Is It Possible to Find Love Without Dating Apps These Days?

Meeting Someone at a Coffee Shop

Believe it or not, it is entirely possible in this day and age to find love without using dating apps. Just recently, I was walking through the mall, and a gentleman walked by me and yelled, “Nice boobs!” While I’m not a mind reader, I’m pretty sure I could’ve landed a date with him based on his enthusiastic reaction to my chest and the volume at which he expressed this sentiment.

In all seriousness, though, lots of people meet offline and go on to have meaningful, long-lasting relationships. You may ask yourself, “What year is this, the ’90s?” And with the advent of online dating sites, it seems almost ridiculous not to take advantage of having dating options literally at your fingertips.

All we are saying is that it is possible to meet people in the real world, and if you’re tired of the swiping and matching grind, we can give you some tips on how to do it if you’re interested!

People Do Meet IRL

Only about half of all new romantic partnerships in the United States will begin with an online dating app, according to a Pew Research Center research study released in 2020. Even though it may seem like everyone you know has found their soulmate on Hinge or even Tinder, the data shows that meeting in person is far more likely.

After more than two years of only virtual dating due to the pandemic, a face-to-face relationship may appear very appealing. Even before COVID-19, using a dating app might be a depressing experience for some.

“Even though dating apps reported that more people signed up during the pandemic, that doesn’t mean it was any easier to find someone,” Anita A. Chlipala, LMFT, founder of Relationship Reality 312, explained to SELF. “It’s so common to match with someone who never responds to your message or takes several days to answer a question, or it’s a one-sided conversation. It can seem like such a waste of time, which just adds to the frustration and fatigue.”

That’s not to say you can’t find a wonderful connection using a dating app. They’re simple to use, may help you locate others with similar interests, and, if used correctly, could lead to a successful relationship.

However, if you’re tired of dating sites for the time being and/or want to try something new, or rather something that humans did for millennia before technology became involved, it may be worthwhile to go out and meet real, live human beings.

Benefits of Offline Dating

“For one thing, you can assess attraction and chemistry faster and more accurately in person—photos and witty texts tell you very little about whether you’ll be into someone IRL,” Chlipala says “And in the flesh, interactions also give you a chance to see someone in action before going on that first date. For example, you can observe how they treat people around them, the tone they use when talking—which rarely translates well over dating apps—and other important characteristics and potential red flags that might be missed on an app.”

Meeting a person in the flesh is a great way to gauge a person’s general vibe, which you will never get from an online profile!

How to Meet People in the Wild

In these increasingly tech-centric days, putting oneself out there without the safety net of a phone in hand may feel terrifying; it’s a risk that many of us have grown accustomed to avoiding, particularly after spending a few years mostly alone.

Many people fear rejection, and although it still stings to be rejected online, it’s pretty demoralizing when it happens face-to-face. You have to remember that just as not everyone is your cup of tea, you will not be everyone’s cup of tea. But we all face rejection in life, and even though it hurts, you should try not to take it personally (if anyone knows how to achieve this, please let us know).

It’s nerve-wracking to strike up a conversation with a complete stranger, especially if you find them attractive. As the kids say, you need to “shoot your shot,” or you’ll never know. And remember, small talk is your friend—even if you’re one of those “I hate mindless chatter” people, small talk is how most connections kick-off.

“You don’t have to chat with strangers about the weather, but exchanging pleasantries or witty remarks when the opportunity arises can be a great way to meet new people and get more comfortable interacting with someone you’re attracted to. Regularly striking up conversations is about developing the mindset of looking for opportunities to make a connection wherever you go,” Chlipala explains. “Sometimes that might pan out into a date; sometimes (or most times, even!) it won’t, but you won’t know unless you try.”

“It’s important to honor where you are with your comfort level, though,” Chlipala says. “If the idea of talking to someone you find super attractive makes your palms sweat, practice with a stranger, acquaintance, or colleague—someone you feel neutral toward—until you get more confident.”

You should also try to switch up your usual routine and not keep going to your favorite haunts and seeing the same faces you always see. Try out a new coffee house or a different restaurant than your favorite Thai place, or even walk your dog on a different route. Even if you don’t run into anyone interesting on the walk, your dog will be thrilled with all of the new sights and smells!

How to Meet People in the Wild

When you’re single and ready for a long-term commitment, where can you meet good people without resorting to online dating services?

Here are some ideas:

  • Social Group Meetups: By joining a Meetup group, you may meet others who share your interests, values, and lifestyle preferences.
  • Network Events: For your work industry.
  • Alumni Events:There is an immediate bond between you and any other alums you may run across, even if you don’t know each other. Hitting up an alumni gathering may help you meet that special someone.
  • Sports Clubs: Joining a local running, cycling, or tennis club may be a great place to meet compatible individuals. Bonus: being physically active has several positive effects on your health, including lowering your stress levels and providing an enjoyable way to express your fun and competitive sides.
  • Gyms: And yoga studios.
  • Friends Setting You Up: Tell your circle of friends and family, coworkers and church buddies, etc., that you would like them to help you find a match, and describe the kind of person you’re looking for.
  • Classes and Hobby Groups: This is a fantastic strategy for continually improving oneself and broadening one’s dating pool.
  • Religious Events: If you’re looking for meaningful relationships, your synagogue, church, or other places of worship are great places to start. Attend gatherings and take part in community activities.
  • Volunteer: Volunteering has so many positive effects on both the volunteer and the recipient that it ought to be a standard component of everyone’s lifestyle and dating approach.
  • Dog Parks: Some studies have found that dog owners are perceived as more appealing, pleasant, and friendly when their dogs are around. It also communicates that you are caring and stable enough to commit to anything for the long haul.
  • Speed Dating: If you want to meet many compatible people who are also looking for a relationship, speed dating could be a fun change from your usual dating routine.
  • Hire a Matchmaker: If you’re committed to finding a partner, employing a professional matchmaker is among the most effective alternatives to dating online. And it’s a snap–your matchmaker will perform all the work of selection for you based on the parameters you choose.

Putting oneself out there is the only way to actually meet someone. But don’t rush to the first place you hear about where single people are known to congregate—get involved in activities that truly interest you and only go to places where you’d actually hang out in a non-date scenario.

Molly Davis
Molly Davis

Molly is an East Coast writer who lives on West Coast time. She’s been in the journalism field for over 20 years — newspapers are her first love but she’s finding digital media to be just as fun and challenging as print! When she’s not giving therapist-quality dating advice, she’s curled up watching movies, reading, or volunteering at local dog shelters.