Sometimes it can be difficult to meet people with similar interests, someone you feel you could share a bond with – whether you’re just looking for friendship, or even romance. There’s a plan afoot in the Manning area to get lonely people out of their homes and into the social arena, called ‘Dinner for S.I.T.M. (Singles in the Manning)’. Local lady Jodi tells us what it’s all about …
What exactly is the ‘Dinner for S.I.T.M’ concept – and how does it work?
The idea is to create a safe place for people to go and meet up with other singles in their area. I take the hard work out of it for people, by trying to match people around the same age with what they are looking for in a future partner. The concept consists of four single men and four single women meeting for dinner at a local restaurant in the Manning area. Blind dates can be very awkward; therefore this way there are seven other people in the same boat and conversations are sure to flow much more easily. Dinner for S.I.T.M. is basically a meal organised at a restaurant with like-minded people around the same age, and all participants have to do is turn up on the night, have a lovely meal and enjoy the conversation.
What are the aims of the concept?
Basically, I want to create an opportunity to introduce singles in the area to one another! I know how hard it can be and how limiting it can be to meet new people.
What made you think about creating Dinner for S.I.T.M?
Being a single mum with 2 kids, I was finding it hard to meet men in the area. We don’t have any speed dating around here, and I really don’t like the idea of meeting men in a pub. I started thinking about what I could do, and that’s when I came across the 8 for Dinner idea on Facebook. I saw that a lady named Lee was looking to start up a group in the Port Macquarie area, so I emailed her, asking if she would mind me doing a similar thing for the Manning area.
What stories have you heard from people in your own local area about the difficulties associated with meeting others/enjoying an active social life?
I currently have a number of single friends who have often lamented the lack of single people in the area, yet I know there are a lot of people in the same situation who would jump at the opportunity to meet new people. I’ve had really good feedback from everyone. Being a smaller area, here in the Manning, they find it very hard to meet other singles. They like the idea of being on a table with other singles looking for the same sort of relationship − without having to do the pub scene or internet dating. They like the idea of meeting face to face and talking over a nice meal − and if they like someone, they then have the option of handing over their phone number, or making a date for a coffee etc.
What would you like to see the diner for S.I.T.M concept actually achieve locally?
Meeting people in this area is very difficult. People usually stick to the people they know and hang around in their own groups, without extending their social network. If you are not particularly sporty or have a specific interest or hobby, there really are no real opportunities to meet single people in the area. Participating in a meal with Dinner for S.I.T.M is a great way to meet potential partners, or at the very least, make some nice friends. I would love to have a monthly dinner date set, where I have a lot of new people of all ages joining. I’m hoping to have a whole group of tables happening at once.
What plans have been made to date for meetings/gatherings?
As Christmas is closing in fast, I’m trying to have the first dinner date early in the New Year. I have a few different restaurants in mind, and I’m looking at having the first one held in a new local restaurant that has just been opened by two friends of mine. I have been getting a lot of interest from females in this area so far, with only a select number of men expressing interest.
Is the Dinner for S.I.T.M concept open to everyone?
Yes, we are open to both sexes. As for the age limit, you do have to be 18 for legal reasons − and it will go up to 90. The elderly deserve to have someone special in their lives too.
What are the costs involved?
This is a free service. I’m offering to do all the leg work to get started, but you will need to pay for your meal and any drinks you have on the night.