Claire Rayner's tips for the older dater

The Guardian-11 years before

Otherwise, force yourself to meet new people. Think about what you love doing, be it gardening or debating, and join a group or local course so you can do that activity with like-minded people. The University of the Third Age (u3a.org.uk), which helps older people gain new skills, is a great place to start.

If you spot someone intriguing at a class, go up to them and say: "You seem interesting, I'd love to know more about you." It's that simple. Remember that women can ask men out; it doesn't have to be the other way round.

Once you see ...omeone you like, invite them over for coffee along with a small group of friends, which should stop the atmosphere from feeling forced or overwhelming. Sit right next to them, so you can find out more about them in a relaxed environment.

In my day it was often down to couples to introduce unmarried friends to suitable men or women. It was an unwritten social duty. I'd like to see this duty revived, because no one wants to be alone.

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