For years, self-help books have been telling single people how to meet a mate, be a better mate, find a better mate or how to be successful at being single.
Books are fine, but we decided to go to the true experts--singles themselves. We asked them to share their methods of adding fun and excitement--and companionship--to their lives.
Donna, 40, of Santa Ana, suggests throwing a party. "Invite both single and married friends. Ask each married couple to bring a single person, and ask your single friends to bring an eligible platonic friend, or relative of the opposite sex." Donna says this is a built-in icebreaker and can create a congenial and exciting atmosphere.
Janet, 33, of Fountain Valley, says: "I get lonely around the holidays, so I make it a point to let friends and family know in advance that I would like to get together. I've learned that people assume when you are single that your life is a whirlwind of social activity, so I always let them know I enjoy being with them."
Mark, 46, of Orange, suggests that even if you haven't been a regular churchgoer, you should contact your local church or synagogue. "Nearly every church or temple has a singles group and regular get-togethers. I have made some terrific friends in my church group, and I have dated some really nice women that way."
Robin, 28, of Costa Mesa, believes that hooking up with one or two friends with whom you can attend singles' events is a great idea for both men and women. "First of all, it forces you out of your home, and it provides moral support. But the worst thing you can do is to clamor around each other the whole time and talk about the lack of qualified singles in the room. If you are locked in a huddle, you are not going to seem very approachable."
James, 32, of Irvine, and three other friends ran a collective personals ad. "We are all med(ical) students, and we don't have a lot of extra money or a lot of free time, so we pooled our resources and wrote an ad asking to meet four women in our age group. In our ad we said that we would cook them a great dinner. We got a lot of responses. I think the women probably thought we were creative. We selected four girls, and we had a terrific time. Two of us talked our younger sisters into coming to serve the dinner and to clean up afterward. It was great."
Jeannie, 42, of Laguna Beach, believes that the best way to meet single men and women is to go where single people are. "I started taking golf lessons about two months ago, and already I've met several nice men. You don't find that many women on a golf course, so the competition isn't that stiff. My brother wants to meet someone, so I told him to take a gourmet cooking class. I haven't been able to convince him yet."
Organizing a ski or camping weekend is another way to liven up your single life.
Joe, 39, of Dana Point, is an avid hiker. "I have met a lot of people through the Sierra Club," he says. "Around the holidays, I always grab a bunch of single people and put together a trip. We try and do something that is affordable for everybody. During the summer we get away on weekends occasionally. Usually there are plenty of people wherever we go, so everybody gets a chance to meet someone they like. And even if they don't, at least they enjoyed themselves in a beautiful setting."
"I fight loneliness by doing something for other people--it makes me forget my own problems," says Blair, 31, of Cypress. She suggests that singles get involved in Big Sisters or Big Brothers of America. Volunteering to spend time with a child can be extremely gratifying, she says, and it will make your own problems seem very small. "Bringing some joy to a kid is just a great way to feel good about yourself and the world."
Whatever you do, make sure it is something you really enjoy. Meeting new people is more likely to happen when you are having a good time.