As someone who had to do Tinder for a while before finding the right guy, I know what it’s like to get completely sick of dating apps. The endless process of swiping and having to strike up small, arbitrary conversations in hopes of a vague connection that maybe leads to a date and more potentially awkward conversation…it gets old. It’s easy to lose hope and want to throw your phone against the wall. Or maybe it’s just time to get off of Tinder or Bumble and try dating the old fashion way, meeting people out in the world. If you’re single and dating apps just aren’t doing the trick for you, here are 10 different ways to meet people in hope of a real connection.
1. Join a club
One of the best ways to meet people you could actually have things in common with is to join a club focused on something you’re interested in. With group meetings or activities doing whatever you like to do, you’ll have organic chances to meet people and get to know someone you might find yourself interested in. There’s even the Meetup app that might be of some use to you if you’re in an area where it’s commonly used. Don’t freak–it’s not a dating app. It’s for people looking to find a group with a similar interest as them so they can all do whatever activity that is together. You can go hiking. Cook together. Find a running group. That way you’ll be doing something you like and meanwhile surrounded by people who share a similar interest–perfect potential dating candidates.
2. Make flirtatious eye contact at your favorite coffee shop
Lots of interesting people spend their time hanging out at coffee shops. Regulars get to know each other and the workers too, making a nice little community. Sometimes during your routine visits you’ll spot a cute stranger reading a classic book and it’s like swoon, but you would never dare to make a move. Well if you’re looking for new dating opportunities, stop being so shy and bring out those furtive glances that always show someone you’re interested. Get a seat nearby sometime and ask what they’re reading. If they keep up the conversation with you, you’ll definitely know the interest is mutual.
3. Get a friend to set you up
Hey, no one knows you better than your friends. They’ve been there through all the awful dating experiences, so they’ll definitely be sensitive to helping you find someone cool to make a connection with. Ask your pals to look around in their separate friend groups and pick out someone you might match well with. They can introduce y’all at the next mutual gathering or just casually mention the idea to their friend to feel out the situation beforehand. Or go full send and just get his or her number to shoot an introductory text. What do you have to lose?
4. Start playing a sport
Similar to joining a group, playing a sport is a great way to casually get to know people quickly. Playing a game makes it easy to meet other people, without having to strike up awkward conversation or play any awful ice breakers. You just learn names and start playing. There are sure to be lots of league sports available in your area that can connect you to cuties, whatever game you’re looking to play, or whatever kind of guy you’re looking for, from soccer to bowling.
5. Go to cool events
Doing things you enjoy will naturally connect you with people who have similar interests. It doesn’t have to be something active like playing a sport. You can check out a museum or go to a concert and automatically there will be people there you already have something in common with. After that, it’s easy to strike up conversation about whatever you’re doing or seeing and make a connection. It’s great because all you have to do is go out and experience cool things you enjoy and talk to those around you while you do.
6. Hit up bars
Ah yes, the tried and true approach of meeting people at bars. The great thing about ways to meet people like this is that you don’t have to worry that you’re going to be inappropriately invading someone’s personal space. People really shouldn’t go to bars if they’re not okay with being hit on every once in a while. It’s totally natural in that environment to approach someone in hopes of getting a number or chatting while you drink. Plus, it’s totally acceptable to actually just meet people. You don’t need to go home with anyone. Flirt while you’ve got a few drinks in you, and then leave separately, promising to text each other for more conversation or plans the next day.
7. Actually talk to people in class or at work
When I started going to college, I was amazed at how few people I got to know in each class. People just don’t talk to each other, like we all used to in high school. We have our friend groups already established. There’s no need to work together in class. For the most part, we all just sit in our separate bubbles. If you want to meet people in real life, you’d do well to break away from this trend and actually start up conversations with those around you, whether that be in class or at work if you’re already a college-grad. Since you already have so much in common, meeting at this same place all the time, it’ll be easy to start talking and get to know someone you’d otherwise just stay secretly interested in, glancing at from across the room.
8. Join pickup games at the local park
Whenever you drive past the local park on a warm day, there’s always a group of people out there playing soccer or football or frisbee, and they’re always willing to welcome someone new. Joining in on the pickup game is a great way to meet people. Learn about who they are while you play. Break the ice by getting them to teach you the game or how to get better. Find out when they’re going to play again and if you can join. People need numbers to really play most sports, so they’ll always be happy to have another team member. And you can meet some total sporty hotties.
9. Start making friendly conversation
There are ways to meet people anywhere. I knew a girl who had met her boyfriend on a plane just because they had struck up a conversation. It sounds like something way cheesy out of a rom com, but it can be real life if you’re willing to put in the work. When you’re looking to meet people in your day to day life, a key requirement is actually talking to those around you. Be friendly. Make conversation with people who catch your eye. Don’t be a creep. It’s important to respect the fact that people aren’t always looking to be straight up hit on by strangers. But if you’re nice and able to take a hint when they’re not interested, there’s nothing wrong with trying to chat with someone you could be interested in, wherever you are.
10. Try volunteering
If there aren’t any groups you’re interested in, you’re not in school, and you don’t like getting involved with people at work, you can always join a group that spends time volunteering. You’re doing an activity together that can help you get to know each other, and you know you’re gonna get someone with a good heart if you’re meeting them volunteering. As a bonus, your dating efforts will be helping out people who need it. But maybe when you’re talking to whoever strikes your fancy you shouldn’t mention the fact that you started volunteering just to get a date.
Keep in mind
As hopeless as dating can seem, there are always endless ways to meet people around you. All you have to do is get out there and find them. These 10 ways to meet people can help you discover new methods to get to know more people out there with similar interests as you that will someday lead you to that perfect guy or girl. And meanwhile you can spend your efforts out in the world doing things you like, instead of staring at the same profiles over and over again on your phone.