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Single and Ready to Mingle? Best Places to Meet People That Aren’t Bars

Single and Ready to Mingle? Best Places to Meet People That Aren’t Bars

A lonely guy, dejected and broken by recent events, enters a bar and calls for a Vodka Martini. He is feeling down and is in no position to strike up a conversation with the folks around him. Just as he’s thinking of nothing but finishing his drink, paying his tab and calling it a day, something miraculous happens. A beautiful woman enters the bar and immediately lights up the room. Our forgotten hero cannot believe his eyes as she heads toward him, smiling. He is in seventh heaven. They chat like they’ve known each other for years; it is love at first sight.

If this sounds like a story, then that’s because such an unbelievable turnaround in fortune is indeed the stuff of fairy tale. Truth be told, if you’re looking for romance, then a bar is a terrible place to start. Fret not—the world doesn’t quite end right at the bar.

1. Parks

romance at park

    Parks are great places to get to know the people living around you. People from all sorts of walks of life and interests gather at the park. Parks offer a great environment to relax and take your thoughts far away from the troubles of your day-to-day life, so the casual and cheerful spirit of park visitors could help a great deal in your cause to team up with someone. Whenever you feel lonely and need someone to date, jump off your couch and take a few strolls down to the nearest park.

    2. Health and Fitness Clubs

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    romance at gym

      The main purpose of visiting health and fitness clubs is obviously to maintain the physique and keep up the good health. But, with mixed gender health clubs, you could have added incentives. The health clubs could come in different forms, such as saunas, gymnasiums, yoga and aerobic centers, and you could choose any of them based on your interests and practicalities. But wherever you go, you could meet a similar soul with the same interests as yours, all while you’re sweating to keep yourself fit. The only way to make new friends is to go out to new places, and health clubs are fun ways to do this. You could very well meet a special friend in the process.

      3. Sporting Events

      romance at stadium

        A lot is at stake during even local sporting events, not to mention the grandest of stages like the World Cup, Super Bowl or Wimbledon. And when the team and the athletes plying their trade at center stage are the ones you revere, your feelings are hard to describe. You heart oscillates between highs and lows, before finally setting on a level based on your team’s result. While you’re having this compendium of crazy emotions, there could be a charming guy or a girl nearby who echoes your emotions. You could have a say on proceedings of the game and start to converse, casually in the beginning. And, if you’re willing, you could evolve things from that starting point.

        4. Social Sports Clubs

        Photo by Steven L. Shepard

          Sporting events are not the only way sports can provide you with opportunities to find a partner. You could do the same by being part of the game as well. And for this, social sports clubs are highly effective. Such social sports clubs provide great opportunities for socializing and making new friends. They provide an encouraging environment for having fun, which immediately breaks down barriers and develops talking points, without you having to think of a witty conversation starter. Depending on your preferences, you may need to pick a mixed gender sport, which could be beach soccer, tennis, badminton, dodge ball or any other sport you fancy. Pick a sport that you will genuinely enjoy, and don’t worry too much about it being something you are particularly good at—the rest will follow.

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          5. Parties

          romance at party

            Parties are fine occasions to find a partner. So many people are gathering in one place, so you can easily find someone you’re intrigued with. A great thing about such parties is that it’s quite easy to break the ice if you’re interested. If you have a friend or relative at the party, ask them to introduce you to that person. The beginning is half done, so you’re that much closer landing a date.

            6. Festivals

            romance at festival

              Whether it be religious, musical, or cultural, festivals are one of the best ways to get to know other locals, with whom we would otherwise never be acquainted with. At festivals, the mood is cheerful and a major populace of the region gathers in one place. As said earlier in the article, the best way to meet people is to go to new places. As this kind of event is usually casual and everyone is in lighter spirits, it’s easy to pair up and start a conversation. Hence, a local festival can provide you with a chance to find a partner, living right in your neighborhood.

              7. Volunteer Activities

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              romance at volunteering

                Each and every one of us possess a certain bit of altruistic self within ourselves, although it could be in varying degrees from person to person. Volunteering activities may seem to be too much trouble. But if you have a sense of longing to serve the community and desire to contribute to the overall good of humanity, volunteering is a great thing to do. You don’t only enhance your personal development with it; you’ll also meet new people. And, along the journey, you could also meet someone who shares your interests and whom you are compatible with. You could foster a great relationship with him/her as well. Therefore, even if you’ve never felt like doing it, spare a thought for it, as the incentive is too huge to turn down!

                8. Classrooms

                romance in class

                  In many romantic movies and novels, lovebirds emerge from within the classroom walls  And, rightfully so, since in real life, classrooms are often a great place to find someone to form a bond with. Generally, most of us have our first crushes on our classmates. And often, the first romantic endeavors are with the ones we shared classes with during high school years. Our classmates are frequently the ones with whom we spend the most time at a particular stage in our life, and they are also the ones with whom the chance of developing a connection is highest. So look around the seats in your classroom, single folks out there!

                  9. Libraries

                  romance in library

                    Libraries may not hold much appeal as the likeliest of places to find someone to date, but believe me: you’d be wrong to laugh off at their potential to hook you up with a companion. Imagine how romantic it will be when you’re holding a copy of Pride and Prejudice in your hands and are completely propelled by the unfolding of events in the book. And when you lift up your looks to people around the room, you find a dazzling beauty sitting across the table, holding a copy of the same novel herself. Your eyes meet and as they say, the rest could well be history. So, if you’re enthralled by reading, libraries could help you find someone with similar interests and save you from being forever alone.

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                    10. Long Distance Transports

                    romance in travel

                      We often like to dream of a charming companion by our side while we’re travelling, whether it be on an airplane, a train or a bus. We want this even more we’re travelling long distances. Sometimes, we may not get exactly what we’d wished for, having to travel with complaining aunts or boring uncles. But sometimes, we can get really lucky and meet the prince charming or princess of our dreams right there. When we’re accompanying him/her for such a long distance and time, there’s plenty of opportunities to communicate and get to know each other. And, it could well be the start of another great love story!

                      In reality, love at first sight very rarely occurs. Affection grows over time, strengthened by shared experience and appreciation of events around you. People don’t fall in love based on physical appearance, but on personality—so looking for ways to show your personality is the best way to “mingle.” The inherently flawed notion of “fate” is simply an occurrence due to the weight of circumstance. But it is these circumstances that you can affect by giving yourself the opportunities to connect with others, based on shared interest and experience.

                      Featured photo credit: Laughing couple via wikimedia.org

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                      Nabin Paudyal

                      Co-Founder, Siplikan Media Group

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                      Last Updated on January 15, 2021

                      7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

                      7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

                      The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

                      Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

                      Posture

                      First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

                      • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
                      • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
                      • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
                      • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

                      All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

                      Facial Expressions

                      Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

                      • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
                      • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
                      • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

                      If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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                      1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

                      A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

                      The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

                      This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

                      2. Relax Your Face

                      New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

                      The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

                      To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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                      3. Improve Your Eye Contact

                      Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

                      The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

                      To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

                      3. Smile More

                      There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

                      Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

                      4. Hand Gestures

                      Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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                      It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

                      5. Enhance Your Handshake

                      In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

                      “Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

                      It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

                      6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

                      As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

                      Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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                      Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

                      Final Takeaways

                      Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

                      If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

                      More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

                      Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

                      Reference

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