4 Signs You’re Looking For Love In All The Wrong Places & Need To Make A Change

You're ready to be in a serious relationship, but you just haven't had very much luck meeting people lately. The fact of the matter is, it could be that you're looking for love in all the wrong places. Even if it feels like you're doing everything right, there might be things that you're not thinking about. For example, you might be going out regularly with your friends, but that doesn't mean that you're going to places where you've actually got a good chance at meeting someone great who's looking for the same things in a relationship that you are.

I reached out to Stef Safran, matchmaker and dating expert at Stef in the City, to get the scoop on what you really need to know about looking for love and where to find it. The fact of the matter is, meeting someone you're attracted to and who would be a great partner for you requires planning, effort, and a willingness to try new things. And not only that, but some of the places you think might be great places to meet people aren't exactly the places you should be going.

If you're not sure if you're on the right track, here are some of the major signs that you're not looking for love in the right places — and what you should really be trying instead.

1You're Not Planning Things In Advance

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"One of the ways I can tell if somebody's looking in the wrong places is if they don't have well-thought-out plans," Safran tells Elite Daily. "Everything's last minute, they're going to places with friends but there's no strategy to it. It's like they think if they just go out somewhere, that's good enough."

Another thing Safran notes, is that if you are looking to meet people, you should be planning in advance what you want to do for major holiday weekends or events where more new people will be out and about. You want to be sure you're taking advantage of events like that, and making plans for what you want to do during them in advance.

"When I talk to people and find out that [on holidays like] Memorial Day and Fourth of July, they have no plans, that to me shows they're not taking advantage of opportunities," Safran says.

In a way, it's about putting into it what you want to get out of it.

"If everything you're doing is last-minute, the chances are the people you're meeting are last-minute," Safran says.

2You're Going To One-Off Events

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If you're going to bars expecting to meet people — or hoping to meet a serious romantic prospect at an event like a wedding, a charity event, or even a single's vacation (you might think they're ideal for meeting people, but Safran points out that the long-distance factor can be a problem!) — you're probably doing it wrong.

"You need more time than a few hours to find somebody to connect with," Safran explains.

"People need to realize that once you leave college, the people you will be meeting [at bars] will not necessarily have the same goals," Safran says. "Going to bars is not the way [to meet] somebody, on many levels, because anyone who's usually there at that point is not there looking for a relationship, they're looking for fun."

A much better alternative, Safran says, is to take a class or join some sort of meet-up group or sports team, where you'll be around the same new people on a regular basis.

"What I keep telling people is to join things that have continual time, if you want to meet somebody," Safran says. An improv class, a dancing class, a special exercise class where you meet for eight weeks...training for a marathon, social sports — anything that requires you repeatedly to show up that isn't a one-night, quick event."

You also want to make sure that when you're going to these types of continual events, you're choosing ones that will expose you to the kind of people you're looking to meet. For example, if you're a woman looking to meet a man, Safran notes that a female-focused fitness class wouldn't be the best choice.

3You're Expecting Immediate Results

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"For a lot of people, the expectation is, if they don't see payoff immediately, they quit," Safran says.

"And again, part of relationships is recognizing that, just like entry level jobs, once you're looking for something a little more specific, it might take time before you find your niche and you find things that are connecting you with more like-minded people."

That's why, even if you do follow Safran's advice and join some sort of continuing class or program, but you don't get a date right away from it, you shouldn't be discouraged.

"Usually with these types of classes and events, you find out from other people where they've been going, and they might have some suggestions, and that's gold," Safran says. That's worth going to."

"Your goal is to increase your social circle," Safran says. By doing so, you're making it even more likely that you're going to meet new people. (Maybe you'll make new friends, and they'll throw a party, for example.)

"Be willing to do things that you potentially could get invitations to future parties or other events that you would've never known about," Safran says.

4You're Not Going Anywhere New

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And if you're always going to the same few local spots in your neighborhood and not expanding your circle, you're going to limit yourself, too.

"You have to be more open-minded to go beyond your five blocks, or wherever you usually go," Safran says. "Part of it is, people can move, and people can be at a place temporarily. But if you stay in only one location, you're limiting yourself to what's immediately in front of you."

And as Safran explains, the person who's in front if you is "not always the best person for you to date."

At the end of the day, if you want to meet someone special, it really comes down to putting yourself out there and investing your time and energy in the right kinds of places and events. If you're willing to put in the effort and try new things, you'll find someone eventually.

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