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10 dos and don’ts for men at singles events

As I entered the singles party, I felt that familiar spark of hope that tonight might be the night I’d meet Mr Right. But as I looked around, my heart sank a little. You know the phrase ‘a face like an unmade bed’? Well, this was like walking into a ward of unmade beds. A row of scruffy, paunchy, dejected-looking men gazed back at me with dull eyes. ‘Looks aren’t everything,’ I thought. ‘But seriously, gentlemen, if you’re looking for a wife, it wouldn’t hurt to run an iron over your shirt and drag a comb through your hair.’

I’ve met lots of fun, interesting men at singles events. But I’ve also seen many men waste the opportunities offered by a room full of ladies keen to meet a mate. Not bothering to scrub up is just one of the errors I’ve observed. So guys, if you’re sick of going to singles events and never getting a date, here are my top 10 tips for turning the situation around. I threw the question out to the women on my Facebook page for their input too, and here’s what we came up with…

(Oh, and gentlemen, don’t think I’m singling you out for a kick in the pants. Next month, it’s the ladies’ turn, so visit my Facebook page to share your advice).

1. Set yourself a goal. Shyness and fear of rejection can stop men approaching ladies they’d like to meet. I sympathise, I really do. But if you’ve made the effort to turn up, don’t waste the opportunity. Set yourself a goal of chatting to, say, five new women. You’ll score major points with the ladies simply by being bold enough to approach them. So in the words of the classic book, ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’. Really, what do you have to lose?

2. Bring a pal. We all know women have a bad habit of hanging around in packs, which are intimidating to approach (more on that next month). It’s easier to break the ice if you’re with a mate and can make it a group conversation rather than one-to-one.

3. Be prepared. If you’re prone to getting tongue-tied, prepare an opening line to introduce yourself, plus a few conversation starters for awkward moments. Ask about her job, church, hobbies or how she became a Christian. Balance talking about yourself and showing an interest in her. One of my FB followers suggested being ready with a joke or two, as women love a man who makes them laugh – but unless you’re genuinely witty, that could backfire! Best to just be yourself.

4. Don’t rely on Dutch courage. At one party I attended, a chap spent over an hour lecturing me on his prophetic ministry – through the haze of being extremely drunk! While I found him darkly amusing, I certainly wasn’t about to give him my number.

5. Don’t be over-flattering. Women aren’t impressed when men they barely know tell them how attractive they are. It can actually feel quite threatening. Men at parties who commented on my looks or figure just creeped me out, and were immediately ruled out. Something less personal, such as ‘That’s a pretty dress’, is acceptable; a suggestive comment like ‘Hey gorgeous, nice legs!’ is not.

6. Have some humility. The opposite of shyness is men who think they’re doing you a favour by talking to you. One woman recalled a guy who turned up to speed dating in filthy jeans, showed off conceitedly about his role as a worship leader, and boasted that he’d waited until the last minute to buy his ticket so he could get it cheaper, as men were such hot property at these events. She wasn’t impressed.

7. Don’t miss a hidden gem. I’ve watched men flock around the best-looking women in the room, while ignoring the others. Not only is it shallow, and hurtful to other ladies there – it’s also short-sighted. One of those less obviously stunning women could have been the perfect partner for one of those chaps. Now they’ll never know.

8. Put the ball in her court. Women can feel cornered when asked for their contact details. Instead, hand her yours on a card or piece of paper and simply say, ‘I’d love to hear from you.’ She might reciprocate with her details – or she might need time to consider it.

9. Don’t outstay your welcome. It’s frustrating to be dominated by one man all evening, and not allowed to wriggle away to chat to others. Talk for a maximum of 20 minutes, then give her your details if you wish, and politely move on. If there’s a spark, you’ll have another opportunity to chat.

10. Make an effort to scrub up! ‘Dress nicely, smell nice, and brush your teeth!’ exclaimed one lady on FB. But I’m sure none of you lovely gentlemen readers need to be told this… 😉

Women, what advice would you add for men at singles events? Share your wisdom and help the chaps put their best foot forward.

Next month: It’s the ladies’ turn! Top tips for women at singles events.

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