Have you considered dating outside your comfort zone? Well, it could just very well be the secret to finding the one.

“Variety is the spice of life,” they say, yet in my sixteen years of experience as a dating expert and matchmaker I’ve noticed that many people don’t like spicy. What am I talking about, you ask? 

It’s called the “Comfort Zone” and you or someone you know may be hopelessly trapped within its blah boundaries. Don’t stress, I’m going to help you find your way out by suggesting you open yourself up to new exhilarating experiences. 

Hear me out. 

Attracted to muscles? Who wouldn’t be? But what if Mr. Muscles has a tendency to become Mr. Zzzzzz? Sorry to bombard you with this introspective line of questioning, but I’m trying to make a point about escaping the comfort zone’s inevitable repetitiveness. What I’m getting at is: if Muscle Man one-through-six didn’t quite work out (well, obviously they work out; I mean the relationships didn’t work out) for the same reoccurring reasons, maybe the next dude worth dating should be… different. 

Not different (weird). Different. New. Dating outside your comfort zone can be a breath of fresh air. A flavour shot in your morning coffee. Actually, forget the coffee altogether, a cup of tea with honey. That sort of different can be refreshingly worth it. 

Different doesn’t need to be extreme. I’m not implying you should date absolutely everyone that comes along. But if you’re serious about breaking out of the predictably boring comfort zone you currently find yourself in and finding the one, accept that “your type” isn’t your ideal option moving forward. 

Liberation! 

For all you know, deep down inside, you’ll become absolutely enamoured with that different person; the one who lives down the hall and wears sandals with a scarf every day. Sandals with a scarf… are they for real? Actually, they might be.  

The biggest problem with dating outside the cozy confines of the comfort zone is, well… it’s uncomfortable, or so you think. The truth is, it may not be as uncomfortable as you imagine. Maybe your taste has changed and you don’t even know it yet. These things happen. 

Who you thought you should be dating might have been right last year, but this year, with changes in your personality, lifestyle and goals, someone else entirely different could be a better match. Give someone different a chance. You never know, you may wind up at their place, thinking to yourself: I can’t believe it took me this long to give them a chance and see what’s underneath.  

Try Something New
When was the last time you joined a club or group? Furthermore, when was the last time you went to a speed dating event like the ones regularly hosted by Single In The City?

Networking events are to dating what mining is to discovering diamonds! And you know what they say about diamonds! So go on, lace up your boots, throw on that funky mining gear, and get searching! 

Quite truthfully, networking can be invigorating and rewarding. Here’s why: When you meet new people you expose yourself to pristine dating opportunities. It may not be your new friend who becomes the next object of your affection; it could be his brother, pal, or that cute guy who asks you out at the coffee shop right after your latest networking buddy pays his tab and hits the road. Love strikes when we least expect. 

Finding the One: Date Differently As You Grow.
People change, as do their preferences in a partner. Therefore, your checklist has got to go! If he’s not a 28-32 year old white-collared Porsche driver with a mansion on Millionaire Lane, doesn’t mean he isn’t great for you; doesn’t mean he isn’t what you’re truly looking for. Maybe the guy you wouldn’t normally date will intoxicate your senses and wow you with his charm, smarts, and magical touch.  

Here she is: her name is Example Girl and she keeps dating the same guy-type over and over. Guess what? She’s single, again. Example Girl knows what she wants and she finds it every time! Unfortunately, all she truly finds is another bad relationship because each guy she dates is nearly identical to the one before; same obnoxious habits, behaviour, and lack of romantic instinct. 

Oh, but he’s so hot! 

Hot is good, but only if it’s equally as enjoyable when the honey-moon stage is over. Relationships develop into real life eventually. A good partner has redeeming qualities and lasting appeal beyond his or her status as eye-candy. If you’re having trouble finding someone you can get along with after the honey-moon stage, maybe you should try dating outside your comfort zone. Now gentleman don’t think you’re off the hook, the exact same thing applies to you as well.

Give them a chance.
You know who I’m talking about. He smiles at you, makes you laugh, and as far as you know he’s not a serial killer. He’s that guy at the office; he’s the charmer who always holds the door for you at the condo. Sure, he’s a little shorter than you normally prefer and his hair is a touch too curly for your liking, but that’s okay, you’ll just have to buy him stilts and a wig for Christmas! Or, better yet, maybe you’ll realize that curly hair isn’t a big deal. 

Mr. Curly Hair might sweep you off your feet – he deserves a date at the very least. What has he done wrong besides be born with a permanent perm, two decades too late?  

And don’t be shy ladies! Make the first move. I’m talking about picking up, saying “hey”, initiating conversation with someone you don’t know that well, or at all. The only thing you have to lose is the opportunity to lose yourself in love. 

Back in the day while shopping, I once spotted an attractive guy and thought to myself, damn right Laura, see if he’s interested. So I scribbled my phone number onto a piece of paper, handed it to him and said: “I’m Laura. If you don’t have a girlfriend give me a call.” I’m not shy and you shouldn’t be either. I found him attractive so I made a judgement call and stepped outside my comfort zone. I put myself out there. He called. 

One more thing, then you’re all set, ready to fly free and explore a world of new love and potential. 

It’s first date time. You and that guy you wouldn’t normally date are going for dinner and you’re not sure what to think; you’re a tad bit nervous because well, this is groundbreaking for you – dating outside your comfort zone. Your mind even wanders a little bit… what if he’s not funny?… what if he’s too funny?… what if in the middle of dinner the SWAT Team bursts into the restaurant and an episode of America’s Most Wanted ensues?!?! Unlikely, but even if something like that was to occur, at least you’d have a great story to tell for years. 

Listen ladies, it’s normal to be nervous on a first date at destination Non Comfort ZoneJust don’t forget that he’s probably nervous too. If the first date isn’t a mind-boggling display of fireworks, that’s okay! Sometimes the best relationships are the ones that gradually blossom into something real and beautiful, as opposed to the instant connections that start with a bang and soon fade into a romantic-less dead end. 

If that first date isn’t absolutely amazing, but has its positive moments, give him another chance. Often, the second date is exponentially less nerve-wracking, providing you the opportunity to notice the real him. You may even really like what you discover. So if you’re in the process of finding the one you should consider dating outside your comfort zone!