How Do You Get Out and Meet People to Date after 40?

I worked on a piece today for a magazine that asked me, ask an expert on first impressions, and networking, several questions about getting into the dating world after 40.  Here are my very rough notes that I sent them.

How do they approach coming back to dating after a long break? One step in entering into the mingling, and dating world is to think about it as an adventure, a fantastic trip to a new land! That can raise your energy and excitement and flip it from a “Job” to what it can be and that is fun! When you plan a trip, you think about where you most want to go, then kind of “scenery” and “activities” and new people you want to see and experience. Make a plan, set weekly and monthly goals and activities. Post your activities on your phone and ideally to make it real a wall calendar in your home. I suggest to clients they put little yellow sticker circles on activity days on their calendar and make sure they plan on a least one a week.

Number one, talk to strangers. Start conversations with interesting, safe people wherever you go. From your bank teller to the guy or gal behind you in line at the grocery store. It makes your life happier and as my mom always says, “Go out, You might meet somebody.” She met my dad at a dance she hadn’t wanted to go to because she was tired from a long day at work but her sister said, “Go, you might meet somebody.” She met my dad on a Wednesday and married him a WEEK later.

Ask yourself what you like to do, or if you have been a homebody for a while what you use to like to do. Do you enjoy movies? Find a meeting up group and go to movies or go onto your neighborhood Facebook page, (Try and say, “Hey I am going to see “MOVIE” name at 4:00 on Sunday, who wants to join me.

If you like music search for small venues ( Search for “Listening Rooms” those are venues, where people don’t get on their cell phones or get rowdy they listen to the music and can talk before and after acts) where you can meet people and go. You can take a book, but sit at the bar and leave a empty seat next to you and if someone seems nice, guy or gal talk to them. Practice your meeting new people and small talk skills.

It's cliché, but find a class at your local college, in the continuing education department. I taught a course we called “Meeting of the Minds" at Emory continuing Ed for 14 years. It was a six week class where the group met at different coffee houses. A lot of people met, fell in love and got married taking that class.)

Again cliché, but volunteer. Google something you might like to do and then, volunteer. You can usher at plays and concerts, you can read at the local hospital, you can sort food at the local food bank, you can register people at a Saturday Marathon.

Look online for Meetup groups, They have them for EVERY interest, from photography and hiking to wine tasting and science lectures. Just go, go early so you can be the greater and have a task to do to make other people feel welcome.

Absolutely ask you friends for their help. Years ago I asked two guy friends if they knew anybody and they said, “Are you kidding we are gay, we don’t know anyone for you.” Weeks later they called, they were having dinner with my one friends uncle, who was single and describing what he wanted in a woman and it fit me to a tee and we set up a date. Keep saying what you are looking for. Your friends and family may forget you are looking. Remind them!!!

Eat out at restaurants you feel comfortable in that the kind of people you feel good around go to. Sit at the bar where you can make new friends. If that seems overwhelming, go sit at the bar and order take out and get a drink,(soda’s work if you don’t’ drink) so you sit there for a few minutes, then build up to sitting there for a full meal and talking to strangers around you.

I recommend that you NOT go to online dating sites That is a rather scary world for the over 40 newbie single person.. Even if you are an introvert and it seems so simple. Delay the urge. Get your sea legs and the connection of other single friends first to be grounded and supported. Getting out into the world with other SINGLE people who are experiencing some of the same feelings is helpful and healing even if you don’t immediately meet someone you want to date. You may test it later, but Delay it. If and when you do go into that world, know it’s very easy to create a persona or façade online. choose carefully, get on the phone as quickly with them as possible to hear how they really are and not merely anyone’s well-crafted tales. Ask yourself if you feel safe and comfortable with them on the phone. Are any warning bells going off. Ask them for photos of them with friends and or family. Look at those photos carefully to see how they are with other people.

Patti Wood, MA - The Body Language Expert. For more body language insights go to her website at Check out Patti's website for her new book "SNAP, Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language and Charisma" at