The Best Places To Meet Singles IRL

by Lindsay Tigar

A few months ago, I swore off Tinder. But then, like all toxic, unhealthy relationships, I've been going back to my ex. We often still have a lot of the same problems we had before — disrespectful arguments, disappointing date nights out together and inappropriate discussions about sex - but, hey, I figure, if romantic prospects are all looking at their phones at the bar instead of talking to me, I might as well get in front of them somehow, right? Wrong. Though I use dating apps significantly less than I have in years past, I still have them lingering in the background of my phone, just in case someone of possible interest and character actually proves me wrong about finding love on dating apps.

In an effort to turn my bitterness about online dating into something productive, I asked eight dating experts to share their insights on where-the-eff you meet singles that doesn't require me to connect my Facebook account before getting started.

From sharing a love for something to asking your couple friends to set you up with someone who could be great, here are their recommendations of where you should go if we want to meet someone without squinting to figure out which one they are in a group picture.

1. Through Your Couple Friends

“People in relationships love to see their friends and family meet someone special and because they are now joined with another person the social circle expands. If your friend is dating a great [person], hang out with them and [their] friends sometimes. It's often the loose connections in our life (i.e. friend of a friend) that connect us to our most important relationships. So don't try to date your best friend's [significant other's] friends but see if they can introduce you to their friends. Let your inner circle be a bridge to a wider range of people.” - Esther Boykin, licensed marriage, family and relationship therapist.

2. By Keeping Your Eyes Open in Public Places

“Grocery store, train station, bus stop. These may sound outlandish, but I've worked with clients who have met at all of these places! You could even meet someone waiting in line, such as a concert or at a restaurant waiting for a table. These are easy places to fall into conversation with someone new.” -Dr. Jane Greer, New York-based relationship expert and author

3. Sports Bars

“Social sports clubs are always great because most teams are co-ed and you get to have fun while showing off whatever athletic abilities you have. As a bonus, each league has sponsoring bars that will have drink specials to encourage teams to hang out after, which is always great chance to mingle and potentially build more than just team chemistry.” -Thomas Edwards, founder of The Professional Wingman

4. At A 5K Run

"An important part of meeting someone new is feeling relaxed. A great way to make that happen is to be doing something you enjoy at the same time. Love running? These days 5k runs are all about the socializing so try a suds run where beer is handed out halfway and a party is held at the finish line, complete with DJ and more suds. There are also chocolate runs, monster dashes, or of course, ones to support your favorite charity. These suggestions also help put you in the same place as others who have similar interests as you. Having fun, helping others, and meeting new people — a great recipe for finding love.” -Megan Bearce, relationship and marriage therapist and author

5. Volunteering Or Clubs

“Finding someone with shared values is probably your best bet for a successful relationship. This can include volunteering for non-profits and community events. Shared interests yoga, environmental clubs, library book clubs, work out groups, neighborhood classes and adult audit classes.” -Dr. Kat Van Kirk, relationship and sex expert.

6. At the Dog Park

“Single people with pets often say that meeting a potential partner greatly depends on whether or not they get along with their furry best friend. It's a deal breaker to most animal lovers. Where better to meet someone who loves their furry companion just as much as you do?” -Sherri Murphy CEO and Founder of Elite Connections International.

7. At a Coffee Shop

“One of my favorite coffee shop has a big, round singles tables so singles never have to eat/drink alone. Makes it easier to strike up conversation!” Phillip Petree, author.

8. At The Gym

"The chemical changes associated with exercise might explain why finding love at the gym is so common: endorphins, dopamine and serotonin contribute to feelings of exhilaration, pleasure and a positivity, all of which make you more attractive and prime you for attracting an eligible mate.” -Dr. Jessica O'Reilly, sex expert and author.

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