By Emma Stessman
You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who’s been single in the last few years and hasn’t downloaded a dating app, at least for a day. And ask any of your recently coupled friends how they met their S/O, and they’ll likely tell you it started with a swipe.
So, how can you meet a potential partner in a digitally-driven dating world if sorting through pics isn’t your style but you’re still looking to add some love to your life (for the health and happiness benefits, obviously!)?
We consulted two dating coaches to get expert advice on how to sign off Tinder for good and start your next relationship with some real face-to-face time…instead of on FaceTime.
How to Meet Someone IRL
1. Go where other single people are
When you think about it, singles events are basically the IRL version of a dating app––a bunch of available people actively looking to date, all conveniently located in one space. “Go out two to three times a week to events where single people go,” advises matchmaker, Karenna Alexander. “Speed dating, singles events, charity events, happy hours, venues where live bands play, and anywhere else you know of in your area where singles congregate.” And even if you don’t meet anyone on your first few tries, going to these events will help you get into the swing of things and gain more confidence.
2. Venture out on your own
Okay, this one might be a little scary at first. Usually, when we’re in new social situations, we depend on friends to act as a buffer in awkward moments or to swoop in if the conversation goes south. However, Alexander recommends going places, like those she suggested above, alone. People are more likely to approach you and strike up a conversation. Plus, “It’s easier to make plans to go out alone,” she says. “You can get there on your own time and leave on your own time.” Meaning: If you decide you’re over it twenty minutes in, you’re totally free to head back home.
3. Create conversations
The more people you talk to, the greater the chance you’ll find someone that you actually really enjoy. But if you’re not fully into the going out alone idea, here’s a trick that Anna Morgenstern, a New York-based dating coach, suggests: “Plan a happy hour date with a friend and show up 15 minutes early. Find a group of men or women, tell them your friend is always late, and [ask] if they would mind you joining them for a drink while you wait,” she says. “It works every time, and your intention isn’t [necessarily] to get a phone number or a date but to give off positive energy and make someone’s day a little brighter.” But if you do end up clicking with someone in the group, don’t be afraid to ask if you and your friend can join in, and keep the conversation flowing.
4. Do more of what you love
This step is the easiest, and probably the most fun. “I always tell clients to add in three hobbies or activities that would make their lives more happy, overall,” Morgenstern says. “When you add activities that make you feel good, you’ll naturally surround yourself with like-minded people.” If you’re someone who likes to run, join a running club. Or if you’re daily meditator, try bringing your practice into a group setting (it might even improve your meditation). Start talking to the people around you in these group, and don’t be afraid to mention the fact that you’re single, Morgenstern notes. Who knows? The other person could be on the hunt for love as well––or she might have a super cute friend who’s just your type.