updated 24 Aug 2013, 02:05
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Tue, Aug 20, 2013
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The Go-Getter
by Diva


Shirley Tan, 37, an administrator, has been going for dating events since her early 20s.

She met her last boyfriend at one such event in 2006, though they later broke up. She attends dating events about once a month. It's my personality. When I want to do something, I'm very proactive about it," says the friendly administrator.

So, when Shirley heard that SDN was offering subsidies of up to 50 per cent on their accredited agencies' services last December, she took advantage of the deal and went for at least one dating event every week, trying everything from speed dating nights to group excursions to the Marina Barrage.

Between December and January, she spent close to $1,200 and went on six to eight dates. While none led to a blossoming romance, she's still optimistic about finding The One.

"He has to be my best friend in life - the person I think of whenever something happens to me," she says, adding that she's not seeing anyone now.

Shirley's go-getting attitude motivated her to go for dating events over a decade ago. Then in her 20s, she was tired of hearing her older colleagues complain that they couldn't find dates. "I encouraged them to widen their social circle and even volunteered to go for dating events just to show them it could be done!" she says.

So she signed up for hiking and outdoorsy activities organised by the now-defunct Social Development Service (which later became SDN in 2009). She met her first and last boyfriend at an event. They dated for close to a year before breaking up in 2007 due to different values, and she took some time to move on. But by 2010, she was back in the game, attending dating events occasionally.

These days, she will budget about $100 a month for dating events. "I prefer speed dating and dining events, in which you get to know a person better." She disagrees that women who frequent dating services are "desperate".

"If anything, women like me should get a pat on the back for doing something about our love lives instead of waiting for things to happen," she says. "I'm mentally prepared that I may not marry or have children. But at least I know that I'm doing my best now. I'll have no regrets."

Shirley's tip: "I never go for an event with the sole intention to meet a guy. I always have a 'secondary' objective - for instance, some dating events let you learn a new activity, while others are held in restaurants I'm interested to check out. So I still feel like I've gained something even if I don't land a date."


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