Last evening, I had the opportunity to attend one of several Match ‘Stir’ events in Los Angeles. For those who haven’t heard of these events, they are a series of offline social events for singles, where members of the Match.com database get invited to mixers in a variety of cities.
Held at the Ocean Club in Hermosa Beach, singles from Los Angeles, Orange County and in North San Diego drove for up to 1.5 hours to have the opportunity to find their perfect date.
“I’m newly divorced and they don’t have events like these where I live,” said 51-year old Brad who drove over 60 miles in traffic from San Clemente to attend his first ‘Stir’ event. A new member to Match.com, Brad indicated immediately that he wanted to get married again.
Other guests who weren’t members of the online dating site came as friends-of-friends, with the hope of finding someone they could connect with.
“This is my second ‘Stir’ event,” said 48-year old Sondra, a schoolteacher who lived in the area. Although she didn’t meet anyone she connected with romantically, she enjoyed the quality of the crowd.
Singles watched the beautiful ocean views from an upscale bar and restaurant and gazed as the sun set over the Pacific Ocean, where several exchanged business cards before the night was over.
Pulling from Match.com’s large database of members, singles were allowed to invite up to three of their friends to create what I call a social dating experience. Think about some of the singles parties you might have attended years ago. Often you’d be asked to bring your best male friend or best single female friend to balance out the crowd. What Match has done successfully is to create a balanced age-appropriate crowd at this Stir event.
Match has also incorporated mobile into the activities by sending a text reminder about their Stir event the day before and asking you to check in while at the event.
It can get tricky if you have an online dating profile on the site, as someone with a familiar face might approach you whose advances you had ignored or had a bad date with. However, the camaraderie among the singles created a social situation where new friendships could be cultivated. Besides the larger scale mixers, Match recently organized a cooking class at the Grove in Los Angeles, where 16 singles learned to make perfect risotto, grilled chicken and vegetable kabobs, and mixed summer berries with zabagione.
At the end of the digital day, the ingredients to finding love include both online and offline interactions. Remember to cast a wide net and accept all social invitations and be nice to those you meet at these events or while on a date. They just might have a friend to introduce you to. After all, it only takes one.
Julie Spira is a leading online dating expert, bestselling author of The Perils of Cyber-Dating, and CEO of Cyber-Dating Expert, where she provides online dating advice. Julie creates irresistible profiles for singles on the dating scene and helps them shorten their search to ride off into the digital sunset together.