Stigma-Smigma… Why STD Specific Dating Sites Are Really Popular

DATING can be difficult enough, but what about if you have a sexually transmitted infection?

Online dating has grown massively over the past few years and there’s a niche site to cater to pretty much every kinky fantasy under the sun.

But there’s a little-known sector that’s secretly thriving – dating sites for people with STDs.

Believe it or not the market is so popular that there’s tonnes of different sites out there. From STD Friends to Herpes Passions and HIV Mingle, there’s a whole host of websites for people with sexually transmitted infections looking for love.

Many have tongue-in-cheek taglines such as: “Stay positive! Find love, support and happiness” or “A seriously cool place to make friends with something in common”.

The most well-known of the sites is Positive Singles, which boasts that it’s the largest dating site and app for those with herpes, HPV, HIV, AIDs and Hepatitis.

It has the ease of Tinder, which is no doubt how it’s racked up more than 818,000 members across the world since its launch in 2001.

A recent survey revealed that most of it’s users are in their twenties and thirties.

Meanwhile, the site Date Positive lets users search for a partner according to which infection they have. Typically it’s free to join but members can pay to unlock advanced features.

Sexpert Brigitte Bard, founder of Sexual Health Revolution, Last Taboo and CEO of BioSure UK, said: “I believe websites which match people who are open about their STI status serve a really good purpose.

“They make people feel comfortable and safe when re-entering the dating scene. People I’ve spoken to say they provide hope for the future.

“For example, we must remember HIV is only three letters, not a sentence; so there is a whole life after diagnosis, even children.”

Unsurprisingly, the growth of STI-specific dating outlets goes hand-in-hand with the rising number of people getting diagnosed.

According to the American Sexual Health Association, more than half of all people will have an STD in their lifetime while the World Health Organisation says that roughly one million people catch an STI every day across the world.

In fact, herpes is one of the most common diseases in the world and it’s highly likely that you have it and don’t even realise.

A massive two thirds of the world’s population – more than 3.7billion people – under the age of 50 have herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1).

The virus, also known as oral herpes, usually causes cold sores around the mouth.

But another 417 million people aged between 15 and 49 have the second type (HSV-2) which is best known as genital herpes.

And 90% of those who have the infection aren’t aware of it because it isn’t really screened for during general sexual health check-ups.

So it means you have to take it on yourself to make sure you get the all-clear.

Brigitte said: “If you think you have an STI, the most important thing is to get tested so you can get treated.

“This protects your own health and stops you passing the infection on to anyone else. The sooner treatment starts, the better the outcomes.

“You can get tested at any local sexual health clinic, some GP surgeries also offer testing services or alternatively if you can’t get to a clinic there are many self tests available now – but make sure they are CE marked so you know your result is accurate.”

If you’re still worried about your sexual health but don’t know who to talk to, here’s all of your most embarrassing questions answered.

Curated by Erbe
Original Article

Women Who Lead in Love Are Finding Out This

If you’re an “I’ll wait for him to approach me kind of girl,” perhaps you should reconsider your approach to love in 2016—especially if you frequent online dating sites.

According to Yahoo, a recent OkCupid study revealed that women who initiated conversations online were 2.5 times more likely to receive a response in comparison to men who make the first move. Also, female-initiated contact led to more conversations and more dates. Approximately 12 percent of the messages men initiated resulted in dates while 30 percent of initiatory messages from women led to dates. And if that doesn’t motivate you, perhaps this will: The men that the women contacted were considered “more” attractive. Women who simply selected from the pool of men who reached out to them first were more likely to find themselves conversing with “less” attractive men.

To arrive at their findings, researchers pulled information from a random sample of 70,000 users who logged in at least three times within the same month.

“When women are proactive there’s a big win,” Jimena Almendares, OkCupid Chief Product Officer, told ABC News. “This is data that is showing that if they actually speak up, they have so much to gain.”

Of course, putting yourself out there is a lot easier said than done, but writer and relationship expert Demetria Lucas D’Oyley says that making the first move can be as simple as paying him a compliment.

