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Dating in a Down Economy

Dating is hard enough, but add to that a down economy and it's nearly impossible.
Thoughts from the Table: Dating in a Down Economy

When my friend, S, announced that she 'quit' dating last week, I found it amusing that I had worded my own exit from the dating scene in exactly the same way. I quit, just like I did my last job. Somewhere along the line dating became indistinguishable from work. My world had become one long, unending interview, answering the same questions over and over again, like 'why did you leave your last position?' and 'what advantages do you have over a younger, sleeker model?'

On a job interview, people are used to career changes and layoffs. On a date, however, we often find ourselves defending our status as over-35 and single. At least in the job market they employ euphemisms like 'over-qualified,' and 'priced out of this market.' (Note to self 'if decide to subject self to dating again, when insulted by next Prince Not-So-Charming simply tell him that I'm over-qualified and priced out of his market.)

And what if you get beyond the first interview, oops, I mean, date? Another problem arises: if you're both out of work, who pays? The last time this happened, I let him pay 'after all, he confessed that he had yet to lay off his housecleaner. This in my mind was my most tragic sacrifice as I seemed to have missed out on the housecleaning gene entirely. (Which may be one of the reasons I'm back on the singles scene 'hold on 'I quit dating, I don't have to respond to that!)

So what's a singleton to do? I tell my biz dev clients that the point of going to networking events is not to land clients, but to meet people you might enjoy following up with in the future, or to come home with some vital information. If you do either, then it was a successful event. Why not think of your next date not as a potential relationship but as an opportunity to spend time with someone who may actually be interesting? If you have fun or learn something (even if it's that folk-singing male nurses don't exactly flip your biscuit), consider it a good date.

Table Thought for the Week: Work, or looking for work, is hard enough these days, so don't spend your free time doing something that's not fun. Think about what makes you happiest, and if dating fits into that, go for it! If not, be good to yourself, and take a well-deserved sabbatical.

About the Author
Diane K. Danielson is a business development consultant and the co-author of Table Talk: The Savvy Girl's Alternative to Networking (1stBooks, April 2003)

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