Meeting someone on an app is part of the fabric of modern dating. In fact, about 30 percent of adults in the U.S. have used online dating and dating apps. When swiping is an integral part of the dating landscape, what do you do if you’re experiencing dating fatigue and looking for another way? Is going on a date without online dating possible?
The answer is yes! Rest assured that plenty of relationships still start offline—and it happens every day. You just need to know where to look.
Here are some of the best ways to meet people without dating apps.
Browse a Bookstore
If you consider yourself a book nerd, don’t overlook the power of a literary meet-cute. Your local bookshop or library can be a great place to meet a like-minded person. Maybe you’ll lock eyes in the L’s or find yourselves reaching for the same cookbook.
Consider spending a Saturday afternoon sipping on a coffee and browsing the shelves for a new read. If you meet someone in the aisles, you’ll have the advantage of knowing that they enjoy reading as well. Plus, you’ll be able to get a pulse on their interests by noting which section they frequent or the subject matter they’ve selected. Making a casual comment on a topic you clearly have in common is a fantastic way to start a conversation.
Go to the Grocery Store
When you want to meet organically, head to the aisles of your local grocery store. While it might seem a little mundane, the reality is that the grocery store is an often overlooked place to bump into someone new, whether you literally bump carts or find yourselves waiting in the same long line.
At the store, there’s no pressure because chances are that you’re probably not looking for love there anyway. You’re not preoccupied by the hope of romance—just the hope of finding that obscure cheese you need for that dish you saw on social media. It’s easy to start a conversation (“Which pasta brand would you recommend?”), and it’s even easier to jump out of a conversation if you’re not feeling a spark.
Cozy Up to the Bar
One of the most quintessential ways to meet someone without dating apps is meeting at the bar. And no, this isn’t reserved only for cocktail bars—you can sit at a restaurant or coffee shop bar, too.
Dining or drinking alone isn’t the most romantic of experiences. We get it. But with a good book or an addicting game on your phone, going solo doesn’t have to be so lonely. When you sit at a bar instead of a standalone table, you’re opening yourself up to plenty of opportunities to chat with other people: those sitting next to you, the bartender or barista, and people ordering drinks. Striking up conversation or being approached at a bar seat is easier and feels more natural than at a table.
Head to the Dog Park
Dogs have a way of melting hearts, so why not give your heart the chance to find love at a dog park?
This is a great spot to meet someone in real life and form a connection. There’s already a similarity (your pets!); plus, having your furry sidekick close by can take the pressure off of any potentially romantic situation.
Take your pup (or a friend’s dog on loan) and head over to the local park on a busy evening; mornings aren’t ideal because people might be in a rush to get to work. Feeling nervous about starting a conversation? All you have to do is ask about their dog. There’s a foundation of commonality, so start there. Then, once you’re more comfortable, you can transition the topic to one of your liking, such as your favorite coffee shop or pub down the street.
Go on a Blind Date
An oldie but a goodie, blind dates can be fun and unique ways to meet people. Usually, a friend or family member will recommend someone they know who they think might be a good fit for you. While the unknown can be nerve-racking, a little risk is a good thing! You never know who might show up and fulfill your romantic expectations. Plus, you have the added security of this person coming recommended from someone you trust, who knows your personality, desires, interests, and more.
One step further from blind dating is matchmaking, a wonderful alternative to dating apps. People who are tired of swiping and scrolling can experience a fresh take on dating with matchmaking. Your matchmaker acts as your trusted friend—understanding what you want in a partner, your deal-breakers, and so on—who matches you with others who would be a good fit. Plus, with Tawkify, every date is planned for you, so you can spend less time thinking of where to meet and more time focusing on the romantic potential to come.
Volunteering is a home-run idea for several reasons. First, you will meet lots of new people (not just instant romantic interests). Second, you’re giving back to your community, and third, you’re going to feel fantastic about participating.
Consider volunteering at a clothing drive or a charity event or even sign up for a walkathon. Maybe you love animals and have time to dedicate to your local animal shelter. Perhaps there’s a monthly beach, park, or green space cleanup that you can participate in.
No matter what volunteer opportunities you choose, you’ll be surrounded by people with good hearts who have come together for a common cause. And that’s a great foundation for finding someone whose values align with yours.
Sign Up for a Speed-Dating Event
If you’ve never tried speed dating, don’t knock it ‘til you try it. When you want to meet someone without dating apps, look no further than your local bar, brewery, or event space. Even some churches host speed-dating events!
While the thought of talking to 10 random people in the span of one hour gives some people anxiety, try to focus instead on the sheer number of chances you have at finding some you click with. In any given month, perhaps you only have time to meet one or two people a week for a date. Well, in one evening, you can meet many more than that.
Speed dating gives you short glimpses into people’s personalities and mannerisms and allows you to have that necessary physical interaction right from the get-go, without the back and forth of chatting on a dating app.
Participate in a Class
Remember when you were new to high school or college and everyone encouraged you to sign up for a group, a club, a team, etc.? Well, there’s something to that advice. Getting involved in a group activity is a great avenue not only for having a sense of belonging and much-needed human interaction in a digital age but also for setting up a date without online dating.
Try something new: sign up for a ceramics or woodworking class, register for a cocktail-making night at a local bar, go to the outdoor bootcamp you drive by every week, take a cooking class. When you go out of your comfort zone to learn a new skill, you’re benefiting yourself by accomplishing something challenging and you’re boosting your chances of finding someone with the same goal.
Pursue Your Hobbies
A tried-and-true way to meet someone in real life who you can form a romantic bond with is by pursuing your hobbies. Finding a connection is easier when you’re both doing something you’re passionate about.
For example, if you love hiking and backpacking, keep going on adventures! You never know who might set up camp next to yours. If you like to get competitive, join a tabletop gaming community to meet like-minded people. Maybe you have a knack for remembering random details; well, trivia nights are the perfect opportunity to meet your match. And just about every city has adult sports groups for volleyball, soccer, softball—you name it.
Continuing to do the things you love is all part of mindful dating. And when you date mindfully, you’re setting yourself up for success.
Regain hope in dating with these innovative (and classic) ways to meet someone without dating apps.