Much as we’d all like to meet that someone special, whatever our age, making the leap from thinking about it to taking action can take time and courage.
But first things first: rather than getting into a stew about what will happen when you do meet someone you like (and all the attendant worries that go with that special moment), simply take a deep breath, step out of your comfort zone, put yourself in a place where you may meet someone new and all the rest will follow.
And once you’re ready, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to cast your net to get you back into the dating scene:
Walk the dog
Dog walking on your own can feel like a bit of a task, but it’s a natural way to bond with people - and turning it into a social activity makes it even easier.
There are plenty of dog walking groups you could join. Take a look online to see if there’s a group near you, or start one yourself with a Facebook page inviting fellow dog lovers to go for a stroll.
Obviously, this is only a good idea if you actually have a dog that requires walking, but if you aren’t currently a dog-owner you don’t have to go out and get one - simply borrow a dog from a friend for a trial run (or a trial walkies?).
Do you have a specialist wine shop close by to where you live? Classes and tastings are a great way to strike up a conversation with a complete stranger.
Wine and beer festivals are increasingly popular and provide a convivial atmosphere to strike up a conversation with someone who takes your fancy.
Or take a tour of a local brewery and surprise potential suitors with your knowledge of craft beer.
Now perhaps the most common and successful way to meet someone new, online dating offers you the opportunity to browse at your leisure and start a conversation with someone in the safety of your own home and at your own pace.
Always go for a reputable brand though, like Saga Dating, which is exclusively for the over 50s and is protected by the online dating association.
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Take up a new sport
Golf, cycling, swimming, or joining a gym – all activities that will keep you fit and up your chances of finding someone new.
Even if you don’t meet someone when celebrating at the 19th hole, you’ll be keeping yourself fit, which will help boost your confidence for when you do have that chance encounter.
Go on holiday
A holiday romance may seem like something that happens in your teens and twenties, but more and more over 50s are finding romance on holiday.
Target your choice of holiday for best results. A cruise is an ideal option, particularly one geared to people over 50, or a singles resort.
You’ll be surprised how many people travel alone and meeting in such a relaxed way can help break down barriers.
Start a new activity
Rather than plump for what you already know, you might expand your knowledge and take a class in something you’ve never tried before - art, cookery, bridge, a foreign language.
Look for a class that’s nearish to where you live, but not on your doorstep. Expanding your horizons in every way will help you get out of your comfort zone and motivate you into being open to new experiences, even potentially enjoying the company of someone who isn’t your ‘type’.
Meet through friends
If you’re newly single, it may not be long before your friends start trying to set you up with their friends.
There’s a fine balancing act involved here. You want to be open to new opportunities, but someone your friend may think you like may not necessarily tally with your idea of a perfect date.
Be open to suggestions, but be straight from the outset, thanking them for their help but pointing out that you hope they won’t be offended if you don’t share their views on the suitability of a particular friend once you’ve met them.
Find a meet-up
meetup.com is an online way of connecting with like-minded people that brings people together to meet up on a regular basis. Simply log in and see what meet-ups are taking place in your area.
There are a huge variety of activities to choose from including walking groups, photography meet-ups and social hubs.
If there’s nothing there that catches your eye, you can always start a meet-up of your own on the site.
Go to festivals
At certain times of year you’ll be spoilt for choice with plenty of different types of festivals to choose from – foodie, music, literary or historical.
Go along with a friend, sign up for any events taking place during the festival and strike up a conversation with a stranger at every opportunity - about how long the line is for a book signing or the price of the drinks at the event!
Whether you have a burning desire to get involved with something you care deeply about or simply want to schedule in a regular activity into your week to get out and meet new people, there are thousands of volunteering opportunities up and down the country that are always looking for people to join in.
And while committing to a local cause or larger national charity is rewarding in itself, who knows, you may bump into Mr or Mrs Right along the way! Check out do-it.org for more information on volunteering.
You’re not the only one looking to date, whether for fun or a long-term relationship. And everyone is equally nervous about getting into the dating game.
But taking action, trying out something new and expanding your horizons is the first step to building up your confidence. Finding someone along the way is a lucky bonus!
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