See, if you were closer to me I would bring you to the friendly and weird social gatherings of my friends.
Picking partners from my social group has only lead to horrible trust issues and additional emotional scars 50% of the time.
But the other 50% makes up for it. A lot. Have I mentioned that recently? Although, of course, this is of the rather "would you like a diagram? Please have some footnotes, too" type of happiness, but it fits well enough.
Sorry, I really DO wish I could help, because I am entirely for people finding more joy in their lives, but that would be like me giving driving directions. I'm too far away and have rotten judgment in this area.
But yay, I am so glad to hear you're feeling like venturing into this territory. I wish you joy.
On a related note, tonight my semi-feral Orpheus played with a piece of yarn with me. He only ran out of the room in terror once, and the rest of the time he was fine and killed the string good. Progress is neat.