Many singles find challenges in their singles ward. They struggle to feel included within groups or cliques. Hanging out seems to occur more than dating. Even when dates do occur, the gossip or discomfort that follows can further discourage future dates and can even cause singles to want to leave the ward. The good news is, there are many techniques that can help singles make the most of their singles ward and can even help them find a mate.
There are many issues that can plague singles wards, and many techniques that I teach to overcome them. I can’t adequately address them all in just one article, but I will cover the two most common concerns: (1) how to meet more people in the ward, and (2) hanging out versus dating.
How to meet more people in the ward
One of the biggest challenges in a singles ward is actually meeting people within the ward. Attending only meetings on Sunday will rarely make you feel more connected. Instead you need to attend ward activities too. Unfortunately this can feel like a waste of time for many singles because either the same group of singles attends activities each week or the singles that they want to meet don’t often come. Plus, some singles have a hard time developing relationships within large groups. For them small groups are best. So here is a technique that should help.
Organize dinner groups or events that include new people each month.
You and your friends can agree to each invite at least three to five new people from the ward to every event or activity you plan (hoping for at least 15 to 20 friends). You could also encourage your ward (or volunteer to do this for your ward) to set up dinner groups at various homes each month. Offer to take requests from within the ward of those who would like to meet a specific person at these dinner groups. Make it known that efforts will be taken to avoid putting the same men and women in a follow-up dinner group so if they are interested in getting to know someone better it would be best to exchange numbers while at the event.
Hanging out versus dating
Hanging out as a group of friends can be essential for creating closer connections within your ward, increasing social skills, and developing greater comfort with the opposite sex. It can also provide singles an opportunity to learn more about someone so they can determine if they would like to date the person and if the other person seems interested in them too.
However, repeatedly hanging out tends to:
-Confuse singles (do they like me or my friend?)
-Decrease meaningful investment and sacrifice (because hanging out doesn’t require significant investment in the person you are getting to know)
-Decrease interest (because too much personal information and/or issues can be discovered too soon)
-Increase the “just friends” trap (because nobody is clear on what their role is or how they are supposed to act, i.e. like a romantic interest or a friend)
-Delay action (hanging out is easier to do than asking girls out; unfortunately the longer he takes the less interested she becomes)
-Increase competition and withdrawal (the more competition there is for getting someone’s attention the more likely singles are to withdraw rather than engage)
To prevent these issues from plaguing you in your social groups and within your singles ward, follow these guidelines:
When at social events or the ward act like a gal, not a pal. Take time to make yourself look and smell great. When at the event, encourage conversation, make physical contact with the men you like, smile, give them compliments, and use stronger emotion words rather than neutral ones (“I would love to do that with you,” versus “I would like to do that” or “That would be fun”).
Don’t be excessively available. Even if you can attend events in which you know he will be there, don’t attend all of these events. This shows him that you have a full and happy life and increases his desire to take action when he does get the chance to see you. By contrast, if he thinks he can hang out with you frequently, he might choose to sit back and slowly get to know you (which doesn’t require real investment).
Inspire him to call you. At the end of the evening or activity, touch him gently on the arm and say, “I’d love to get to know you better. I’d love you to call me sometime.” Then walk confidently away, trusting that if he is interested he will call you. And if he doesn’t call, at least you’ll know so you can focus your attention on the other men you like.
Ask questions that clarify his intentions. Hanging out in groups has many positives, whereas hanging out one-on-one often interferes with the dating process and increases doubts about what the other person is thinking. Avoid these doubts and secure real investment by getting him to clarify his intentions when he invites you to do something with him. To do this simply say, “That sounds great and I would love to get to know you better. I have to ask, so I know how to act: is this a date, or are we going as just friends?” If he says it’s a date, respond with enthusiasm and warmth. If he says it’s just as friends, then go with him once or twice. When you’re with him, remember that you are free to flirt with his friends. After all, he said you’re just friends.
Act strong and confident. If you’re to gain her attention and affection you need to act confident. This includes looking and smelling great, squaring your shoulders, looking her in the eyes, and staying in a casual, leaned back position (rather than leaning forward, which can make you look too intense).
Start a conversation. Don’t worry about saying something clever. Just start a conversation, introduce yourself, ask her name, and act curious about her opinions or interests. When asking questions be sure to share something about yourself relative to the same question (for example, if you ask where she is from, tell her where you are from). This shows her that you believe you are an interesting person and prevents her from feeling too cornered by your questions.
Seize the moment and ask for her number. When it comes time to leave, say to her, “I need to go, but I would love to get to know you better. Can I get your number and call you sometime?” If you aren’t sure how to get her alone to ask for her number, simply touch her on the arm and say, “Excuse me, I’m about to leave, can I talk with you for a brief moment?” Then once you are alone, go for it.
When you call her or invite her to spend time with you, make it clear that you are asking her on a date. Women are attracted to strength and confidence. They also like to be pursued and wanted (it makes them feel special). Additionally, women act more feminine when they feel safe and secure. Hanging out makes women act more like “pals,” whereas, dating makes them act more like “gals.” Thus, you will both have a better experience if she knows that you are interested in taking her on a date.
You can expand your circle of friends, date more, and get married, without all the awkward moments and gossip that are common when dating within the ward. To learn all the techniques I teach that can help you accomplish this, check out my audio on Making the Most of Your Singles Ward.
This article is sponsored by Alisa Goodwin Snell. Alisa is a dating coach with 17 years of experience as a marriage and family therapist. Alisa is the author of the “It’s Not You—It’s Your Technique” dating system. To learn more, visit ItsYourTechnique.com.