- Make a List
This is the creative part. Divide a piece of paper into three columns.
- In the first column, make a list of the qualities you consider "Absolutely Necessary" in the people you date.
- In the middle column, write down qualities that you consider "Somewhat Necessary."
- In the last column, write down any additional qualities that, technically, are "Not Absolutely Necessary," but would be really nice to have.
Be as specific as you can, because this is the list your friends are going to use to make recommendations about who you should date.
In addition, keep in mind that completing this step will do two things for you: First, it will cause you to pay more attention to the individuals you already know who possess these qualities. And second, the act of writing down the qualities you are looking for will help you find dates who actually possess the qualities you consider "Absolutely Necessary" and avoid "settling" for less.
- Tell Your Friends
Next, let your friends and co-workers know what kind of person you're interested in dating. Be specific and ask them to begin to notice these qualities in the people around them.
- Let Your Friends Suggest Dates
Next, let your friends and co-workers find dates for you based on your feedback about the qualities you are looking for. Every time they make a recommendation or two about who you should date, allow them to tell you a little bit about each person and decide which ones you'd like to develop friendships with. Remember, too, that your friends are suggesting these individuals based on the qualities you consider to be most important. As scary as it may seem, you can probably trust your friends on this far more than any online dating service.
- "Date" Those Individuals Online
Finally, instead of going on "blind dates" with the individuals your friends want to "set you up" with, begin to get to know them online. E-mail them and, if you sense the potential for a connection, take some time to get to know them over the phone. Allow your friendship to grow and develop in this way over time before trying to go on an actual "date" or involving your children. And remember, when you find dates that begin as friendships, you have a better chance of developing a long-lasting, meaningful relationship, as opposed to relationships that are built primarily on physical attraction or intimacy.
Finally, most of all, enjoy yourself through this process of having your friends help you find dates, and view this as an opportunity to develop new friendships and hone the list of "criteria" on which you evaluate potential dating relationships.