I’m not desperate enough to use a dating agency!

I’ve been out with so many guys. Some men just seem interested in sex, some are very nice and good fun but not ready to settle down and some are simply way off my wavelength. I seem to have run through all the available men at work or in my neighbourhood or in my circle. A friend suggested I try a dating agency but I’m not sure I’m that desperate yet. What can you suggest?

I don’t think you have to be desperate to try a dating or introduction agency or any other way to meet people. I’d say, go for it.

You do, however, need to be careful and very clear about what you want and how to get it. Agencies that simply ask you to fill in a form and computer match you might not get you what you want – you could again find yourself with people only out for sex or not at all your type. Some, quite frankly, are a honeypot for married men who want to have affairs. Those that offer a personal service are expensive, but it may be worth the expense if it means you find a soul mate.

Decide whether you want a date or a partner, because the agencies that offer matching for people wanting someone who is serious tend to be the ones on the upper expense level but also who ask more questions and try to give a level of security to members.

Only go to one that is a member of the Association of British Introduction Agencies. Look perhaps for one that fits you and your lifestyle – a dining or lunch club or one for special interests so you might meet a range of people in a less pressured situation. Or first try a singles holiday. Whatever you do, tell your friends what you are doing and keep the common sense rules;

Tell someone what you’re doing and have their number on speed dial in case you need to call for a lift home

Meet in public not at your home or theirs

Start casual – meet up for a coffee rather than commit yourself to spending a whole evening with someone who may not be someone you can get on with.

Do unto others as you would like to be done to. If you decide you don’t want to meet up again, say “Thanks for a really nice evening. I don’t think we’re suited for a long term relationship so I think we’ll end it here.” Don’t make excuses or say you’ll ring with no intention of doing so.

Be yourself – don’t pretend to be something you’re not. But be positive and don’t do yourself down.

… And then, go out and enjoy yourself!”

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