College is one of the most social times in your life: Unlike the working world, you're surrounded almost exclusively by people your own age, with similar goals, flexible schedules, and an admirable, slightly irresponsible devotion to meeting new people and having new experiences.
So what do you do if you've graduated college and you're still trying to find out how to meet men? Relax, for starters. According a study released by Facebook Data Sciences, only 28 percent of the social media sites' married users graduated from the same college as their partner, and 15 percent graduated from the same high school. That means the majority of ladies are out finding "the one" long after the frat party is over.
We talked to relationship expert Brenda Della Casa, author of Cinderella Was a Liar and Alisa Ruby Bash, a marriage and family therapist, about the best ways to meet men in your post-college years.
Take charge. "Most women tend not to find their future husbands in college anymore," explains Bash. "It's not until later in life that they realize what an opportunity it is to be surrounded by such a big pool of qualified suitors." When you're surrounded by fewer potential partners, it's important to be more aware of the opportunities you do have to meet men.
"A lot of women in their 20s tend to wait for the guy to make the first move," says Della Casa. "There are opportunities to meet men all the time, and men will approach you when you're approachable."
The easiest way to make yourself more approachable to men is to pay attention and smile. "Learn how to say hello or compliment somebody," Della Casa advises."If a guy smiles at you, smile back."
Take care of yourself. Spending less time with your friends and leaving the competitive world of college for entry-level jobs and monotonous desk work can put a damper on your personal ambition, but you shouldn't let it, especially if you're in the market for love.
"Men are attracted to women who are confident and happy," Della Casa says.
Bash agrees. "Having career goals, hobbies, and passions are always attractive to the opposite sex," she says. "Maintaining your health and fitness with exercise, a good diet, and relaxation is more important than ever."
Keep up your favorite hobbies, stay on top of your physical appearance, and do things that make you happy. Being well-rounded and healthy will keep you fulfilled while you look for Mr. Right.
Socialize better. Go places with your friends, where the main objective isn't finding somebody to hook up with. Clubs are fun for a girls' night out, but when the pressure is on to look your best and find somebody to take home, it's harder to make a genuine connection.
"Go to places where guys will feel more comfortable," Della Casa suggests. "You want to go to places that are a bit more low-key, that aren't all about bottles and doormen. Bowling alleys or sports bars. Places where men aren't in competition, and you aren't in competition with every girl in her perfect Bebe dress."
And forget the old advice about taking a new class. Don't do it just in hopes of meeting a man, because it turns out the chances of meeting and maintaining a relationship with an eligible partner are actually pretty slim. There's nothing that says you shouldn't learn a new language or pick up some cooking skills, but do it for you.
"You don't have the supplemental aspects of college when you take an a la carte class," Della Casa says."You're there for two hours and then you leave."
Bash and Della Casa suggest participating in alma mater activities, volunteering, and attending networking conferences and parties. They're all great ways to meet men that will make you feel good, boost your resume, and expand your social circle.
Ask for help. Don't be afraid to let the people who know you best set you up. Matchmaking may seem old-fashioned, but that doesn't mean your grandma has to set you up with her hairdresser's nephew.
"I tell a lot of people to host little parties in their own apartment," Della Casa says. "Ask everybody to bring one or two people that you haven't met."
It's all about networking – and don't be afraid to meet new women or men who are better suited as friends. The more friends you make, the more you widen your social circle.
Take it slow. "In college, people often become sexually intimate very quickly," Bash says.. "When people live in such close quarters and have to face the consequences of their actions, men are held accountable with the women in their lives."
When you aren't in the same social circle as a sexual partner or you have a one-night stand with somebody you don't know well, you make yourself more vulnerable. Even if you date somebody in your office or your apartment complex, the repercussions of a no-strings attached physical relationship can be more damaging to your ego and professional life than your college flings were.
More than taking your time with a relationship, be sure to take time finding a relationship. Your 20s and 30s aren't the end of the line: You have an entire lifetime to meet men. Enjoy it!
Check out our relationship panel's advice on the delicate art of dating a co-worker: