The latest update for this article is written by Lindsay Podolak.
With Valentine’s Day coming up, many NJ singles have love on the brain. If the thought of starting a new relationship has been nagging you, it’s time to take action. The quest for romance begins with getting out into the world. We spoke with local matchmakers about where to find love.
“Just because you are single this year doesn’t mean you have to be single next year,” says Julianne Cantarella, a licensed therapist and owner of New Jersey’s Matchmaker in Englewood Cliffs. Read on below for more suggestions on where to go when searching for love!
Visit Friends and Family
This may seem like a waste of time. After all, you don’t want to date your cousin, right? But hear out the experts. No one can read minds, says Cantarella, so it’s up to you to tell everyone you know that you’re interested in meeting someone. Think of the love search like a job search. You have to network to connect with people. True, you might not always find the right match, but meeting people increases the odds of success.
Cities with Singles
You’re not likely to find many single people deep into suburban New Jersey, where the soccer fields are more plentiful than bars. But you are likely to find them in cities that have a higher population density, a lower median age and not a ton of kids, according to a recent study by HomeSnacks. Lucky for New Jerseyans, there are several cities in the Garden State that fit the bill. Hoboken topped the HomeSnacks list, with a 9.5/10 rating for being single-friendly. Other cities to check out include Asbury Park, West New York, Newark, Red Bank, Hackensack and Trenton.
Find a Passion
Sometimes a shared passion can bring on a love connection. Many online groups dedicated to hobbies, such as hiking, skiing or wine tasting, host regular meet-ups, says Cantarella. Think about joining a club that meets in person and be smart about your choices. Meetup is a great place to start–the site provides a list of groups for NJ singles dedicated to all sorts of activities.
What we recommend: The Sierra Club’s New Jersey chapter has a special section for singles who want to meet other environmentally-minded individuals. Mark your calendar for Saturday, March 9 and spend the day on a six-mile hike in Apshawa Preserve.
Take a Class
People never stop learning and classrooms are a hot spot for meeting singles with similar interests. Try out a painting, cooking or music class at a school in your area. In the Kitchen Cooking School in Haddonfield hosts an array of classes for all different skill levels, while Around the Corner Art Center in Freehold offers adult painting classes and open studio drawing.
What we recommend: Drop in for a Beer School class every Wednesday night at Homebrew University in Hackettstown. For just $5, you’ll learn about and taste different beer varieties, and hopefully meet some available singles!
Attend Events for Singles
Seek and ye shall find. Search online, check out the bulletin boards at your local community center and ask neighbors about fun events happening in your area. Jasbina Ahluwalia, founder and president of Intersections Match, recommends the Valentine’s Day Masked Ball at Lambert Castle this February 8. Guests are asked to “don a mask” and semi-formal attire for an evening of light refreshments and dancing. Grab a few friends for a fun night out and maybe you’ll find your soulmate under the mask.
What we recommend: Every week, NJ First Dates hosts speed-dating nights. Chat with a different single every five minutes to see if you click.
Choosing to get involved in activities that best represent the stamp you’d like to leave on the world is a great way to meet Mr. or Mrs. Right. “Pick something near and dear to your heart, so you’re more inclined to meet someone aligned with your values,” says Cantarella. VolunteerMatch.org and Jersey Cares are useful resources for tracking down opportunities to make a difference locally.
What we recommend: Habitat for Humanity in Monmouth County has opportunities for volunteers to build every Wednesday through Saturday. Call or register online to start making a difference and possibly meet your soulmate!
What’s most important for NJ singles to do on Valentine’s Day is to give themselves a fresh start and new outlook. All the experts agree that keeping a positive attitude and having faith that love will come your way are the keys to success. But you also have to make the search a priority. “People think meeting someone and falling in love will happen organically,” says Cantarella. “Take control of your love life…love is not going to miraculously fall on your doorstep.”