I was unsure about this topic but then I thought of all friends, their friends, colleagues, men and women on internet and dating applications or marriage websites (this is specific to India) — looking for a date, a relationship, a life partner. Someone to share spaghetti and a glass of red wine at the end of the day or a samosa and a chai in the evening. To watch a movie on a Saturday night tucked in bed with grilled chicken on plate and whiskey on the rocks in glasses. To go for an impromptu drive in rain on a Friday evening with classical music on the radio. A post-Sunday-lunch lazy sex with soft music in the background.
We all have friends, family, roommates, work, paychecks, hobbies, goals but we all need someone to look at us with a burning warmth in their eyes. To say that we mean the world to them. To say that they won’t be able to live without us. They crave that one hug of ours in the morning. They want us to bear their children, sleep the rest of the nights in one bed, and celebrate Diwali and Christmas together. When they see a slight cut on our finger, they over react. They hold our hands sometimes and tell us that everything would be all right.
They fill in our swiss cheesy holes of insecurities and imperfections. As J.S.Park said, “Real love doesn’t meet you at your best. It meets you in your mess.”
Your partner is your portable home.
Do I need to convince you more of the importance of a partner? Read my article on relationships to know how stable and long lasting relationships keep us happy and make us live longer.
A relationship or the search for a life partner begins with dating.
I have enough friends — both men and women — who have had trouble finding a right date for months. Or they have never been in a serious relationship and have not gone through the all night long staring into each other’s eyes and talking and waking up next to each other. They are genuine, kind hearted people who are doing well, professionally and personally.
The problem is not that there is no one — the problem is that you don’t see those people, are too scared, don’t pick up the signals, don’t do anything about them, and then rant in front of your friends every Friday evening over rum and coke or margaritas.
Let us solve this dating problem. I have focused this article on finding people. Next, I will write two separate articles on how to approach women and men.
Tinder and Other Dating Applications — Have they really helped? More often than not Tinder is only about sex. It took me a lot of time to realize that when I was on Tinder. My experience was mixed — horrible sometimes.
One guy texted yoga pants as I told him I just came back from yoga. One said he wanted to have sex as he was troubled in life. With another I had nothing in common though it looked like that we did. One’s pictures suggested Arjun Rampal but he was Vivek Oberoi (foreign friends, Brad Pitt vs Will Ferrell). And I have not heard anything better from friends. I know a couple who hit it off on Tinder and is still together, that’s all. This is out of hundreds of friends and youngsters I know in India, South America, Canada, Germany and more. Watch this youtube video to see how sad Tinder experiences can get.
The handsome prince was not going to ride out of Tinder on a white horse anyway. Overall, it was a sheer time waste — except that I can write about it. The application failed to achieve what it was meant for. And we would all like to believe that sex is all that we need, but no, we need more than that.
Butter chicken or macaroni with cheese is not comforting just because of the taste, it reminds us of home and that is the difference in a one night stand and a relationship.
If you are aiming for short-term and sexual relationships, go for Tinder.
You decide. Like I decided to start with — how not to find dates.
Nobel Prize winner Gary Becker, in his paper “A Theory of Marriage” in 1973, imagined society as an immense cocktail party with rational-minded daters searching for the most desirable partner. He predicted that men and women of similar desirability would partner with one another.
You don’t have to go out of your way to find people. You are looking for a like minded person and you would find one doing the same things as you are.
Shall we go on with the list then?
Friends of Friends, Neighbors, Ex’s Neighbors, Acquaintances, and at Parties — What about the hunk climbing the building staircase, returning from the morning walk with his ferocious German Shepherd? What about that pretty girl who kept teasing you at a common friend’s house warming party? What about the guy who was looking at you in a music gig and added you on Facebook the next day? What about the foodie who comments on your each and every post on a Facebook foodie group?
I thought I was crazy for imagining my ex’s neighbor as the perfect husband but I got to know he liked me. I dated many friends of friend’s — all disastrous relationships — but we tried. Do you like someone around you? Maybe they are also interested and you don’t even know?
Gym, Yoga, and Other Physical Group Activities — Aren’t you already doing something? Read my 30 life lessons from twenties and join today. The cute boy who always smiles while filling water from the can. The strong man who makes perfect postures in yoga and is shy in partner exercises. Some of them might be interested in you in spite of the dripping sweat and the clouds of smell spewing from your t-shirt. You both like to stay fit, that’s reason enough to at least try in this world of late night burgers and beers.
Weekend Events and Workshops — Remember that guy in the cooking workshop who kept adding pepper to your sauce as you said you like spicy food? What about the poet in the Hindi poem recital event? His ghazals did ignite some sparks. Maybe your poem did that too? What about the cyclist from the Sunday cycling event who cycle everyday for the past seven years and is planning to go to Himalaya? Dr. Jeremy Nicholson, a social psychologist and relationship expert, said, that long-term relationships are found with others who are focused on similar activities and hobbies in their daily lives.
Bars, Restaurants and Coffee Shops — Now these are complete strangers. You have no idea if they liked you and how they are going to react. But that should not stop you. Did you think about getting the number of the cute dimpled girl at the bar in a pink dress drinking beer? He also takes the Vietnamese coffee every time, isn’t that reason enough?
This culture has still not flourished in India. But aren’t we setting the trends now? My western friends — you have no excuse for not trying this.
Office — Complicated. I would only suggest this if they are not in your team and preferably on a different floor. This can create complications and distractions. But we should not ignore the option of office. There is a big stream of similar professionals in the office.
In a study, researchers tested and analyzed for traits, such as years of education, in 7780 couples in a U.K. database. They found that people choose mates with similar interests which might be associated with the level of education and your work profile.
The big corporates are so big that you might never run into them for work. So no harm in asking out that girl who works out in the office gym. Or the guy who always eats lunch at the same time and lets you pick up first in the cafeteria queue. Or the girl who is always struggling with chocos in the dispensing machine and smiles eye to eye when she sees you. Wait for my next article to see how to do this. Please don’t curse.
Travel Companions — What about that handsome Australian to whom you narrated the stories of Indian gods but all you could think of the entire time was kissing him? What about the Argentinian musician who hugged you as if you had assimilated the entire universe inside? What about the Dutch boy who touched your arm and asked the brand of your skin as you explained the softness and brand of your jacket? By the way, he was flirting. Notice, notice, and notice.
Public Transportation — You are surrounded by people in buses, office cabs, taxis, flights. We all tell stories to our friends about that one guy who always listens to A. R. Rahman and takes the cab at the same time. Maybe, he waits for you every time and narrates the same story to his friends about a cute girl in the cab?
Really, there is nothing more to it. You have to keep your eyes open and all your other senses on full alert. You need to be a bit social, so that you cover at least some, if not all, of the above activities. But you can also meet your soulmate in a public library where you both are lost in the thick volumes of the dusty history of the world. You both peek at each other from behind your round glasses and understand that life just changed in that moment.
I am not asking you to run after people around you with a fishing net. I am saying be receptive to those signals and stop searching for people; they are already there.
If you know other ways please add in comments. I would really appreciate that.