The Best Advice For Dating Without Dating Apps

In the next 30 days, I won't shake my phone back and forth to undo an accidental left swipe, I won't have to think about how I'm going to respond to a stranger's message, and I'll have enough cellular data to finally fit Uber on my phone. Yep, I'm deleting my dating apps for a month . I told you what experts think about the concept of App-less April, a month-long challenge to delete your dating apps, earlier this week. Some loved the idea (even dating app founders), some have done similar experiments themselves, and others thought it was a mistake because it limits your pool of romantic partners. But now that App-less April is just about here, and I'm starting to wrap up the convos I started on apps, I'm starting to wonder what I should focus on during the next 30 days.

My co-worker Kathryn, who's joining me for App-less April, says that her goal for the 30 days is to take dating more seriously, because she often thinks of it as a game — and if you've ever missed your bus stop because you were Tindering, you totally get.

We all have different relationships (and frustrations) with our dating apps, so we're all going to get different things out of a month free of them. Some of us may use it to take time away from dating, while others may aim to shift our focus on who we're dating or how we're dating. Either way, it's the perfect time to break our patterns and learn something new in the process.

Here are experts' best pieces advice for those of us venturing into new territory as we take a break from our dating apps.

Want to join App-less April? Share your stories with us by using the hashtag #ApplessApril and mentioning @Bustle.

1. Consider Taking A Month Off Dating

"My best advice for App-less April is to not only take a month off of dating apps, but to take a month off of dating! Take yourself off the market entirely and put the pursuit of finding a mate on the back burner. Focus on yourself and put all that time and energy into something that you wanted to learn to do or do more of." - Rhonda Milrad, M.S.W, Founder and CEO of Relationup

2. Be Open To Making Friends

"Clients who date offline have the added benefit of making friends when dating. If someone joins a bike group to meet a romantic partner they might end up with tons of friends too. And then maybe those friends have more friends, one of which you might want to date! Plus if you meet someone doing an activity or at a favorite restaurant you have the benefit of being more likely to have things in common with that person (because of self selection) and you've been doing something you enjoy anyway." - Janna Koretz Psy.D, Licensed Psychologist And Founder Of Azimuth Psychological

3. Be Mindful

"There's been a lot of research about how mindfulness improves mood and decreases stress. Unplugging is a great way to practice being mindful of your surroundings and really diving into whatever you're doing in the moment. This is being applied across the board...For example, many running coaches will tell their team to occasionally go on a run without tracking distance or time with their watches and phones. To get back to the activity itself, to remember why it is they like to run and to listen to their body to learn what it is telling them. So, who knows what kind of awesome and potentially influential information you could learn by going app-less in April while you are also improving your mood and decreasing stress." -Koretz

4. Date Yourself

"I suggest [my clients] get 'lover sober' by doing a 'dating detox'. Instead, I have them date themselves — and they make some huge strides in terms of learning about themselves and how (and why) they relate to partners as they do. It's one of the things that actually moves daters closer to a fulfilling relationship. Go figure, right?" - Erika Martinez, Psy.D., Licensed Psychologist

5. Schedule At Least Three Social Activities Per Week

"My advice for someone participating is to get social and look for connection in the real world. Schedule at least three social activities per week outside of work activities. Take classes, learn something new, workout outdoors, go to bars, and actually look around instead of looking at your phone. Flirt with a stranger in line at the grocery store or your favorite coffee shop. Try to connect with as many people as you can by smiling, having eye contact and using real words — not emojis." - Ravid Yosef, Dating And Relationship Coach

6. Take Time To Focus On Something Else

"Taking some time off might give you a good chance to work on yourself or simply focus your energy on something else.This time away to focus on other things should leave you refreshed and confident, both traits that make you more attractive when you decide you're ready to re-install those apps." -Jonathan Bennett, Dating And Relationship Coach

7. Work On Your Conversational Skills

"The world offers unlimited opportunity. The key is learning how to harness it. First, work diligently to improve your emotional intelligence to attract others to you. Although not a dating book, Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends & Influence People will make you a better conversationalist — a very helpful skill in the dating world." - Monica Parikh, Dating Coach And Founder Of School of Love NYC

8. Go To Places Someone You're Attracted To Would Go

"Insert yourself into situations where you can attract your "tribe." Bourbon-swilling rock stars may not be at early morning yoga classes. So, figure out what "type" of person you imagine dating. How would they spend their day? If you love animals, go to the dog park. If you want someone hilarious, sign up for improv class. If you love the outdoors, join a whitewater rafting club. The best activities continue for a few weeks, giving you the opportunity to get to know new people slowly over time." -Parikh

9. Assess How You're Projecting Yourself

"Assess how you project yourself into the world. To meet people in real life, you want to be comfortable, easy-going, and approachable. Work on the art of small talk. Take an interest in engaging others. If it's hard for you, start small. Ask someone at the grocery story what they are buying and why they like it. From there, you can move into the zone of making conversation easily throughout your day--at the doctor's office, the drugstore, and the gym. Don't be afraid to tell people that you're single! Good people love to facilitate love! Let the universe conspire in your favor." -Parikh

10. Take Up Activities That Improve Your Life

"Although dating apps have become a major factor in how people meet nowadays, there are other ways to meet the love of your life. During app-less April my advice is to take up activities that improve some aspect of your life while allowing you to meet people — for example a sporting activity. Meet Up was great for me while I was single, I joined a local tennis group that allowed me to improve my game and meet some great people. Also, taking a class in something you've wanted to learn is great too, as is going on dates with your friends and trying out restaurants and bars that have been on your list. Bonus — when you are ready to go back on the dating apps, there will be a slew of fresh new talent waiting to entertain you!" - Giusy Castiglione, Founder & CEO of DatesSpotz

11. Take It One Week At A Time

"When you decide to delete your dating apps, be realistic and take it one week at a time. Find time to spend with friends, brush up on your resume, go to the gym more frequently, start writing that blog or book that you’ve dreamed about and create your vision board for attracting that ideal person to your life for when you’re ready to reactivate your profile." - Julie Spira, Online Dating Expert and Digital Matchmaker, Founder of Cyber-Dating Expert

Want more of Bustle's Sex and Relationships coverage? Check out our new podcast, I Want It That Way, which delves into the difficult and downright dirty parts of a relationship, and find more on our Soundcloud page.

Images: Caroline Wurtzel/Bustle (2); Giphy