Ricardo and I were talking about dating, and we agree: Blind dates can be fun and stressful. Meeting people and having new experiences is fun, but getting back into the dating pool after a breakup can also be stressful – especially when that translates into blind dinner dates where you’re sitting across from someone, trying to navigate through 20-some years, in about two hours, through a series of questions.

The way he described this type of date is exactly right – there’s a lot of pressure because in that moment, “you’re the interviewer and the interviewee all at once.” You’re trying to form a spark through interrogation and hoping dinner won’t become a part of your smile.

As much as I don’t, I like this set-up because sitting face to face gives me a lot of information about someone based on how he reacts to and answers a question. Neither he nor I can write and rewrite an email or text until it’s perfect; we experience each other as we are with nervous laughs, awkward pauses, faces turning red and all.

“What do you think about bowling as a first date?” Ricardo asked. I’ve never tried it, but it sounds like a good idea – an activity instead of dinner, where the focus can be shared between talking to the person and playing the game. If nothing else, my score could give us something to talk or laugh about. But I was still unsure, because what if there wasn’t enough time to talk? That’s why movie dates don’t work.

Ricardo said I should head to the bar with a core group of my girl friends.

Our boss, Brian Olszewski, general manager of the Catholic Herald, rolled his eyes at the in-house “Date Doctor’s” advice.

“Just remember, if you find them in the bar now, you may find them there later,” he said.

That’s why I’ve gone online.

Dating sites have become a popular way for people to build relationships – in fact, according to the scientific journal, “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America,” more than one-third of American married couples between 2005 and 2012 met online;  of these, 45 percent met through dating sites, 20 percent met on social networks and 35 percent met via chat rooms/forums/blogs/gaming sites. Young adults who found their spouses through online dating sites share their stories on Page 8.

But many of the people I work with met their spouses without the help of online sites, so I thought it would be fun to ask a few co-workers for dating advice.

“Meet them at the grocery store. You have to find somewhere though, I would go more on the Eastside probably, you’re younger, and you’ve got UWM right there. … Make sure you don’t have any rings on or anything and walk around the store. I think the grocery store is good. … You could go down to, in the summer, where they play volleyball down on Bradford Beach. I would go there, too.”
Kathy Nowicki, business manager,
married 32 years, met at CYO

“I think that you need to be very social, make some friends outside of what you have so that you have larger amounts of people that you socialize with, because it’s better to meet someone like I met my husband, through another friend who met him through another group … I think it opens the circle.”
Sally Wittman, classified advertising,
married 27 years, met through friends

Look for a friend, not necessarily a boyfriend, and who knows where that might lead. As Brian said, you probably won’t find him in the bars at 2 a.m., but might be more apt to meet him at a run, through family or friends or even at faith-centered social gatherings. Don’t let your first impression be your only impression. If that were the case, the annoying guy wearing the “dragonfly shirt” nearly 30 years ago would have never become my husband!
Maryangela Layman Román, managing editor, married 22 years, met through family

“Almost all the people I met before I got married, I met through friends. … (Going to the bar) depends on how old you are, too, because for someone my age to go to a bar or even a nice bar, there just aren’t that many people my age out – they don’t go out very much.”
John Teggatz, production coordinator, married seven years, met through friends

“The bar thing is OK, but you take your chances with who you meet at the bar. … Like experiences, too, if you’re into bicycling and you bike at the park you could probably meet someone doing similar activities, a painting class or some sort of shared experience or shared interest, whatever that might be.”
Erik Petersen, graphic artist,
married 10 years, met in school

Everyone has a little bit of advice about how to find the one, or how to discover what we are meant to do in life, but we still have to do the work. What worked for one person, may not work for the next. In this issue, we shed light on young adults who are discovering, and have found, their vocations and how they got there. Maybe something they share about their journeys will help you in yours.