By Kimberly Pryor Wilkes,  Award-Winning Author and Creator of The Rebuilding Your Life After Divorce DVDs

How do you really feel about online dating after divorce? Maybe your divorced and single friends have urged you to try it and you feel it’s just too weird connecting with someone over the computer.  

Or you’ve trudged through online date after online date and are having no success. There’s either no chemistry between the two of you—or your dates have been too old, too fat, too boring, or simply too weird.

If that’s the case, I give you permission right now to scream. Go ahead, let it out. Get that online dating indigestion out of your system. (If you’re in public, I would recommend going home first before trying this.)

Lord knows, I’ve been there myself. I’ve had online dating burnout.

But I don’t recommend you completely give up on online dating  or even take a break from it.

And if you have never tried online dating I don’t recommend that you ignore it completely.

Why? Because three of my divorced friends met their significant others on the online dating site Plenty of Fish and I met my husband there as well. And my husband is quite the catch. He cooks most of our meals, does housework, treats me right, has a kind heart, and is fun to be around.

So no matter how frustrated you’re feeling right now or how afraid you are to start dating online, you can meet good people on the Internet.

If you take a break from online dating and hide your profile, you risk missing out on receiving an email or a virtual wink from the person who could be the one for you.

What I am suggesting is that you mix things up a bit. Keep going on those online dates and revise your profile in a way that is more likely to attract better dates. But don’t let online dating become the only way you’re meeting members of the opposite sex.

Besides online dating, here are four other ways you can connect with potential dates.

The Best Way To Meet People With Similar Interests

Meetup groups are the best way to connect with people who have the same hobbies and interests as you do. These groups exist in virtually every town and there’s a Meetup group for many different pastimes from hiking to yoga to camping trips to attending social events.

You simply sign up online to be notified when a Meetup group involving your particular interest is getting together.

Let’s Get Down To Business

Attend business conferences and conferences related to any non-profits you volunteer at. Since conferences aren’t really about meeting dates you’ll feel less pressure compared to when you feel as if you have to make a good impression on someone like during speed dating (see below).

You’ll likely meet lots of people and go out for drinks or dinner in groups when the conference seminars and workshops are over with for the day. And for times when you do find yourself swept into a one-on-one conversation with a cute conference attendee, the fact you’re both at the same conference and have something in common is an instant conversation starter.

Most importantly, connect with the organizers in advance and volunteer your services at the event. It’s much easier to meet people if you’re engaged in a common goal than having to walk blindly up to someone and introduce yourself.

One of the biggest bonuses of meeting people of the opposite sex at a business conference is you know they have a job!

Attend conferences within a few hour’s drive from where you live to increase your chance of meeting someone from near your hometown.

Have a Quickie

No, not that kind of quickie! I’m talking about speed dating. Speed dating is a wonderful way to get to know someone in person in a very short time in a way you can’t get to know people during online dating email exchanges.

At speed dating events, you spend a designated number of minutes with each person of the opposite sex who is attending the event. The women sit at tables and one by one the men sit down to chat. Ladies, the men just come to you! It doesn’t get any better than that.

The speed dating organizer lets you know when the time is up and guys then move along to the next table.

During the event, if you want to connect with someone again, you mark it on a form, which you hand to the event organizer at the end. If your potential dates also marked you on their forms, then the organizer gives you their contact info.

Speed dating has the advantage over online dating in that you can see what a potential date is like in person before agreeing to go out.

Helpful hint: If making conversation with a stranger makes you nervous, bring along a prop that you can use as a conversation starter.

When I did speed dating, I always brought along a Pez dispenser. It was difficult for either the guy or me to be nervous while looking at Minnie Mouse or Donald Duck.

It was an easy way to flirt, too. I could offer the guy a Pez candy and say, “I don’t give my Pez to just anyone, you know.”

Plus, the guy’s response was a wonderful way to find out whether he had a sense of humor and whether he could be playful. And it was a way to show I was playful and unique.

Raise the Bar

Most people don’t feel comfortable meeting potential dates in a bar—and for good reason. In bars there will always be drunk people. And people who are just there to get laid.

But there are some bars where the friendly, fun, reasonably sober people outnumber the ones who have gotten a little too up close and personal with a bottle of tequila.

Before I met my husband, there was one bar where I loved to hang out. It was at an upscale restaurant at Lake Tahoe near where I lived. It felt more like I was in the living room of a friend’s lakeside home than in a bar.

The locals gathered at that bar and it was always easy to meet friendly people there. In between meeting new people I could watch the sunset over Lake Tahoe.

Sure, occasionally there was an obnoxious drunk man or woman there. And from time to time, I’d get hit on by a man who just wanted a one-night stand or short-lived fling—which wasn’t my goal.

But the majority of people I met at that upscale bar were fun, interesting, businesspeople. Most importantly, because it wasn’t a dive bar, I felt comfortable there. I could go there alone and feel perfectly safe.

So venture out to an upscale bar near where you live and have a drink and/or appetizers from time to time. Sit at the bar and not at a lounge table—even if you’re there with friends. You’ll be more likely to meet people that way.

The Ritz-Carlton, the Hyatt, and any high-end hotel chain usually have the type of upscale lounges I’m talking about. But you can also keep your eye out for independently owned establishments with a comfortable atmosphere and where the local’s like to hang out.

Get Out There

In meeting potential dates offline, pursue your passions in life and you’ll connect with others who have the same interests. Not only will you meet more members of the opposite sex, but you’ll also meet new friends of the same gender, too. That means you’ll have new people to hit the town with when your old friends have dates.

Plus, there’s less of a chance you’ll suffer from online dating burnout if that’s not the only way you’re meeting people.

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