Thought Leadership

An alternative to online dating

By Colin Walls

Meeting that Special Someone in this day and age is tough. The workplace is fraught with difficulties and, if you have a challenging job, you may be limited in off-hours social possibilities. As I have written about before, I am a strong advocate of online dating. Used right – that is, as a means to meet others who are broadly compatible and “in the market” – it is an idea solution. I have very good reasons to believe in its success.

I recently ran into an old friend who took a rather different approach …

As I want to protect my friend’s privacy, I am going to be a little vague about some details in this story and just identify him only as “K”.

I was visiting another European country on business a few months ago and happened to run into K. It had been quite a while since we last met, so we did a good catch-up on one another’s lives. The most significant occurrence in his life was very sad news: his wife died earlier in the year.

K had been rather lost. His children were grown up. He had virtually no other family in the vicinity. And the nature of his work meant that he had had a limited social life, resulting in few close friends. He turned to his church after many years of absence. The people there made him feel truly welcome; he almost felt like he was coming home. After a few months he felt that he was back on track and ready to rebuild his life.

He realized that, even though he was recently bereaved, he really wanted someone to share his life with again. If he had asked my advice at that time, I would, of course, have advised him to get online. He took a different approach: he talked to God. K is a very rational guy and did not simply pray for someone to come into his life. He had a very clear set of 6 requirements that he laid out:

  1. She must be in her 40s [K is in his early 50s].
  2. She must share K’s faith.
  3. She must be solvent – in employment and own her own home.
  4. She should have a lively personality, be good company and be sexy.
  5. She should be keen on participation in sport – mountain biking etc.
  6. She must find him, not vice versa.

He was uncompromising on this list and explained it clearly to God. I saw nothing wrong with having a clear idea of what you are after, but I would have been worried about his likely disappointment. I was particularly concerned about #6, which meant that, if he encountered someone, he could not make the first move. But, as K explained to me, I was not taking God into account.

One Sunday, a short time after issuing his instructions, K was attending the social gathering that followed the church service. He was sitting drinking coffee with some of his new friends, when someone touched him on the shoulder. He looked up and it was an attractive woman. “Hello,” she said, “I am xxx”. As he described this moment to me: God delivered.

When K and I were talking, several months had passed and the relationship had gone from strength to strength, with never a day passing when he did not give thanks for his good fortune. Even though I am not religious myself, I can empathize with his feelings. I hope very much that things do work out well for K. He is a good man and hopefully this lady also gives thanks. In any case, next time I am in that city, I will make sure that I see K to get an update.

Incidentally, I am sure that some people will think that K was rather impatient to get into another relationship after his loss. I can understand how he felt and clearly it is a very common situation. I read some statistics for the average time between bereavement and re-marriage [in the UK]: 3 years for women and 18 months for men!

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at