Where To Meet Someone When You're Over Dating Apps
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Written By: Taylor Rao
Dating in the digital age can be tough. There’s an expectation to embrace matchmaking apps like Tinder and Bumble, but there can also be a stigma around actually using them to find a partner. And hey, there’s nothing against online dating for those who have used it and found success. According to a survey by The Knot, 19 percent of brides found their spouse online in 2017, surpassing more traditional popular meeting places like bars or through mutual friends.
But just because online dating works for some people doesn’t mean it has to be your jam, too. Except here’s the thing --a lot of people who diss dating apps don’t always have another alternative in mind, AKA they’re too shy to approach a stranger in public, or are totally freaked out by the idea of going solo to a group meetup for a particular hobby or recreational sport.
If you have your heart set on finding love outside of a touch screen, you’ve got to get creative and find places you can go to dive into the dating pool, ready or not. Meeting people in person takes guts, but it can also be so much more rewarding to know you’re not being judged by how you look in a photo with flash.
So, where can you go? Here are 6 places to try out if you’re looking to meet a date in real life.
Cozy up at a coffee shop
The cast of Seinfeld had Monk’s Cafe, Friends had Central Perk, so why can’t you have a coffee shop or café where you become a regular? You probably already have a favorite neighborhood spot that’s just a few blocks away from your apartment or down the street from where you go to the gym.
Hanging out at the same places, especially somewhere low-key and conversational like a coffee shop, can make you feel relaxed, comfortable and more willing to greet a familiar face who you see pass through the doors frequently. You could end up making small talk with the cute barista who knows your exact order or chatting up someone who stops in on their morning commute at the same time you do.
Find a coworking space
A lot of us have a side hustle these days, AKA another job that gives us a boost of extra cash for social spending, on top of what pays the bills from 9-5. If you have a freelance-type of talent like writing or graphic design, or you’re just a bit of an entrepreneurial spirit in general, joining a coworking space for a weekly or monthly rate can help you meet like-minded creatives who are motivated by seeing others work on their passions.
Coworking is rooted in the belief that people of all types of professional and educational backgrounds can become greater as one, and can benefit each other from sharing ideas, sparking conversation and embracing creativity. These coworking spaces have popped up in urban areas and cities all across the USA, and a common thread is the ability to attend social gatherings that take place in these spaces, doubling not only as your remote office but a place to network, hang out and potentially meet someone new who shares a similar passion (or better yet, a totally different one).
Keep an eye out at the gym
We know it’s not polite to stare, but there’s hardly a more aspirational place out there than a gym. If you see someone across the way who’s putting in the work and making it look easy, use that extra adrenaline from the treadmill to conveniently start your next workout in their vicinity.
Every once and awhile, it’s OK to use some old-school flirting tactics like asking if they’re done with a piece of equipment or just “making sure” you’re not too close to their personal space on the mat. When you’re at the gym, you should be projecting confidence in general, and you’re surrounded by a group of people who are doing their thing and focusing on bettering themselves just like you are.
Join a recreational sports league
Recreational sports leagues are a common extra-curricular for young professionals, from kickball and dodgeball leagues, to sports that require a little more skill like softball or soccer. Whether you’re a former athlete or a good sport who just wants to have a little fun, there’s a great camaraderie and friendly competition that comes with joining a rec league.
Now, this is where you might have to be a bit more courageous if you don’t have a group of friends or coworkers who already participate in something like this. But, there shouldn’t be anything holding you back from signing up solo and getting right into the game. Once you get to know some of your new teammates or opponents, it won’t be long until you’re going out for post-victory drinks or making plans outside of your game schedule.
Volunteer for a good cause
While you don’t necessarily want a partner who’s exactly like you, common interests can help create an immediate bond that grows into a long-lasting love. If you find yourself struggling to make weekend plans or keeping yourself busy after work, aligning yourself with a charity organization who gives back to the community can help you feel fulfilled in your free time.
Whether you’re inspired by mentoring young kids or dedicating your time to an animal shelter, you’re bound to find other individuals who are fueled by similar passions and are as generous with their time as you, and what a great way to get to know each other than to do something totally selfless.
Don’t say no to plans
OK, this last one might not be a particular place, but in a time where people are kidding-but-not-kidding about preferring to be on the couch drinking wine at home instead of socializing, if that’s really true, no one is going to meet anybody anywhere.
So, even when it’s raining and your BFF is begging you to go out for happy hour, do it. Don’t make excuses just because you’re tired, broke AF or a tiny bit under the weather. If meeting somebody is a serious goal of yours, be as social as possible because you truly never know where your perfect match could be out there.