As a writing instructor, I had an ironclad rule (unarticulated, of course! An editor taking the course wrote some poignant essays about his son's wedding, becoming a grandfather and learning to live alone. Think about splitting the rental of a group ski lodge or beach house.
I waited until after the last session, then made my move: "If you sell any of those pieces," I told him, "I hope you'll let me know. you can get in touch even if you don't sell them." He called the next week, and we went out until I discovered he wasn't exactly living alone. It's a great way to meet like-minded people — provided, of course, you like skiing or the beach!
One phone call, 25 years and five children later, they are married and still talking — and traveling — together.
Or you might kick things off by talking about the book or magazine you are reading, or your impending (or just-concluded) vacation.
Even an offer to share your travel snacks makes a great icebreaker. When the plane landed, he asked Leslie if she would have any time for dinner or sightseeing. That led to a long-distance relationship and a move to San Francisco, where Leslie and Paul celebrated their 10-year anniversary this year.
I happen to love the latter, so for years I bought weekend shares in single-parent beach houses.
As with my "no students" rule, I never dated a fellow house member; when we played charades or had barbecues with people in the community, however, I did meet a few men I wound up dating back in the city.