I sometimes think of V-day as a second chance for resolutions. By February some of the items on your New Years list have flopped. You know youll never do them. Valentines Day is a time to re-evaluate what you want and do something about it. For singles, its often a very long day with no plans and plenty of time to think.
This year, why not make a commitment to revitalize your social contacts and get a new life? If there is still a twinge of poor me when Valentines Day comes around and you dont get roses or a candy heart, stop feeling like a wallflower and volunteer for a cause that is near to your own true heart.
The health benefits of service have been well documented. Adults who volunteer experience more longevity, better mobility, and less depression.
In addition, joining an organization that lines up with your beliefs and values could be the best hook-up you ever made. Service increases your confidence and feelings of self-worth. You will make a new group of friends, and you might just meet the new love of your life.
Stefanie Safran of Stef and the City (http://stefandthecity.com), an Internet dating site or social service, highly recommends volunteering for someone who wants to revitalize their life. The youngish Recessionista Matchmaker got into her line of work to help her parents friends who were looking for partners to do things with.
We do a personalized social calendar for each client, says Stefanie. Volunteering is one of the categories we promote. So many people completely overlook this opportunity for social interaction in a more relaxed atmosphere. You can meet people through organizations that focus on pets, mentoring children or working for the environment. There are so many opportunities available that bring like-minded people together. Although there may be meetings to sit through, there is often time before and after to talk in small groups. Even if you dont meet social companions in your volunteer group, they may provide the networking that leads to meeting someone else who is a good match for your interests and personality. And some charities offer more active side-by-side engagement: digging gardens, walking to raise money, delivering food.Psychotherapist and author Tina B. Tessina (also known as Dr. Romance) has written a number of books about relationships, including The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again. I believe in the get-a-life method of finding new people, both friends and dates. To find a friend or a compatible date, forget the dating scene. Volunteering for a non-profit is a great way to meet people of both genders who have common interests. Focus on activities that you enjoy -- sports, classes, or political, social, charitable or religious activities. Whether young or older, you are creating a social circle of people who are doing things that are meaningful to you that automatically provide a common ground.
Dating has become "Hollywoodized," notes Tessina. People have unrealistic expectations and mistaken ideas of what to expect in relationships and dating, largely due to movies and TV, with the added confusion of changes in gender roles and lifestyles.We live in a very media saturated culture, where we are influenced to focus on surface things and not look beneath. But in a long-term, loving relationship, looks very quickly cease to matter, and character is what counts. Because it's the inside that matters in a love relationship (despite all the media focus on the external) when you have repeated social contact with someone, love can grow without either party really being aware of it. The couple develops a relationship "infrastructure" in an organic, natural fashion, as opposed to forcing it. These relationships often last a long time, because they're reality-based. Im not looking for romance, but it would be fun to enjoy some social stimulation, to revitalize my life. I love the idea of volunteering for love as my resolution for Valentines Day. Its an all win situation Im loving myself by doing something healthy and Im loving others by opening my heart to service. I get to choose who to partner with. I make the first move. Thank goodness for second chances, and Valentines Day.About the author:Judy Kirkwood is taking the plunge volunteering in her new adopted community. Have you made new friends or a romantic relationship from volunteering?