Sam: You going to the Matzo Ball?
Noah: Hell. No.
Sam: Why not?
Noah: Because I went last year and it sucked.
Sam: Awww, it wasn’t that bad.
Noah: Yeah, it was. You don’t remember? We paid $50 bucks for one hour of drinks and pretzels. And none of the women there wanted to talk to us.
Sam: Hmm. Yea, I guess you’re right.
AND …somewhere else…
Hilary: I signed up for the Chanukah bash today! Have you registered yet?
Beth: Oh my God, Nooooo!
Hilary: Why not? We had fun last year!
Beth: We did? Because if I recall all we did was spend three hours talking to Robyn, Amy, and Michelle. Why do we need to go to somewhere to pay to talk to them? Plus, none of the guys will talk to us.
Hilary: Hmm. Yeah, that’s true.
My single Jewish Brothers and Sisters, my Aunt Judith was right when she said, “You really should just go. G-oh!!!! GO find yourself a girl for God sakes!!! It’d be nice to go to a wedding before I die!”
With that being said, I’d like to offer some of my own words of wisdom to get the most out of your Young Adult Jewish Party experience. It’s all very remedial and you probably already have this figured out. So, consider this a refresher. Feel free to disagree with me or offer your own advice. But, c’mon, I’m just trying to do my part to help you find an alternative to JDate. (Sorry JDate, you know that as much as I hate you, I’ll always keep crawling back.)
You go to a million Jewish events and always end up talking to the same friends you arrived with, right? Well, that’s because you had no plan. You were passive. You played it safe to save embarrassment and rejection. Well, you’re in good company. Just look around at your next Jew Party, notice how little mixing is going on? C’mon cowboys and cowgirls, there’s cattle to be herded, saddle-up and ride. Here’s my strategy for landing yourself a stallion (or a cute Jewish girl):
Have a plan: Whether you go alone or go with friends, you need a plan. If you’re going with friends and your goal is to meet some new people, tell your friends in advance that your plan is to mingle and meet. You don’t want your buddy feeling abandoned when you go searching for love.
Give yourself a measurable goal: What do you want out of this? To meet someone to date, right? So, here’s what I suggest. Before you get to the event, make a goal and tell someone about it.
Example goal #1: Introduce yourself to three new people of the opposite sex and maintain a 10 minute conversation with each of them.
Example goal #2: Spend no more than five minutes in a conversation that you don’t want to be in. Don’t get trapped.
Example goal: Ask for one woman’s phone number for a date or offer a business card to a guy
Don’t even worry if nothing comes from your efforts to achieve these goals. Just make a promise to yourself that you won’t leave until it’s completed. And, don’t cheat.
Be confident: Do you get nervous sometimes meeting new people? Try giving yourself a code word for confidence. My new code word is “swagger.” I said swagger because I overheard a woman on the L describe a guy that way and she was totally crazy for him. I know it’s corny but when I say “swagger” it just makes me walk tall. If a code word doesn’t trigger a little bit of confidence, then try the old standby: booze.
Accept the awkwardness: It’s a Jewish young adult party with major doses of single people looking for someone. This is not a room of smooth talking George Clooneys or witty Jennifer Anistons. A lot of us are dorky and goofy. It’s okay to flub your opening line or say something weird. We all do it. Laugh it off. Jewish people are known for having good senses of humor. We’ve all accidently spit on someone because we had to shout over that nightclub’s crappy house music. So, take a deep breath, put on a non-creepy smile, and forge onward.
Have an exit plan for conversations: When you find yourself talking to someone longer than you want to, have a tactful way of bowing out of the conversation. Don’t allow yourself to be attacked by Mr. or Ms. Clingy because, before you realize it, the party is over. If you can’t come up with a nice way of walking away, just ask the person you’re talking to if they would excuse you for a moment to use the restroom. It’s not lying even if you don’t have to pee. Because, you really do need to go somewhere quiet and get re-focused. If that person is waiting for you when you come out, it sounds harsh, but keep moving. If you need a second way to get away from someone, say that you’ve spotted a friend way over on the other side of the room and need to catch them before they leave.
Hovering in a pack: If you have friends at this party and you want to talk to them then by all means form a circle and catch-up with them. Meet their other friends. Enjoy some male or female bonding. But, while you’re doing that, it’s not likely the man or woman of your dreams is going to approach your friendship circle. For most people, it’s too intimidating to a walk up to a group of people and single out someone. So, make a point to peel away from the group by yourself or with one other person. Go stand in line at the bar. That’s probably the easiest place to talk to someone new.
How do you meet someone at these things? Well, you could just walk up to them and say hello and give them your name. Yea, that’s all there is to it. But, if you want to be fancy you could ask for help, ask for advice, or pay someone a compliment about their shoes. People love to be helpful, especially when it costs them nothing.
So, okay, maybe this is all ridiculous and too elementary. But, ask yourself, “Are you going out to these events and feeling good about them?” If the answer is no, then, maybe it’s time to re-evaluate what you’re doing and make a change. Now go get ‘em!