How To Get Off Dating Apps And Meet People In The Real World
At a wedding last weekend the conversation around the table turned, as it so often does in the presence of a freshly minted marriage, to finding love. "Where am I supposed to meet people?" the man to my left despaired, as though someone on table eight was holding all eligible women hostage from him. "I speak to girls on Tinder but I barely ever actually meet them."
Foregoing dating apps for the old school method of seeking out a partner without your phone can be a daunting proposition. But while bad romantic comedies would have you believe you need to go out six nights a week and speak to every person in the post office to find love, even the time and inspiration-poor can find someone in real life.
Firstly, delete the apps
Tinder et al are a sinkhole of energy and, for many, a boom-bust exercise of conversations that go nowhere and just serve to boost the ego of one party. If you have found Tinder successful and are confident selling yourself on a few holiday pictures and a bio, don't stop. If it's not really working out - which is probably why you clicked on this article - banish it from your phone and give yourself the impetus to meet people in real life without the safety net of Tinder distracting you from your pocket.
A study published last year found the primary reason for users joining Tinder was media and peer hype, at 48 per cent, while 'desire for a relationship' was at just 8.9 per cent. The same study reported that users rated the thrill and excitement of getting matches higher as a motive for being there than a desire for an actual relationship or casual sex. Essentially, even if there are people on there looking for love, there are far more treating it like a game to pass time or a trend to follow.
Now, ask for a set up
“Technology has made it easier to meet people, so the setup has become less and less the norm,” couples counsellor told The Cut last month in an article lamenting how dating apps are killing off the blind date. Once an easy and popular way to meet a potential partner, the setup can seem antiquated and forced in the age of swipe hype.
You might be wary of the level of seriousness that comes with requesting an introduction but it doesn't have to mean a three hour sit down dinner or that you're expected to be interested in someone because you asked to be setup. Arrange something informal like a brief coffee or if you can't face one-on-one, ask friends to bring someone along to a group event to ease the pressure. You could even arrange a dinner or drinks where everyone brings a single friend.
Try the cold approach
The act of chatting up a stranger has come under scrutiny given recent revelations about sexual harassment and left many wondering whether it is ever appropriate or welcomed. But if you act politely and read basic cues as to whether someone is interested - and crucially, walk away respectfully if they are not - having the confidence to approach someone will usually make you more attractive to potential partners.
As someone once told me of summoning the courage to do so: "Even if she has a boyfriend or says no, you walk away 10 feet taller for three seconds because you took a risk."
Say yes to different things, not everything
Lots of advice about dating in the real world vaguely suggests you just need to "say yes to things" and "really put yourself out there", but you probably won't meet someone new by sitting in the same pub with your friends five nights a week. Instead, say yes to the birthday party invites from colleagues or all those other events that you usually cancel on last minute because you're hungover. Going to a party where you only know two guests is exactly sort of thing you should be going to. It will force you to talk to strangers.
As marriage and family therapist Amie Harwick told The Cut, “Studies show that increasing the variety of both your social scenes, social partners, and social places results in an increased opportunity to meet both romantic and platonic partners.”
Take up a new hobby
efore you close the page in horror, we are not suggesting you spend every Sunday white water rafting in the vain hope The One might capsize nearby and require rescuing. However, increasing the pool of people you meet and see will only increase your odds of meeting someone new that you like. If you can't face rock climbing try going to gigs or volunteering.
Is that the most infuriating piece of advice yet? Probably. But meeting the right person can take a long time and distracting yourself with a flick through catalogue of people on your phone isn't necessarily going to help you meet someone. Don't give up after one bad date, or even after 12. Good luck out there.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.co.uk.
* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.