The difference between going out on dates and sitting alone at home often comes down to chutzpah. I discovered that when I was newly divorced and wanted to meet men. As a mother, an adjunct instructor and a freelance writer, if I wasn’t with my daughter, I was in front of my classroom or working alone at my desk. To meet a potential match, I had to go outside my comfort zone. I soon realized that audacity matters, and that courage goes a long way.

If you’re looking to bring some romance into your life, consider using chutzpah. Here are five steps you can take to be proactive about your dating life.

1. Spread The Word

Don’t be shy about letting people know you want them to set you up. Don’t just tell your close friends; tell friends of friends, your relatives, their relatives, co-workers, your hairdresser and anyone else who comes to mind. After I asked my piano tuner if he knew any terrific men, a composer (whose piano he tuned) called me. We had two lovely dinners. Unfortunately, he moved to London, but I enjoyed his company and learned a few lessons about creating that I’ve since used in my writing.

2. Make The First Move

Take action and make the first move in the course of your everyday life. Turn your regular haunts into places where you might meet someone. Talk to people in the supermarket check-out line, at work, in waiting rooms before appointments, at the gym, etc. Several years ago, a friend who walked early each morning approached a man who regularly walked the same route at the same time. They began walking together, which turned into doing everything together; they recently got married. Years ago, I smiled at a father I’d been seeing at the playground. The smile turned into a conversation, the conversation into a date. He became my steady boyfriend for two years.

Making the first move has paid off for me more than once. More recently, my daughter was in the school plays with a classmate. I asked her widowed father if he’d like to attend opening night of their “South Pacific” performance together and have dinner first. Although he began talking about his deceased wife before we finished our appetizers and admitted that he was not ready to be with other women, I knew if I continued using chutzpah in the future, I’d eventually have “Some Enchanted Evening” with some enchanted guy.

3. Try Something New

Switching up your routine exposes you to different people. Take classes in a subject or field you have been wanting to study. Not only will you learn something new, but you will be excited in the process and your best self will shine through. What a great way to meet like-minded souls.

Take a trip to a new place where you will be enriched and in contact with new people, whether it’s a sailing trip, a cruise, a safari, a hiking trip or even an archeological dig. I had a wonderful time on a six-day bike trip with 11 new people – four married couples and three other divorced women. I asked them ALL if they had any available male friends, relatives or doctors back home. One did. I dated him.

4. Go Places By Yourself

Try going solo more often. Someone who finds you attractive might be intimidated and shy away if you are with another person or in a group, so it opens you up to meeting more people. Plus, you will be more compelled to approach someone if you have no one at your side. Even if it’s scary to go out without your wingman or wingwoman, you have nothing to lose and oh-so-much to gain.

Eat alone in restaurants. Sit near someone who is alone and ask a simple question or make a comment about the ambience or the food. Spend time at stores and events that enrich you. I love bookstores, so I used to stop at my local one on my way home from teaching when I was already in a cuter outfit than what I wear to write at home. I talked to men while browsing in fiction and nonfiction. I talked to men at book readings I’ve attended, and sat down next to those alone. At faculty parties, which I don’t really enjoy but made a point of attending, I asked an instructor a question over the crabmeat canapés. He asked me out for the following Friday.

5. Go On JDate

Signing up for JDate can be a game changer. You get to use chutzpah with a huge pool of available men. I did. What a swell party we are now having. I married my Some Enchanted Guy.

Wherever you are and whatever you do, remember to wear an invisible “Open For Business” sign. It shows that you are approachable. A smile might be your first step; I learned that with the playground dad. Remember, too, that the only men who show up and ring your bell are those delivering the food you order. Take action. Reach out. Use chutzpah. Don’t wait. If you wait for the right man, you’ll be a waiter, not a dater.

You may also be interested in 6 Ways For Singles To Break A Dating Slump

  1. It is so so exciting to read all these wonderful news about Nancy
    She is the greatest.. the kindest and we are so so proud of her.
    we did read the book.
    Please give me the adresse of the NYU bookstore for September 29.. we will be there.
    love. Nelly and Nathaniel

  2. Loved the “Open for Business” advice. It seems so true. Thanks for the article.

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