“If you see someone you find attractive, you say ‘Hi,’ you ask him a question or you pay him a compliment,” D’Oyley shared during a “Good Morning America” segment earlier this month. “It can be as beautiful as, ‘I like your tie,’ ‘I like your hair.’”

Don’t get it twisted, though, your role as the aggressor should cease once you have his attention. At that point, you should chill out and allow him to do the pursuing.

“Making the first move doesn’t mean making all of the moves,” Demetria warned. “It means making sure that you’re friendly, you’re approachable; he knows you’re interested and less likely to reject him.”

Do you make an effort to approach guys you like? Why or why not?

Curated by Erbe
Original Article

The 7 Most Frustrating Types You’ll Meet on Dating Sites

Of course, there are many amazing single men out there looking for love but here are…

Five and a half years ago, at age 39, I was widowed suddenly. For a long time after that, I absolutely detested it when anyone would refer to me as being “single.” It was insulting to me. Single people hung out at singles bars and went out at night looking to meet other single people. Single people had a choice, or some version of a choice in their single-ness. Not me. My husband was dead. My life was ripped apart from me in one shocking second. I was widowed, NOT single, and there is a huge difference.

I didn’t want anything to do with the single life. I wanted no part of it. I just wanted my husband back. Now, years later, I still feel that way, because I still and will always want my husband back, and want that life that I had and never got to fulfill. But, I’m also human. And humans get lonely. Humans need to feel loved. Humans need companionship, and to spend time with other humans whose company they enjoy. So, sometime last spring, I attempted something I didn’t think I would ever attempt in my lifetime. And after my experiences, I honestly cant really see myself ever attempting it again. Dating sites.

To say this experiment has been interesting, is the understatement of the century. It has been downright weird and bizarre. Now don’t get me wrong. I have met some very nice people on these sites over the 10 months or so that I did it, here and there. But the weirdness and the confusion far outweigh the “nice”, at least in my experience. And the whole concept of meeting people this way, is extremely strange and foreign to me, still. Maybe because I am 45 years old. Maybe I’m just old school. Maybe this just doesn’t work for me. Or maybe its just weird and that’s just the way it is. I don’t really know. Yet here I am, stuck in this world of “unwillingly single.” And although I don’t have much interest in continuing to meet people this way currently, I have remained on 2 of the sites, mostly for comedic purposes (it sure gives great material for articles like this one!) If you are new to dating sites, one thing to take note of is that when you first join, you are like “fresh meat” for all the members. The responses are overwhelming at first, and yes, flattering. You start to think: “Hey, a lot of people think I’m attractive! This isn’t so bad!” Then you realize fairly quickly, that a good portion of those people are completely off-their-rocker-bonkers. After you are on the sites for a few months, the novelty wears off. Unless you are blonde and skinny with a perfectly sized body, all those multiple messages per day you were getting, telling you how gorgeous you are, start to wither away. So, even though I have remained on 2 of the sites, its mostly due to laziness of deleting my account. (I do the free ones. I’m not PAYING for this shit-fest!!!) The sites have been mostly silent as of late, aside from a random message now and then from a complete weirdo.

Even Though It Can Be Maddening, Why It’s Great to Be Dating

It true, here is how it can be rewarding, fun, and even powerful.

One of the hardest things in life is starting over. It is true with anything, really. If you’re a writer, the hardest part of writing any piece, is formulating those first few words at the beginning. If you’re an artist, the hardest thing is looking at that blank easel or paper, and trying to narrow down your topic of inspiration. And if you are a female who finds herself single again – the absolute hardest thing, is starting over. Whether you are single by circumstance, due to a break up, or because you were widowed young – navigating the dating scene and modern dating sites can be extremely frustrating, maddening, and even downright depressing.

But please know that in addition to all of that, it can also be rewarding, fun, and even powerful. It’s true.

The Maddening Part

There are some real whack-jobs on these dating sites such as the guy on that one site who wanted to pay me to smell my feet and then clean my apartment or the other guy who had a fetish for watching fuller-figured women shove spaghetti in their mouths. You get the idea. And the ones who aren’t can be plain old-fashioned rude. Guys who stop all contact out of nowhere, otherwise known as “ghosting.” Guys who lie in their profiles and then for weeks, telling you they are single when in fact they are very much married. Guys who just want sex and aren’t very smooth about getting it. These characters are out there.

