13:44 31 January 2006
Dating can be daunting, particularly if you've just come out of a long-term relationship. If you've been away from the singles scene for a while, you might have forgotten the rules and don't know where and how to meet new people.
Luckily, there are more dating opportunities around than ever before. Take a look at our guide on where to find that perfect partner.
Do it online
Surprisingly to some, this method of finding a partner offers the highest chance of success.
There are hundreds of good websites featuring literally millions of profiles. You can specify how near you'd like your matches to live, alongside age, interests and appearance.
Online dating has a high success rate because you can check out a photo first and decide how much information to reveal - or not.
Best for: Busy people looking for long-term love, because it offers a huge number of potential partners and allows you to communicate before you actually meet.
Speed dating has spawned gimmicks, such as dating in the dark and silent dating. But its original form works best.
Men and women have three minutes to chat, then everybody moves round to the next chair to meet someone new. At the end of the evening, you fill in a scorecard and, if the person you liked feels the same way, you set up a date.
It's simple, fast, and pretty effective - scientists estimate it takes just 10 seconds to make an initial judgment about a potential partner, so really, three minutes is ages.
Best for: People looking for fun and new friends, as well as a partner - you may not meet the love of your life but you'll almost certainly meet a few like-minded types you can have a laugh with.
Pursue a hobby
Taking up a new hobby - whether it's wine tasting, dancing, or simply going to the gym more than once a year - vastly increases your chances of meeting someone.
It also means you'll already have something in common, which is a good conversational ice-breaker.
But if you pick something that interests you - a book group, say, or charity work - even if there are no potential partners, you'll meet new people who'll probably know plenty of singletons and will be happy to introduce you.
Best for: People who have time to absorb a new interest into their lives.
Take a singles' holiday
Major tour operators offer both singles holidays, and singles weekends away in Britain. You can go hiking, sign up to save hedgehogs, or simply join a house party in a country manor.
The purpose of singles holidays is to meet other people of a similar age with similar interests. It's a combination that leads to the best and most lasting relationships, according to research.
Best for: People who are willing to take a chance and have enough confidence to chat to strangers.
Love thy neighbour
A recent survey found that most people in Britain barely know their neighbours. And that's a shame, as your perfect date could be living round the corner. Think of all the films featuring the boy or girl next door - and then ask yourself what's stopping you from introducing yourself to your neighbours.
If you live in flats, it's likely there will be single people sharing your address. And if you're in the suburbs, sign up for local community activities. Not only will you be doing something useful, the people you meet will live within a stone's throw.
Best for: People who don't have the transport or the time to date long-distance.
Source: Daily Mirror
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