Even though dating apps are most popular among Millennials, according to a recent SeatGeek survey of 1,000 singles, 95 percent would rather meet people IRL versus online or on an app. That's why for the second year in a row, Bustle is deeming April, "App-less April" and encouraging our staff and readers to delete their dating apps for 30 days and meet people the old-fashioned way: offline. With participants tracking their progress and tricks and tips from dating experts, we'll be helping you feel empowered to meet people IRL all month long.
With April almost half over, that means Bustle's App-less April, a challenge to delete your dating apps for 30 days, is almost half over, too. So, without your dating apps at hand — literally — where are places to find dates when you're detoxing from dating apps? Actually, it turns out that there are way more places than you probably think there are to do so. After all, the first step is getting out of the house. You can meet potential dates anywhere, really, if you think about it — from work to the gas station.
"I'd say taking a break from dating apps is essential, whether you're on a dating break or actively dating," Camille Virginia, Founder of Master Offline Dating, tells Bustle. "Dating apps aren't reality — lots of people don't even look like their photos, or completely lie about themselves, their interests, their relationship status, what they're looking for, etc. I say go for as long as you can without reinstalling the apps. Make it a challenge. Use this time to start connecting with people in the real world — that could mean making a new friend in line at the grocery store or flirting with the barista at Starbucks."
I completely agree with Virginia. Below, you'll find several places to meet potential dates when you're detoxing from dating apps. So get ready to leave the house and do one of the below.
Dog parks and cat cafes are perfect places to meet potential dates because you already have a huge thing in common — your love for animals. Plus, what's cuter than seeing a guy or girl hanging out with their dog or cuddling up with a cat? Not much! And, you have such easy conversation-starters, from asking about their pet to if they’ve been to the cat cafe before.
You've probably heard how it's good to share common interests with your partner, and volunteering is a great example. Not only is it an enriching experience for your heart and soul, but it also tells you a lot about somebody. After all, someone who spends three hours a week reading to kids is choosing to use his or her time doing so, which shows they're generous with their time and compassionate toward others. Plus, when you choose an event you like to do, such as tutoring kids, your genuine enthusiasm will show. This, in turn, will make you more attractive to a potential suitor.
I always think activity dates are the best kind of dates — and they also take a TON of pressure off the date since you have to focus on what you’re doing. Whether you're bowling or biking, you have a natural distraction, allowing for the conversation between you two to be more natural. So, the same goes for places to meet somebody. If you’re already doing an activity you love, like yoga, rock climbing, or going to the gym, it's a win-win when you meet someone who shares the same passion. Or, maybe it's their first time at said activity and you can be their tour guide, so to speak.
Let's face it — everyone has to eat, and what better a place to meet a potential date than at the grocery store or farmers' market? Aside from seeing if you share a love for the same types of foods, it's an easy, non-threatening way to meet someone, whether you ask their advice on a certain food product or where to find the bread aisle. Plus, it won't look like you're flirting — you genuinely want to know where the bread is!
Even if you have a car, it's likely you take public transportation from time to time. Whether you ask someone for directions or about the book they're reading, it's easy to start a conversation with somebody on the bus or train. Who knows? Maybe it'll go so well that you'll decide to get off at the same stop and go explore a new part of the city. But you don't know unless you try!
I don't know about your city, but most have amazing new and used bookstores. In addition, many host events at the stores, too. Whether you're browsing for a book or hit up a bookstore to attend an event or book-signing, chances are high you can meet a potential date at one. Also, it goes without saying that you’ll have plenty to talk about — from the event going on to any of the 1,000,001 books in the store.
I don't know many people (or any) who don't go to a coffee shop each week (or day!). Next time, instead of getting your coffee to go, why not sit down for a while? You can read, work on your computer, or just people-watch. I have no doubt that if you sit there long enough, you'll meet someone, love connection or not.
As you can see, where you go doesn't matter as much as just getting out there. It's all being off your dating apps and showing up places IRL. The more you practice, so to speak, the easier it'll be. Maybe, come May, you'll be such a pro, you won't even want to install your dating apps again.