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She came up with the idea for The School of Feminine Arts and friendship speed dating while working with women in private practice, she says. Many women feel terribly lonely, and have no idea what to do about it.
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I thought, let's resolve this. A report found that Those aged between 15 and 24 were the most lonely at Sarah is choosy about her friends, which is an absolutely okay way to be, she says.
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When I tell her that, at the event I just attended, I thought about writing down every name to spare others' feelings, she tells me that's a bad idea. It's fine to be selective about who we spend our time with. Selectiveness, of course, is the basic principle behind friendship speed dating.
Participants spend a few minutes with each other, noting down names and other salient information "Cyclist, blue jumper. Afterwards, you write down the names of the women you'd like to see again, and if you match, Sarah passes along your contact details.
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I tell her that the New Zealand General Social Survey found that 40 percent of women in New Zealand felt lonely to some degree in the four weeks preceding the survey. The figure for men was a little lower, at 32 percent. Sarah isn't surprised by the figures. Living in nuclear family units in a patriarchal society where women are encouraged to compete against each other means we find it difficult to find connections, she believes.
If we feel if we're not sharing our thoughts with other women we feel removed from society. When I ask if she thinks opening themselves up to rejection might hinder rather than help lonely women, there's a long silence. We're here because we want to make friends. Because we're all a little bit vulnerable that competitive stuff is stripped away and we're just there going, 'I hope you like me'. She mentions a woman with questionable hygiene who attended one of her events and didn't get a single match.
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She remembers this because it was one of only two times it's happened. So that woman might need to come along to 15 gatherings before she finds someone with whom she feels she might resonate.
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Some of us find it easier to fit in with a crowd, while others are unique and it will take them longer to find their own tribe. If one friend is considered enough, then Nicola from Tauranga hit the jackpot when she attended one of Sarah's events last year, ending up with a small gang of like minded companions.
Nicola and her husband abandoned Auckland's overheated housing market for Tauranga four years ago. New services are popping up that specifically cater to this older market, such as Stitch, an app founded by Australian Andrew Dowling that targets those over Named The Sea as in, "plenty of fish in…" , the site was designed and written by her year-old daughter Hannah, and looks more modern and vibrant than dating websites.
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Men are invited to fill out a form, and Jan and Hannah sort through the applicants together, contacting whoever Jan is interested in. Jan declined to be interviewed, but Hannah says her mum had tried online dating in the past and found it too arduous. And while she'd never declared that she was lonely or wanted to find someone, Hannah sensed she'd like to be in a relationship.
While he's encountered plenty of people looking for a one night stand or just having a laugh, there are hundreds of Kiwis over using Tinder to find romance. Aitcheson recently started using the app again after a nine-month relationship — with a woman he met on Tinder — came to an end.
With Tinder, you can glean a bit from their information and you meet them somewhere like a busy bar, so it's not too awkward or spooky. They broke the ice by talking about their memorable Tinder dates. Aitcheson senses that the stigma once attached to meeting people through technology is fading.
Now, it's a little bit edgy but still credible in terms of meeting someone on it,. In Auckland I felt like there wasn't a lot of choice," she says. So she jumped online to broaden her prospects. She mainly used FindSomeone, and had some serious relationships, including one man with whom she had a child. But the novelty wore off, and she began to feel like she wasn't going to find The One on there. So, six months ago, the year-old working mother of one started using Tinder.
Joanna prefers the app to websites, for the immediacy it provides, its modern, easy-to-use interface, the absence of long, involved descriptions. I hate that thing about online dating — notifications that say 'these people are looking at you. Speed dating is for professional singles looking outside the square to meet potential partners. The events take place in a private function room. These age groups are a guide only if you fall close to either side you are more than welcome to attend.