When I was invited to speak on a panel called “Suddenly Single” in September 2014, I thought, why not? Even though I had just gotten married a few months earlier, I figured who better than me to speak on the subject of being single.
Between all the boyfriends and break-ups, I had been suddenly single so many times in my life, the conference organizers considered me an expert. So I said yes.
Part of the women’s conference “Deal With It: Taking Charge & Facing Life’s Curveballs,” sponsored by the MPTF (Motion Picture Television Fund), “Suddenly Single” was billed as a how-to on “Creating a social network, mastering the new dating game safely, and controlling your financial portfolio.”
My fellow panelists included a divorce attorney, a former law enforcement guy who now runs his own security firm, and a divorced single mom. Together, we shared our insights on everything from dating profiles to pepper spray, from background checks to finding Mr. Right.
Our goal was to help those newly single people navigate the world of dating, mating, hooking-up, and breaking-up, all without fear and loathing. As the once-perpetually single person on the panel, I felt it was my personal duty to not only enlighten and empower my single sisters in the audience, but to also show them that single life needn’t suck.
Here are some Q&A highlights from the session:
What’s the secret to being a successful single person?
Striking a balance and being comfortable in your skin. It’s the ability to be alone with yourself without freaking out, and social without feeling pressure to do so. Having balance is doing what you love with frequency and passion, then knowing when to stop and be still.
How do you survive break-up hell?
First, process the grief any way you have to: therapy, exercise, spa treatments, journaling, meditating, drinking in mass quantities or smoking a bowl with your buddies. However, if you’re feeling fragile and your heart is still mending, don’t jump back into the sack too soon. “Getting over someone by getting under someone” is total bullshit and bad advice unless you’re an unevolved guy who thinks getting laid solves everything.
What are some red flags to look out for when dating?
Watch out for the guy who texts all the time and doesn’t talk on the phone. He’s either not available, not serious, a total wimp, or worse, married. Men who hide behind texts are a big red flag. So are men who can’t spell.
What are some of your hot tips for meeting guys?
Volunteer, take an extension class at a local university, join a gym, go to Happy Hour with your girlfriends, hit balls at a driving range, and always show up for jury duty– the jury pool is a captive audience filled with great dating potential. Most of all, learn how to make eye contact and smile. You may hate it, but it works. There’s nothing like a smile to say “I’m open for business!” It’s like hanging a welcome sign over your head.
How do you win at the dating game?
Keep your sense of humor and don’t take things too seriously. You want to be able to laugh the whole thing off when things go horribly wrong– and they will at times. Having healthy self-esteem and self-worth is most important though. It’s like dating catnip: it makes you extremely attractive to people. If you always think of yourself as the prize, then the best man will win.
Hopefully by the end of “Suddenly Single,” attendees (including my divorced mother) came away feeling more confident and less anxious about being single and back on the market.
Either that, or they came away needing to take a Xanax and take to their bed.