Thu. May 19th, 2022

As a Toronto-based dating columnist and expert, the question I get asked the most is, “Where can I meet someone in the city?” I abhor this question, because just as there is no magic pill to get over the pain of a breakup or loss, there is no hard and fast way to meet a potential, long-term partner.

Sure, we’re all heard of the perfect meeting sweet (where someone meets their partner for the first time in a romantic way), and there are always exceptions to the rule, but just because someone met their love in a certain place, or in a certain way does not mean it will work for you.

After engaging in endless conversations with various singles for this story – from Gen Z’s to boomers – I have come to the conclusion that the first way to meet someone is first and foremost to get out of your house.

Start saying yes to everything; from the most boring to the most exciting of invitations from friends and colleagues. They want you to go with them on a trip to the dog park with their pooch? Say Yes. Do you want to attend a training class? Why not! A casual backyard party? Do not bother if you do. A chi-chi event? You know it.

The thing is for sure you can walk the old school route and go to a bar or cafe with that intention to meet someone, but after endless months of being in lockdown, this approach can be daunting for potential future partners. It can become more aggressive or lethargic than it once did and can put others on the spot (after they have finally gathered the courage to go out in the first place). If you are looking for a long term relationship, this approach is dated.

Instead, give yes by inviting at least the opportunity to meet people and can get you in touch with someone (or someone who knows someone) that you would not have if you were a hermit.

I think this is right as a freelancer; sure I can work productively in my curated work area at home, but when I meet friends to work with them at a café or somewhere else, I encounter contacts, leading to potential, unexpected job opportunities.

Whether something comes from leaving your home does not have to matter in the beginning; If you feel lonely and sit at home and feel sorry for yourself, it at least gets you out of the house and is social. It also puts you back on people’s radar. Maybe people do not even know you are on the market that is right for the many whose conditions did not last through the pandemic.

It reminds others that you have not left town, that you are single, and that you want to lock in a love.

Relationship expert Jen Kirsch at the Writer's Room Bar at the Park Hyatt in Toronto.

While meeting through a mutual friend is an authentic approach to finding a spouse, it does not mean that you have to nag your friends to set up with a new friend they mention or post on their social media. Instead, it means you have to be more open-minded and take advantage of opportunities.

Meeting people and calling for someone are muscles that need to be used time and time again to develop strength. It can feel awkward to interact after being home for so long, recently single or fresh after a loss. But practice makes perfect. Take the time to learn to read people’s body language, facial expressions and energy so you can decide if it’s appropriate to exchange contact information or set up a date.

Now, if you are one of the many who have googled where in the city you are going to meet singles, you have probably been met with a list of bars and restaurants in Toronto. In my early journalistic days, I would write lists like these and spread out places that my friends and I would go to, which was, to put it mildly, limited and not well researched.

But these lists are often only the opinion of one writer. That said, if you want to get out on the town to mingle and mingle, I suggest one of the few lively and notable places in town, like the Writers Room bar-with-a-view at the Park Hyatt Toronto or the delicious and expansive new private member club CLIO. These beautiful places get my stamp of approval if you want to be in a place that you know will be busy and offer conversation starters thanks to its atmosphere, extensive cocktails and art.

Ultimately, it’s about connecting to be confident, accessible, authentic, and in the presence of like-minded others. So as the cuffs approach, put your ego aside and get out and mingle in a COVID-safe way, of course.

I understand what you’ve tried. But guess what, you’ve probably also been home in the last year and a half. And I hear you, it takes effort, and a lot of people are closed or busy with friends, and you do not want to disturb them and be the creepy person who only hits one to be rejected. Maybe you even asked friends if they know someone who would be a good match for you, just to be met with silence or worse, to be paired on a date, just because it’s such a miss that you are afraid of ever saying yes to a date again.

But love can only be a stone’s throw from getting into your life if you just let it be.

Jen Kirsch is a Toronto-based author and freelance contributor to Star. Follow her on Twitter: @jen_kirsch

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