All I could think, at first, in having to deal with all these lunatics online who didn’t seem to be too worthy of my time, was: “Dammit. I wouldn’t have to do ANY of this, if my husband weren’t dead forever. Can I just have THAT LIFE BACK NOW PLEASE???” But the thing is, the answer on that Magic 8 Ball always comes back the same. “No.” So I have no choice but to begin again, and once I began to accept that, I could start to see the dating sites in a whole new light.

There are a lot of genuine, real, kind men out there. Men who are just like me, and who are just trying to navigate their way through the life they have right now, and find something or someone they connect with. So, while the rest of you fellow single people are out there navigating like I am, here are a few reasons why starting over with dating can be positive, freeing, and powerful. Read on:


I need and want different things. I require someone who has an empathetic heart. I need someone who makes me feel safe and protected. I need someone who is emotionally stable and healthy. I need for the person I’m with to understand that my late husband is a piece of me, forever. And that my love for him and his for me, is the very reason that I’m able to want and desire a great love again now. I need someone who is secure enough in themselves to understand that the heart expands, and that they are not in a contest. Each love you have is unique, because each person and each connection is unique. Being jealous of a love from the past is not something I will put up with, and not the kind of person I want in my life today.


In my earlier days, before I was fully grown emotionally, I would have put up with a lot more from a partner than I do today. Today, I will not accept racism or hatred, however veiled, of any kind. I will not date anyone who treats other people with disrespect or unkindness. A long time ago, a friend told me that if a man is rude or standoff-ish to their waiter/server on a first date, she considered that a sign of how he will treat HER in the future when he is in a bad mood or life isn’t going well, and she wouldn’t see him again. I have adopted this same principle. It’s a very clear and easy way to show a lot about someone’s character. How do they treat people in the service industry? It’s very telling. Lastly, if I sense any red flags at all, or if something just feels “off” with someone I just began dating, I’m going to go with my instincts and assume that something IS off. Every single time I have ignored my instincts, I have regretted it. That’s not going to happen again.

When you’re a little older, these are the types of things that you start to get better at. You have to get your heart broken open a few times too many, in order to be able to spot the ones that might not be truthful. And let me tell you, there is a lot of power and freedom in saying to someone: “No. I deserve better than what you have to give me.”


Remember back in high school, or even college years, where every little thing that happened to you in your personal life, was literally the end of the world? Where every break-up, every fight, every boy that didn’t return your feelings, sent you into a spin-cycle of depression and endless sobbing? When you are older, those things just don’t matter much anymore. They slide off your back a lot easier than before. Because you have lived. You have experienced life, and it isn’t always pretty. You know there are disappointments. You know that people can hurt you. When you know all this, and then it happens from some stranger on a dating site, it doesn’t sting quite as much.

Sure, its never awesome when somebody makes you feel bad or makes you feel unattractive or unwanted. But really, when you think about it, anyone who would go out of their way to make someone else feel bad, has a lot of issues going on within themselves. Most of the time, when someone treats you poorly, it has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them and all their unresolved issues. Once you know this, it’s much easier to just accept things for what they are and try not to read too much into them, or predict the future. A text exchange with someone on a dating site is just that – two people talking and attempting to get to know each other. Sometimes these conversations will go well. Other times they won’t. Sometimes they will go nowhere or be boring or you wont click or connect. Other times you think that you did connect, and then he stops contacting you.

There are a million different variables and reasons why some things just don’t work out. If you try not to take it all so seriously, and take the pressure off of yourself that you NEED TO MEET YOUR SOULMATE RIGHT NOW!!!! – the entire dating experience becomes not only more tolerable, but sort of fun. Think of it as meeting lots of potential new friends. There are quite a few guys on the sites that I didn’t connect with on a relationship level, but who have become good friends. The ones that went nowhere, they probably weren’t meant to. Keep trying, and don’t take any of it to heart.


