When we had speakers present to the students in our program, she’d get a date with the ones she found intriguing.   In the interest of helping my single friends of all ages and stages, I’ll share what I gleaned from her and a few other women.

Don’t be afraid of hearing the word no.  Better to know he is not interested than to keep wondering about him.
Ask for what you want.  “Would you like to meet for coffee, tea, a glass of wine, go to a movie sometimes?”
Date different types of men.  Some of the best guys don’t fit your fantasy physical criteria or have the background/job/accoutrements you think are important.
A date is just a date.  It’s purpose is to see if there’s enough interest to go forward.  It is not a pre-marriage screening!
Technology is your friend.  Don’t be afraid to use the internet to meet people.
Let your friends and acquaintances know that you are interested in dating. (Although the people who know my husband and me would never have put us together.  Friends don’t always know who you might like or who might like you!)
Make eye contact and learn to make small talk.
Go places that men are – the gym (ask for weight-lifting advice), hardware stores, grocery stores (late), investment seminars, etc.
Smile more.  (Grimace less!)
Be you.  Be the best you when out and about.
Give yourself an assignment.  When in group settings (meetings, gatherings, and other convenings) give yourself the assignment to introduce yourself to three-five people (including women).  Most people are shy and hanging back like you.
Have a business or personal card to hand-out.
Live actively. 
Pursue your interests, be interesting, don’t live like a woman who’s waiting for when…

The short version of how my husband started dating me, is that I advertised my availability at a large group gathering, the 4th Roxbury Film Festival reception.  At the end of my introductory remarks I said that, “People have asked me how ACT Roxbury has achieved so much in four short years.  The joke around the office is that I don’t have a boyfriend or husband…and I’m looking.”* Believe it or not, both my husband and another gentleman heard those words.  T asked me out and we’ve never looked back.  The other gentleman sent word through a friend that he was interested in me and “never knew I was single.”  I sent word that I’d started dating T and if it didn’t work out I’d be in touch.  Never got to meet him because T and I got married.

Who knew that advertising my availability would yield the results it did?  I guess it fits in with asking the universe for what you want, naming it, praying it, forgetting about it, and it then happening.

(*I am embarrassed to think I actually said those words out-loud but I am so happy that my inner-voice came out and said what I would never say consciously.)

About Candelaria Silva

Candelaria Silva-Collins is a marketing, community outreach and programming consultant; writer; and trainer/facilitator who lives in Boston, Massachusetts. She has designed and facilitated workshops on a wide variety of topics including communication, facilitation, job search skills, team building, and parenting issues. She currently coordinates the Community Membership Program of the Huntington Theatre Company. Her work as Director of ACT Roxbury was profiled in several publications, including The Creative Communities Builders Handbook. Candelaria’s children’s stories, short stories, essays and reviews have been published in local and national publications and she is an active blogger. Her publications include the booklets, Handling Rejection; Pushing through Shyness: Networking Tips when You’re Shy, Slow to Warm Up or Just don’t Feel you Belong; and Real Questions about Sex & Relationships for Teens: A Discussion Guide for Parents. She has served on the boards of Goddard College, Wheelock Family Theatre, Boston Foundation for Architecture, and Discover Roxbury. She is currently Chair, Designators of the Henderson Foundation.

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