If you're single, it's likely you know the ins and outs of all the latest dating apps. Whether you're making the first move on Bumble — and within 24 hours! — or using Happn to see where you crossed paths with a potential match, there seem to be apps suited for everyone. But did you know there are also atypical and unusual dating apps and places to meet people IRL that you may not have thought about before?
"Diversify your dating approach," Clarissa Silva, behavioral scientist and author of the relationship blog, You’re Just A Dumbass, tells Bustle. "Don't just rely on the typical dating apps as the only methods of meeting someone. That will create online dating fatigue quickly. To mitigate those feelings of fatigue and frustration, diversifying your approach can actually maximize your efforts to find love. Include in your strategy both online and offline, because love is a complicated process and has no formula. We can't create the exact 'when' and 'where.' We just have to be there."
Hear, hear! That said, here are some unusual dating apps and places to meet people IRL, because the more options, the better. After all, with technology advancing as fast as it does, there's never a shortage of apps to try. Plus, the more you seek them out, the more in-person dating-related activities you'll find going on near you, too.
Many dating apps are linked to Facebook, but what about LinkedIn? That's where BeLinked comes in. And, LinkedIn is pretty (read: very) legit, so what better a vetting process, right? You can also filter your matches even more by narrowing your search options by industry, education, or city. This added feature will cost you $6.99 per month — and is free if you refer three friends to join BeLinked. Also, ladies get another feature, too. They get to see who's interested in them. Thank you, BeLinked!
2 Love Me Run
With this idea, you run for the sake of love, no dating app(s) necessary. That's right, the Love Me Run is an IRL 5K where singles do a 1k course five times with five different "matches." After all, dating experts say it's good to share common interests and do an activity as a first date. So why not a run? Btw, the above visual is not the actual course, but it definitely helps you remember the concept.
How exactly does it work? There are jogging and "no running" zones where conversation prompters help you get to know your partner. Camilla Swagar founded it, and met her boyfriend at the very first Love Me Run earlier this year — and they just got married, Love Me Run tells Bustle. Talk about trying the product first to make sure it works… Inspiring, to say the least.
There are several Love Me Runs coming up in 2017, in cities from San Diego and Denver to Chicago and Alexandria. Time to go lace up your running (or walking) shoes!
Are you a traveler but don't always want to go alone? With MissTravel, you can find someone who loves traveling as much as you do. I know — a winning combo, right? You can send members trip proposals with the location (your city, their city, or someplace new), dates, and what kind of trip you'd like: Luxury, Adventure, Romance, Foodie, or Local. And forget about awkward moments about who pays the bill. With MissTravel, you can choose who pays in advance — you, the other person, or both of you.
Last year, Bustle's Sex and Relationships Editor, Michelle Toglia, had a date with a MissTravel member in Portalnd. I'd try it! You?
4 Tough Mudder
There are plenty of activity dates to do on a first date, from going to a local farmers' market to renting bikes and exploring a new part of the city. But if you want something a little more intense, you can either do Tough Mudder together, or do it solo and you may just meet someone there — yes, while covered in mud. That's true love, right?
On behalf of Tough Mudder, Harris Poll recently conducted a survey of over 2,000 people in the U.S. and found that almost 40 percent of respondents said they’d rather go on an extreme fitness/outdoor recreation date versus dinner and a movie. I hear that. Plus, three in five people, 60 percent, of those surveyed said they would be more attracted to someone who took them on a non-traditional first date (e.g., rock climbing, volunteering, bingo, concert). In addition, just in case you need more convincing, more than half of Millennials, 54 percent, said they'd be interested in meeting new people or a potential partner while doing a fitness activity. See? There you have it.
If you're into adventurous activities to meet someone, try MeetMeOutside (MMO). Yes, it's just like it sounds. Not only does this prevent those "What should we do?" conversations, but it also gets you moving, which will help take pressure off of the date (i.e., Goodbye, awkward, forced conversation). In the app, users choose their favorite things to do, plus add their Top 3 Bucket List items. They can link to their Instagram accounts, too. Then, MMO suggests date locations, from SoulCycle to blacklight yoga.
6 at First Sight
Sometimes, don’t you wish you could just see videos of potential matches on dating apps versus pictures? After all, then you'd see how they carry themselves, not just seemingly outdated pictures. Enter at First Sight, a dating app created by none other than Chris Harrison — yes, from Bachelor fame.
You can connect with matches through voice and video calls, voice messages, or the old-fashioned way: texting. You can also create an event, like hiking. How do you know you're not talking to a robot? The app is connected via Facebook. Definitely worth a try!
So the next time you’re sick of your usual dating apps or places to meet people, why not try some new ones? If nothing else, at least you’ll know you tried, and that’s all anyone can do.