There is beauty in wisdom. In strength. And there is beauty in living a life of struggle and surviving. These days, even though I will admit to still being insecure about my fuller figured body, I am also a lot more secure in my own beauty, and I know that a lot of that beauty comes from an inner-light. If you show confidence and joy and an ease within yourself, that is reflected, and others see it as beautiful. Its an attractive quality. That is why when you are in a relationship and really happy, it seems like other guys are hitting on you and flirting with you all the time. They ARE! Because you’re giving off this joy and this peace as you strut your fine ass down that street, they pick up on that, and they want to be around it.


It’s the same way on the dating sites. Your inner-glow shows up and makes an appearance in your profile pictures. Men pick up on this, and they want to be around you. I will admit also, it feels really nice to be told, even by total strangers on dating sites, that you are indeed attractive, that you have a great smile, pretty eyes, anything like that. We are all human, and we want to feel wanted and cared for, and it feels good when someone else recognizes things in us that maybe we didn’t even see .

When I first started dating again one of my biggest worries was that I was convinced that nobody would or could ever love me in the beautiful way that my husband did. And in a way, I was right. Nobody WILL love me the exact way that he did. But why would I want them to? Someone new will love me in their beautiful and unique way. Once I figured that out, the fears about it started to drift away, and I started to get more excited about the idea of “someone else.” And now I’m finding that although I will always miss my husband, it is exciting and fun to discover someone new that you begin to care about, and all the many ways in which they choose to show you love.


The big thing about getting out there again and diving into the dating scene, is that it’s actually quite brave. It takes a lot of courage and energy to literally “put yourself out there” in mind, heart, and soul – and take the chance of getting hurt or rejected. But after having my heart broken a few bazillion times, I have started to figure out that someone’s rejection of me simply means that they are not the person who will appreciate what I have to offer and who I am and what I have been through. So I don’t want them. Which means, technically, I’m the one rejecting them. See how I turned that around? All it takes is a bit of humor, and a little perspective.

It can feel really good, and really powerful, to be able to get into the world of dating. There are so many interesting people in this world, so many to choose from. Some are so totally wrong for who you are, and others are so totally right. Some might be right if the timing were different, and others might be right if you were more compatible. And then, there is that someone, that could be the exact right person, at the exact right time, and you never would have known that, had you not taken that chance.

Love is a beautiful thing, and love is always worth the risk.
Every single time.

13 Dating Terms to Know, Before You Enter the Modern Dating Scene

Here are 13 of the most current dating terms and phrases for your modern love adventures — and what they mean.

So, here you are. You are single. You are lonely. Your Saturday nights involve tubs of ice-cream and marathons of “My 600-Pound Life.” You have been through a divorce, or you were widowed young (like me). Or maybe you just haven’t found anyone yet that is better than your ice cream.

You are finally willing to “get out there” in the world of dating, but the minute you do, your confusion overwhelms you and paralyzes you. You go onto a dating site or twelve, and immediately, you are met with words and phrasing you don’t understand. What language are these men speaking? What is going on? How am I supposed to date when I don’t even know what the hell these people are talking about?

I hear you, sister.

It’s hard to keep up with modern dating terms and they can be very tough to decipher.

Just when you have learned a brand new term and actually know what it means, it starts going out of style, and is replaced with the next one. It’s like when everyone on earth is in line for the new iPhone 10, and you’re finally getting rid of your Blackberry Curve.

But before you give up completely on what the latest terms mean and how to be aware of them — fear not. I am here to act as your dating dictionary, so that you don’t have to waste your life Googling everything.

Here are 13 dating terms to know, before you enter (or reenter!) the modern dating scene.

1. Catfishing

Okay, we’re starting really simple. This one has been around for awhile now. You may know that “catfishing” is the term for someone online who is lying or tricking someone else as to who they really are — but do you know why it’s called that?

The term “catfishing” is actually referring to literal catfish. It came from an old tale told by a fisherman, about a common problem in transporting cod. During the boat ride, the cod would become under stimulated and bored, causing them to become stale and tasteless. Someone came up with the idea to put catfish in with the cod, so that they would chase the catfish and keep them moving, active, and agile; resulting in a better quality cod.

