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 Bustle survey with dating app Happn of over 1,000 dating app users, 78 percent of women and 85 percent of men still want to meet people IRL. 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. Today's topic: Francesca Hogi, dating and life coach, gives tips and tricks on how to actually meet someone this weekend.
So you’ve deleted your apps for the month for Bustle's App-less April challenge? Congratulations! Now it’s time to get out and meet potential partners in the real world. Here are seven surefire tips to ensure you meet someone this very weekend.
This might sound obvious, but really — you can meet someone new this weekend. However, it’s going to force you out of your usual routine to do so. If you don’t typically meet people IRL, it’s going to be especially uncomfortable for you to follow these steps. But they do work, so I encourage you to push yourself, starting now.
Prepare to let your agenda be derailed. This weekend, if you get invited somewhere, say yes! The further outside your usual circle the better. Remember that everyone you will ever meet knows someone you don’t. That’s a goldmine of potential “someones”.
I think of putting some extra effort into your appearance as “putting a bow on it”. You look like yourself, but with a little extra something that makes you feel extra good. It could be wearing your favorite jeans, putting on mascara, or taking the extra 10 minutes to do that really cute thing with your hair.
You’ll look better because you’ll feel better and more confident. Confidence is the sexiest thing you can wear. This weekend, no matter where you go, vow to never have that “ugh, I wish I wasn’t wearing this stained t-shirt” moment.
What would you do if you wanted to be left alone? This weekend, do the opposite of that! Starting with the ultimate “don’t talk to me” move — wearing headphones. If you are in public, you have the possibility of encountering other humans, and you can never know which of those humans might be someone you would really, really like to approach you. Be approachable!
Whatever ingrained gender roles, introversion or fear of rejection that holds you back from starting a conversation with an intriguing stranger can be overcome, with practice.
“Hi” always works, but so does “Oh, I’ve never tried that (insert food item or product here). How is it?” or “Is this seat taken?” or “Nice hat.” At the very least, you’ve given someone a compliment or been a friendly or curious fellow human. 99.9 percent of the time, your attention will be welcome, even if there’s no romantic spark.
Making intentional and prolonged eye contact with a stranger feels uncomfortable because it creates an immediate sense of intimacy. Which is exactly why it’s important. Going to every event in town and meeting 100 new people this weekend won’t matter much if you’re not able to capitalize on those interactions and move them in the right direction.
Eye contact is powerful — you can use it to “invite” a stranger to walk across the room to talk to you, or to make that “hi” or preliminary conversation a lot more meaningful. This weekend (and always) pay attention to how you feel when looking someone directly in the eyes as you speak to them. Stick with it and take your discomfort as a good sign that you’re on the right track!
Last but not least, it’s crucial for you to examine your criteria for who looks “worthy” enough for you to give a chance IRL. A lifetime of rom-coms have programmed us to expect a lightning bolt at first sight. However, your life experience up until now has probably taught you that hotness or great style or anything else you can determine at a glance is not an effective indicator of who’s compatible with you.
Rather than trying to find someone you’re instantly attracted to, try instead to find someone who looks interesting. Your criteria should be “is this someone I could talk to for give minutes and it wouldn’t be terrible?” Remember a conversation is just that! Most of the time it won’t go anywhere — but when it does? It’s so worth it.
Happy dating and have a great time this weekend!
Francesca Hogi is a dating and life coach based in Brooklyn. Learn more at francescahogi.com.