Above all, make sure that your friends and family understand the importance of character. If they cannot confirm a potential date’s maturity, then they aren’t doing you any favors. You do not want to walk into a date blindly. Ask your friends to find out more specifics about someone’s integrity before they refer him or her to you. If they can introduce you to someone they know is mature, then thank them and go out on the date but continue to guard your heart until you get to know that individual yourself.

3. Organizations That Match Your Interests

Singles who are exploring opportunities to meet other singles commonly overlook organizations that match their beliefs and interests. These can include colleges or any other institutions where you continue your education. Besides school, however, you can participate in such groups as nondenominational Bible studies, youth or inner-city ministries, and nonprofit organizations.

Other options include organizations that deal with your favorite interests, such as a sports team, a business association, a community service program, or a drama troupe. When you interact with someone who shares your interests, you already have a foundation on which to build a relationship. In addition, you get to enjoy new people in a comfortable environment. Moreover, large organizations offer great opportunities for meeting people because they usually have a constant cycle of newcomers. This can increase your exposure to many more individuals.

Just as with churches, though, do not assume that the people you meet are Christians or relationally mature. Take your time getting to know people and stay focused on finding a person whose character attracts you.

Finally, out of respect for these organizations, do not join a group just to meet people. Participate out of a genuine interest. That way, you do not waste the organization’s time by quickly losing interest and deciding to leave.

4. Dating Services

Dating services are popping up everywhere, especially on the Internet. These companies let you search for singles who meet your list of desired characteristics or match you to someone in their database. You can look at a person’s picture, read their profile, and even send quirky questions for them to answer. Other services offer features such as compatibility testing or video footage of a candidate in action. Dating services offer a modern way to meet new people, but they have several drawbacks to consider.

First, dating services cannot discern someone’s character for you – that is your responsibility. A dating service may locate someone for you who has blond hair and likes sushi, but it cannot confirm that the individual is spiritually mature or desires to love sacrificially.

Unfortunately, too many singles lower their guard once a dating service says they’ve found them a match. They get emotionally excited, assume that the dating service computer must be right, and rush into a relationship before they verify the other person’s integrity over time. The problem stems from shameless marketing tactics by dating services that promise success and our own desire to speed up the dating process. We want results as soon as possible, and dating services, whether online or off, advertise the fast track to romance. Ironically, statistics reveal that less than one percent of dating service subscribers actually find a marriage partner that way!’

Second, dating services hinder people’s ability to be themselves. When singles use a dating service, they are under scrutiny, so they put on their best faces. This is normal, but it prevents you from learning the truth about people. Be extra cautious if you choose to go out with someone through a dating service. Meet candidates in public places when you first get together. Keep your personal information private, such as home address, phone numbers, and office location. Use e-mail or the dating service administrator to coordinate your communication.