So, because the catfish were “luring in” the cod, and stimulating them, this term began being used to describe what people were experiencing with online dating. For example, let’s say you develop an online relationship with this great guy named Alex. But every time you ask Alex to talk on the phone or Skype, he has some lame excuse about bad reception. Eventually, you decide to meet Alex in person. But when you get there, it becomes clear that Alex isn’t really Alex. In fact, he isn’t even male. Or the age you thought they were.

Congratulations. You have been catfished.

2. Netflix and chill

One might think this means exactly what it says, which is: “Hey girl, let’s hang out at my place and watch a movie on Netflix and relax.” But no. It is code. What it actually means is: “Hey girl, let’s hang out at my place and fool around with no commitment or promises for anything (otherwise known as “hooking up”). I may or may not show up with a condom. Cuz that’s how I roll! ”

It Is very important to know this phrase, because if you don’t, you would innocently assume you were going to someone’s apartment to watch a movie. When you pull up “My List” on Netflix and they pull out something else, you will then realize you have gravely misunderstood this common phrase.

3. DTR

I had to look this one up myself when a guy I had been seeing for about 2 weeks asked if I wanted to “hang at his place and chill.” Which is just a less impressive version of Netflix and chill. I told him I thought it was a bit too early for that, and he said: “We can hang out. DTR. And go from there.”

He followed this up with a wink-wink type look, but I followed it up by googling: What the hell Is DTR? Turns out it’s a simple acronym. It stands for “Define the Relationship.” Because saying all three of those words took SO MUCH TIME!!! Clearly, we need to abbreviate that. Anyway, that’s what it means. And Mr. Two Weeks clearly wanted to define our relationship as: “come on over and have casual and probably mediocre sex.” No thanks.

young woman talking on the phone

4. FBO

Did you know that if you get married, have a baby, get a promotion, or get fired- that it didn’t actually happen if you didn’t post it on Facebook? It’s true! And if you are involved in a new-ish relationship, it is up to both parties to decide, hopefully mutually, when they will go FBO, or “Facebook Official.” Soon, I expect that people will no longer get engaged. They will simply change their relationship status on their Facebook pages, and declare themselves FBO. This works great for cheapskates — no ring!

5. Ghosting

This is when you are talking with someone or dating someone, and then smack in the middle of your relationship, they just disappear. They stop all contact, with no warning or explanation. It can happen online, with someone you have been seeing for months or weeks or days, and it can happen in a regular relationship that never occurred online.

It happened to me last year. A guy I had become very close with, disappeared, and blocked me from contacting him again. We had been close friends for almost 2 years. This behavior is mean, immature, and spineless. It happens often, it is common, and it is a shame. There is really no way to avoid it, but you can try your best not to take it personally. Anyone who would do this to a person is not someone you want in your life. Doing this is a reflection of them, not you.

6. Zombie-ing

This Is sort of like the sequel to ghosting. This is when the ghoster comes crawling back, out of nowhere, and wants back in your life. They rarely apologize for their ghosting, and usually will try to regain contact with simple chatter such as “Hey what’s up with you lately”, or other lame musings.

It’s not a great idea to let a ghoster back into your life. They have an agenda. Once they don’t get what they need from you, they will move on to their next victim. This behavior is also sometimes referred to as “haunting.” As in, the ghost is back to haunt you.

7. Catch and release

These are lovely men who get off on the “chase”, so they will put a lot of extra efforts into “getting you.” Flowers, flirting, promises galore. Then, once they have your attention and they no longer have to chase you down, you lose your appeal to them and they stop putting in the effort. Then, finally, they get easily bored with you, and “release” you. Dump you.

If a guy comes on very strong and very charming at the start, and it seems over the top, you may be experiencing this behavior. Be careful.

8. Cuffing season

Oh, those long and lonely winter nights can be so burdensome, right? Yes, there is a season for this, and refers to those who want to be part of a couple, only for the cold winter season. To have someone to be with on the holidays, cuddle with, and make passionate love to on cold winter nights.

