Whether dating apps are causing a "dating apocalypse" or are merely the easiest way to get a date, there's no denying these tools have been total gamechangers in the dating scene within the last few years. And 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.
When you date using dating apps, it's easy to be messaging with someone one minute, and out on a date with them the next. But when you're doing App-less April — Bustle's challenge to delete your dating apps for a month — it's a little different. But there is one thing you can do today to meet someone IRL: Leave the house. That's right, getting off the couch and leaving the house is key. Then, you can go anywhere and potentially meet your match. After all, you probably hear stories of where and how people meet, whether you hear them in person or read about them — couples meet everywhere from the airport to the circus (as workers!). And some meet after they delete their dating apps (hint, hint!).
"The biggest advantage to meeting potential dates in real life is getting to experience their vibe right away, which is something no online dating platform can deliver," Thomas Edwards, founder of The Professional Wingman, tells Bustle. "This increases your odds of making good choices on who to go on a date with. There's no better way to gauge attraction and chemistry than to be physically present with someone."
Edwards has a great point there. Even though some apps now have video capabilities, it's still not the same as a face-to-face encounter.
"The best real-life situations are ones you already regularly experience," says Edwards. "From the moment you wake up until when you go to sleep, there are countless opportunities for you to meet someone — taking public transportation, at the coffee shop, at work, the bookstore, out at lunch, in the gym, at the bar for happy hour, getting groceries — the list goes on. All you have to do is take advantage of the opportunities that are already there."
Below, I added a few more things you can do today to meet someone IRL once you do the key one — leave the house. I agree with Edwards: The more natural the setting — i.e., things where you're in your element — the better.
Back when my friend Jason was single, he said he never declined a social invitation — because you never know if your future boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife will be there. Yes, everyone has those days (and nights) where you're finally home from work and do not want to leave the house again. But — do it! Of course, at said social event, you don't have to walk around the room with laser-light vision gawking at every single-looking person there, wondering if he or she is The One. Instead, just be your charming self — with everyone — and see what happens.
What is more seductive than watching your future BF (or GF) reading to kids? Not much! If you don't volunteer already, now's a great time to start. Not necessarily to meet your soulmate, but for your ~soul~ overall. A friend of mine met her husband at a reading-to-kids event and she said she almost didn't go (she was exhausted from work, etc.)!
Another example: I spent years volunteering at a boys' prison with people from my church. I already had a boyfriend at the time, so I did it purely for the volunteering aspect, though another couple met while doing so. You never know! I know, you may be thinking you have no time to volunteer. But chances are your town or city has monthly events where they need helpers at a local food bank or to feed homeless people. Again, do what your soul guides you to do — and you may just meet someone else with the same interest. Experts do say it's good to have things in common with your partner, right?!
In L.A., it seems everyone is into yoga, and I hear endless stories of people meeting people in a class. The same with meditation — they’ll be doing breathing exercises in silence next to someone one moment and then talking nonstop at a café the next. And countless couples I know met at this church in L.A. (St. Monica's) that has tons of social events for people in their 20s and 30s. Doing something spiritual is good for your mind, body, and soul, of course. To you, being spiritual can mean taking a walk in the park or sitting under your favorite tree. And meeting someone while doing any of the aforementioned is just an added perk to something you already enjoy.
You may hear how activity dates make for the best dates, but they also make for the best solo dates. Of course, make sure you choose activities you really want to do. Once in L.A., a friend asked me to go watch all the March Madness basketball games with her at various bars. She wasn't a basketball fan in the least, so I asked why the sudden interest. "That's where all the guys are," she said. Bad reason. If she's not into it, what’s the point? So, choose something you're genuinely into and the rest (i.e., meeting someone) will follow. You can take a rock-climbing class, a cooking one, a dance one — the options are endless.
As you can see, all of the above entail that one key thing: Leaving your house! Of course, the rest is up to luck, timing, and maybe even fate. But you won't know until you try!