I have often been given relationship advice from friends and family. Other times, I have sought out the information for myself from various blogs, relationship books, and varied online sites. I have acquired a wealth of information from all my sources pooled together. Information that I may or may not have applied in any of my relationship experiences. Different things are said about different phases of the relationship. I will begin with the first phase and work my way through, while trying to give you a glimpse of opinions I have gleaned on these phases.
Phase one (The Meeting): How and where do we meet people that could potentially become lovers or life partners? A cousin once told me that the church is a wonderful place for meeting decent guys/ladies. I found this interesting because I have been going to church all my life and I have never quite "met" anyone there. I have heard stories, yeah beautiful stories of people who have found love in church, but there are also barriers to this occurrence. Church service is only a couple of hours. I don't know about you but I usually don't eat before heading out to church. I am NOT hanging around afterwards to chit-chat on an empty rumbling stomach! Then again despite hunger pangs, you may see someone that appeals to you, and you try to approach them after service. Just when you can almost smell their perfume, Aunty Ada blocks you and starts to ask about your folks. You answer off-handedly while you watch the object of your attention get into a car and drive home. You can't very well tell Aunty Ada that she should shove off, but it's kind of irritating because you know she sees your mother at work every day. People have joined different groups in the church, from the choir to youth groups in the hopes of finding a match. They attend service every other day in the week, but are yet to meet someone. Meanwhile a person who just visited the church for the first time in 5 years could meet the love of their life on that day.
Let me digress from the religious scene to what some would consider another extreme. Another place to meet people could be at bars and in clubs. It goes without saying, that it wasn't from my family I heard about this potential meeting spot. I've done my fair share of hanging out. Isi-ewu and nkwobi spots, roast fish, pepper soup joints to popular lounges, bars and clubs. You name it, I've been there... Except for strip clubs, I'm yet to visit one ;) People have met and found love also in these arenas. For me, I think my soft-spoken voice and my love for dancing without molding my body to that of my dance partner may have hindered my success in past hanging-out ventures. I have often wondered how people can talk in some of these settings with the blaring of loud music and the haze of tipsiness that alcohol brings. But I've been reassured that it happens commonly. One-night-stands, friendships, love relationships among others have all been achieved from the bar scene.
Hook-ups are quite rampant. Married friends are always eager to see their single friends settle down. Friends who are hopeless romantics make connections in their minds of people they think will make good matches, and then proceed to make them meet. Relatives, church members, you name it, people don't usually have difficulty encouraging matches. Numbers are exchanged, pictures are sent, stories are told of this wonderful other person. At some point you think to yourself, if they are so cool, then why are they still single? Then you quickly reprimand yourself because you too are also so cool, yet single. Some matches have worked, some not so much. But hook-ups remain one of the "hows" and "wheres" surrounding how people meet.
In these modern days, virtual meetings have become very popular. A myriad of online dating sites, chat rooms, social networking sites amongst others have emerged, increasing opportunities for connections. The internet offers a lot of opportunities to meet people of diverse cultures and backgrounds, either thousands of miles away or within your neighborhood. There is increased speed of connectivity and a wide range of possibilities. Sometimes a lot is dependent on what one puts out there - "a picture can say more than a thousand words". Other times, time, luck, chance or maybe destiny play a key role in how this plays out. People try to make themselves interesting to others while still keeping some sense of mystery. Sometimes, the truth is embellished in a bid to make oneself stand out. Personally, I have met people online and have even made some wonderful friends. Meeting a virtual friend in person can be exciting, daunting, scary or could be comfortable and you feel like you've known them forever. In virtual relationships of any kind, I usually pace myself and avoid actions that make me vulnerable or put me at risk. As with most encounters in life though, anything could happen...
It's an interesting world we live in, and I think people are particularly very fascinating. In what I have heard, read and learned, there is no one place or one method of meeting people that is extremely more advantageous than the other. The meet could happen anywhere, and anytime. Outcomes vary from couple to couple and are dependent on the interaction of different factors. Most times to meet someone takes a good deal of optimism, you just have to be open and receptive and allow phase one occur.