A warning: as soon as that sun comes out and the weather gets warmer, you might find yourself getting ghosted! If a guy seems a bit too anxious to make you his girlfriend the day before Christmas, you might be headed for cuffing season.

9. Thirst trap

Okay, this one is just weird. This is a dude who puts up an image/picture of himself, usually on a dating site or on social media, with the specific intent on shocking people or getting lots of attention, which is also known as “thirst.” A typical picture might be of a guy’s shiny abs with a beer bottle resting on them, or beach sand placed just right (in the crevice of his rear).

This “thirst trap” type of picture is rarely ever a well-intentioned person. At worst, it’s a scam of some kind to get you to click on the image. At best, it’s a narcissistic dude who gets his jollies every time a new chick clicks “like” on his stuff. Either way, he has no intention of dating you — hence the “trap.”

Young couple arguing in a cafe. Relationship problems

10. Slow fade

Sounds like a romantic movie ending, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, it is the exact opposite.

The slow fade is basically when you are dating someone, and they decide on their own, without informing you, that they are no longer interested in you anymore. So, much like the ghoster who is too spineless to have a conversation about this, they start a gradual descent into not caring. They text you less often, they stop flirting, they suddenly seem like they don’t care. Because they don’t. The communication and effort gets less and less, until you have been faded out of the picture.

This is basically ghosting, in slow motion. It’s “Ghosting Lite” for the jerk who isn’t quite ready to take on the commitment of full-on ghosting!

11. Breadcrumbing

This one is very big on the dating sites. It basically means “to string someone along”. These are guys that will act interested in you. They flirt. They send sexy messages. They compliment you. But it’s all very vague and doesn’t ever go anywhere. It seems like all they want to do is just text endlessly, until one of you dies.

I’ve talked to these dudes many times. They get you hooked on them by appearing interested and charming, then they never follow through with anything. Most of them have no intention of even meeting you in person.

However, this can also happen offline too. Just a string of non-committal dates that are vague and don’t seem to be leading to anything. Sometimes these men aren’t entirely single (but you don’t know that), or they just enjoy lots of casual and lazy dating. Buyer beware.

12. Love-bombing

While the bread-crumber leaves slow and vague trails of crumbs for you to follow, the love-bomber does the opposite. This often involves big grand gestures of romance. Passionate love notes. Roses and promises of trips taken in the future together. Lots of presents. This is to draw you into them, at which point, they begin to reveal the “real” them, which isn’t always pleasant.

A lot of love-bombing is done by master manipulators and narcissists, who can appear charming upfront, but are actually quite controlling and aggressive. If someone comes on too strong too fast, or their “attacks” or bombs of passion just feel a bit too awkward, follow your gut. Things should progress and feel natural between two people. Whenever you feel as if you are a pawn in someone else’s game, you probably are. Pay attention to those early signs telling you this doesn’t feel right.

13. Lay-by

(It’s pronounced like “laying by the side of the road until I decide you are worthy of my attention.”)

This is similar to putting something on Layaway. You want the item, but you can’t commit to it right now. These men put women on “layby” status – they are usually still in another relationship, living with someone, often even married or separated but not divorced.

They are the types who do not like to be alone. They want to have the next person all lined up on stand-by, for when and if this current relationship blows up. So they keep you in the corner, waiting, while they figure out their life. Nice, right? Yeah. Not so much. If you are dating someone and you feel like you don’t always come first for them, you probably don’t. First is their spouse or girlfriend. Then you. Maybe.

Now that you’re fluent in these modern dating terms, you can be on the lookout for terms that aren’t on your terms.

I hope that these definitions are helpful, and at the very least, entertaining. The good news is that, out of all this craziness, I DID actually find love, eventually. Now, you can follow in the breadcrumbs of my misery, and laugh your way to a healthy dating life. And if that doesn’t work, well… there’s always ice cream.

For more reading on modern love, check out this guide to dating apps — and then prepare for the worst (while hoping for the best!) by learning about the 7 most frustrating types you’ll meet on dating sites.

