Jan is an award-winning columnist, author, and popular emcee and keynote speaker at senior expos on “Finding Love & Romance at Any Age!”, “Keeping Your Dreams Alive”, and “Healing through Writing”. Her new book, Hot Chocolate for Seniors, recently won both national and international gold seal awards. Hot Chocolate for Seniors is available for purchase at hotchocolateforseniors.com or (909) 793-6419.
This month’s topic: “Best Places for Seniors to Meet”
There are so many wonderful inexpensive opportunities and places for seniors to meet potential like-minded mates. The key is to keep an open mind, view every place you go as a possible meeting ground, and keep getting out of the house. Why? Because the infinite possibilities for chance encounters are endless! Here’s just one example…
Larry met Edna while pushing his tray alongside hers in the buffet line at a cafeteria-style restaurant where he casually began asking her opinion about some of the food choices. All it took was a few minutes of pleasant conversation to spark enough interest and attraction for Larry to suggest they sit together and continue talking over their meal. Apparently, getting to know each other turned out to be so enjoyable that they decided to meet a second time at the same place. And soon afterwards, a ten-month courtship began which led to a very happy marriage.
Love often begins with a question, a need, or a simple connection. “What do you think of this?” is an easy enough question to ask of an attractive person who catches our eye and who appears to be open. In fact, countless opportunities to strike up conversations with others exist in the course of any given day, be it in a cafeteria line, sporting goods store, Home Depot, food market, or even a fitness center.
By the time we become seniors, we’ve already developed a pretty good intuition about whether a person is safe or not, besides which we generally feel more at ease with ourselves and others. But we may still have to force ourselves to get out, go places, and cast our net wide.
I know how difficult or awkward it can feel to step outside our comfort zone because before meeting David in a local ballroom dance class nearly five years ago, I vividly recall what a stretch it was for me. Oh, how I dreaded venturing out on my own and going to unfamiliar places by myself. Yet, I forced myself to do so by relying on no-nonsense-go-somewhere routine pep talks. In fact, once I even traveled to Honolulu on a glamorous vacation—alone. (Now the unexpected fun I had on that trip should really be saved for a future column.)
Where to meet future mates? For starters, here are three proven senior-meet-senior arenas where countless older adults have met others with common interests and shared passions.
The first is through some form of public service, such as by volunteering or serving on committees which support worthy causes. Next is by participating in church-related group activities. And the third is by attending dancing, art, photography, adult education, or college classes. Just by staying involved and pursuing the interests that capture your attention you will always be brought together with like-minded people. But it helps to keep putting your name and face out there every single day!
You might also consider attending fund-raising events ranging from red-carpet galas to casual local wine-tasting gatherings which support your favorite charities. Market night and fairs are also places where you can strike up informal lighthearted face-to-face conversations with people standing next to you who are also admiring the wares. But that’s not all! How about signing up for travel tours, turn-around bus trips sponsored by your local senior center or YMCA, or attending public receptions at art galleries?
While it may be a good idea to take advantage of matchmaking services, dating coaches, speed dating events, or online dating sites, we still must get out of the house to cast our net—the wider the better—to sow our seeds for a future social life. As seniors, we don’t necessarily have to get married. The important thing is to find someone with whom we have chemistry to not only talk to, but to go places with, because there is nothing in the world more wonderful than having a special someone to love. So please avoid staying at home, even if it means going to a public cafeteria for lunch or dinner. I just marvel whenever I think that Larry met Edna while…
And by all means, make it a rule to accept all invitations which family or friends offer—no exceptions! There is still so much magic left in life. Do you realize that your true love may also be seeking you this very instant?