DEAR AMY: "Wondering," said that he was in his late 50s. He wondered how to approach women to see if they were available, or whether he should stop looking. My young but wise cousin and I had a conversation one time about meeting women. I asked him what I should do to meet women. His advice was, "Stop looking!" He said that people can sense when somebody is desperate and that can be a big turn off. He also said to just be myself and strike up conversations with people with the intent of having fun — and not just expecting to meet a woman. This technique allows the real side of a person to shine and not the anxious "I have to meet somebody" side. Since Wondering has a great conversation going in a relaxed atmosphere, upon departing simply ask if he can continue the conversation over coffee. If the woman says no because she is spoken for, he should not assume it is over. She may have connections in her network and know a perfect match for him. Two months after speaking to my cousin, my soon-to-be wife came into my life.
DEAR MARRIED: I have shared, and followed, your cousin's advice, myself.
However, he was not saying to stop looking altogether, but to simply relax and look in a different way. Connecting with people with a friendly and open attitude can lead to friendship (or more) and can also quite simply brighten another person's day.
DEAR AMY: For "Wondering," the single male in his late 50s who wonders how to date again, I suggest volunteering for a charity or organization that is meaningful to him. I met my husband that way 42 years ago. His conversation starter: "What inspired you to volunteer here?" My response opened up a world of common interests that evolved into respect, love and a happy marriage.
Worked for Us
DEAR WORKED: Volunteering is a good way to achieve multiple purposes: Doing good work and meeting other kind and generous people.
I'm focused on your husband's first question to you. It is an ideal example of an open-ended question, designed to inspire a thoughtful response.
DEAR AMY: "M" was looking for advice as an aspiring journal keeper, and I thought she might be interested in a method that I fell into many years ago.
One thing that has gotten me writing regularly is the daily email correspondence I have with a friend.
This friend started writing newsy emails to me at the beginning of our friendship, and the both of us fell into the habit of writing to each other every day.
I copy and save our emails and have files going back to 2004!
We usually write about what happened to us each day and admittedly many of them are not very deep or exciting. However, there have been times that they have been useful when I needed to remember what date something significant occurred.
The best benefit from this has been that my friend and I have gotten to be very close and we each look forward to reading each other's emails as we each begin our day.
Obviously "M" would need to find someone willing to put in the effort to write back and forth with her daily, but she may want to inquire among her friends and family members to see if anyone else might be interested enough to do this.
In addition, she may still want to keep the blank journal on her nightstand so she can write her more deep and private innermost thoughts, separate from the writing she does with her email pen pal.
Irene, in Colchester, CT
DEAR IRENE: What a wonderful and rich way to record your own personal daily history, while at the same time deepening your friendship!
During a pandemic is in many ways the perfect time to strike up a new correspondence.
I'm inspired, and I hope others will also be inspired to seek regular pen pals.
DEAR AMY: I thank you for your answer to "Disgusted," a Black man who was regularly subjected to racial slurs at his warehouse workplace. I was truly sickened to learn that people are still having to cope with such indignities.
DEAR SHOCKED: Toni Morrison, quoted in my answer, said, "The work of racism is to silence and distract you."
Many readers were inspired to respond, and frankly, some responses were not only dismissive, but outright racist.
We have a lot of work to do.