9 Ways To Meet People Besides Scrolling Through Dating Apps

Don’t let your phone do all the work.

Your fingers are sore from the constant swiping, your mind tired from constantly thinking of witty quips for your next dating profile. I hear you. I’ve been there — in fact, I’m there now.

The good news is that you can always take a hiatus. The better news is that you can still meet new people, sans screen.

Here are some ideas for how to meet people in real life.


The benefits of volunteering are limitless. I got my current full-time job through being a committed volunteer. I’ve made lots of friends volunteering. The same extends to finding a date.

While you shouldn’t volunteer just to meet a date (because gross), volunteering is a major way to expand your network. Lots of volunteer programs have mixers of volunteer appreciation nights – try going to one and seeing who catches your fancy after a few drinks.

Go to meetups

I’ve used for poetry workshop groups and for practicing French conversations. It’s an excellent way to meet folks you’ve never met before.

Creating a profile is pretty straightforward, it’s mainly a matter of choosing what your interests are. This way, you’ll definitely meet folks you share a common line with. If nothing else,you’ll make new friends – especially if you go consistently

Partake in an artistic community

Are you a painter, writer, dancer, or musician? Or do you appreciate those art forms? When I say get involved in your town/city’s art scene, I don’t just mean going to the big museums; I mean going to open mics, local shows, small gallery openings, and community theater performances. I’ve gotten the chance to meet so many awesome creatives by simply going up to the performers later and telling them how great they were.

Most local art is reasonably priced, and because it’s so small, when you see the lead of Antigone the musical that wowed you, you can tell them in person (and slip your number if you’re feeling flirty).

Take classes

Learning is the thing I miss most about school. Luckily, there are plenty of adult learning opportunities.

Want to brush up on your college pottery? Or learn to make pots like Sam in “Ghost?” Look into a local class and meet other folks who want to expand their minds, too. You’ll always have a discussion topic – class!

Accept your friends’ party invites

Easier said than done. I am the #1 champion of calling it a night early because it’s 10:00pm on a Friday and sometimes, bed is just a nice place to be. But I’ve also forced myself to go out and ended the night with two new numbers in my phone. Go to your friends’ birthday parties, or random club meetings and expand your network. Most job opportunities (and romantic opportunities) tend to come from folks like acquaintances, or people who aren’t part of your immediate friend circle.

Eat out/go to bars alone

I know, I know – wild. More people do this than you would think. Try picking a bar that’s on the quieter side and sit at the bar, so you can at least chat up the bartender. I’ve done this before and had plenty of friendly, non-creepy conversation. Plus sitting alone makes you look confident, and confidence is way sexier than bona fide good looks. If you’re still nervous about it you can bring a good book as backup.

Join a book club

join a book club

You’ve been telling yourself you want to read more for years. Just join a book club already! You can find one through a friend, or through websites like meetup. Nothing’s hotter than someone with a working brain. Ask your book club crush about their thoughts on Zadie Smith and go from there. This is much better than eyeing the book titles of strangers on the train and mentally appreciating their choices in literature – which I do a lot.

Don’t work from home all the time

While working from home can be a blessing, it’s not so great on the social side of things. You’re missing out on all the office gossip and potential for flings (which, on second thought, might be a for the best after all). Get out of your PJs and hit up your local cafe. Once you become a regular, you notice the other regulars too, including the handsome barista at the bar.

Go to the dog park

Few things are as joyous as playing with a pup in the park, while low-key scoping for potential dates. A guy with a dog obviously has a soul, so the dog park works pretty well as a vetting location!

See if you can borrow a friend’s dog for a tousle in the park. If they have a busy schedule, I doubt they’d resent their dog getting more outdoor time.

You can totally meet people without relying on a screen. It’s as simple as getting the hell out of your house. Easier said than done. But once you get going, watch your phone fill up with contacts.

If you’d like to read more like this, check out: “Behind the Swipe” with LOVE TV — The Story of 10 Tinder Dates in One Month, 7 Love Lessons I Learned from the Amazon Show “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”, and Is Your Dating Out Of This World? Here’s How to Find What Planet You Are