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.
On April 1, I committed to App-less April, Bustle's month long challenge to purge my life of all of my dating apps, unplug, and meet people offline and in real life. Choosing to press the X button on my Tinder and other dating apps, and not looking back or becoming victim to a dreaded "rel-APPS", has been rife with challenges. For years, I've been using my dating apps as a social crutch; they've been the only medium through which I have been meeting potential partners. Now that I've unplugged from my chronic use of dating apps, I'm being forced to venture out of the comfort zone that I found in the world of technology, and meet people the old-fashioned way. I've given myself the valuable and much-needed time to reflect on how dating apps have been a detriment to my life.
I was depriving myself of delving into new experiences and meeting new people that could contribute positively to my life as well as ignite my personal growth.
"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."
I now can see that by relying on dating apps as my plug into my social life, I was actually sabotaging myself doing myself a disservice. I was depriving myself of delving into new experiences and meeting new people that could contribute positively to my life as well as ignite my personal growth. I'm also discovering just how much time I was squandering on dating apps. I was devoting hours every day to swiping right and left, obsessing over the tiniest details in my bios, thinking about how I would be perceived by the online world.
During this challenge, I have been astounded at much free time I have. All of the time and energy that I was spending on dating apps I can now freely channel towards fostering my friendships and my spiritual growth. Giving up my dating apps has pushed me into the unfamiliar territory of attending new social events and inserting myself into new spaces. The experience has been both terrifying and exhilarating.
Over the past two weeks, I've attended events that I never would have pushed myself to attend in the past. I've met new, amazing people who are inspiring me intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually, and I have been devoting more energy towards watering the seeds of my budding friendships. I've learned about qualities that I never fully believed I possessed; as it turns out, I am indeed capable of being bold and introducing myself to new people. I'm capable of thriving at being alone and I don't need to rely on my phone for social interaction.
App-less April has brought out the best in me, and I am excited to continue on and learn more about myself, foster new friendships, and focus on cultivating my best self.