The Top Ways Singles Meet People When They're Not Online Dating

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Ashley Batz/Bustle

When you're single and looking for love, going on a dating app or site can seem like the best option. With so many people online dating today, the possibilities are seemingly endless. But if online dating isn't your thing, you're not alone, because singles are meeting dates in plenty of other ways today.

According to a survey conducted by technology company Reportlinker, 54% of people don't think very of highly of dating apps and sites. So although online dating can offer you a larger dating pool to choose from, if it's not working for you, don't think it's the only option out there.

To get insight on how people are meeting today, ReportLinker conducted a survey of over 500 singles and over 550 people who are married or in relationships. According to the survey, less than 20 percent of singles say they were registered on dating apps and sites, which is surprisingly low considering that studies have found a third of new marriages in the U.S. start online and more and more people turn to online dating to meet their significant others each year.

Even though online dating may feel like a popular way to meet people, it's certainly not the only way. Here's how singles are meeting people today if they're not online dating, according to the ReportLinker survey.

1. Through Friends: 60%

"Meeting through friends is the age-old way to meet people," Jeannie Assimos, eharmony’s chief of advice, tells Bustle. If your friend has a cute sibling or coworker, ask them to set you up. "Not only can you get the 411 on who this person is and what they’re like, you already have your friend’s stamp of approval," she says.

Meeting through friends was the number one way singles meet people. Nearly 60% who don't use apps say they meet people through friends and 63% of younger millennials (18 to 24-years-old) say that's also their go-to way. When they're not swiping for matches, 75% of Tinder users also say they like meeting people through friends.

2. At Bars Or Other Public Areas: 37%

"The old days aren’t as old as you might think," Assimos says. "Meeting people at bars is extremely common, even by today’s standards." In fact, meeting at a bar or other public area is the second most popular way to find love. About 37% of people surveyed say they try to meet people when they're out in a public area. According to Assimos, the bar is the one place where most of the people there are guaranteed to be looking to socialize, even if their first intention is not to meet someone. "Think of bars as the sea where those 'plenty of fish' we’re always referencing are," she says.

3. At Work: 27%

You do spend most of your day with the people you work with. So it's no wonder why 27% of singles say try to find love at their place of work. Meeting someone at work can be a little tricky. "But since you are there most of the day don’t be afraid to get to know someone you find attractive in a professional way first," national certified counselor, Dr. Sophia Reed Ph.D., tells Bustle. They key here is to building a friendship first and then see how things progress from there. If you and your coworkers like going to happy hours after work, it's a great opportunity to socialize and make more personal connections.

4. At An Event: 27%

About 27% of singles also say they look for love at events related to sports, religion, or hobbies. Men were more likely to say this than women. "Instead of going to generic bars, actually create a list of places your dream partner would spend time," Evin Rose Lipman, dating and love life coach, tells Bustle. For instance, if you want someone who's a fan of a particular sports team, go to a game. Ask yourself, where does your ideal person hang out on weeknights and weekends? What are their hobbies? Are they active? If so, what do they like to do? Once you have an idea of what your ideal partner is like, find places and events where they're likely to be.

5. Through Family: 25%

About a quarter of people used their family members to introduce them to someone new. According to Lipman, turning to people closest to you is a great idea. "I encourage clients to come up with a list of everyone they know whose judgement they trust, like family or friends in healthy relationships," she says. "They're likely to have quality friends, networks in their industries, or other social circles you may not be tapped into yet." If you have a great relationship with your family, you should know they only want the very best for you. So don't be afraid to ask. They may know someone who would make a great match for you.

6. None Of The Above: 28%

Apparently there's a lot more to it than what the survey found because 28% say they find love through other ways. The reality is, single people are everywhere. They're at the grocery store, the coffee shop, the gym, or walking their dog down the street.

"For those of us who are 'too busy' to make time to actively go out to meet people, we need only to open our eyes to the possibility of connecting with people wherever we already spend time," Lipman says. She suggests leaving your house with the mindset of being open, approachable and ready to connect. That means, keeping your face up and intentionally making eye contact with those around you. "How many of us look away when we see someone we think is cute?" Lipman says. "Get in physical proximity to anyone you're interested in, and initiate a 'hello.'" If you make this a practice, it will become a lot less scary and awkward.

7. Through Dating Services And Events: 3%

Only 3% of people use dating agencies to find love, two percent attend speed dating events, and another two percent enlist help from a dating coach. Not many people go these routes, but Karenna Alexander, matchmaker and dating coach, tells Bustle, they should. "Singles-oriented events like mixers and speed dating, are some real life ways to meet someone," she says. "Everyone is single and looking." While you might get a "few bad apples" who aren't single, it's still worth trying out. If events aren't your style, you can try contacting matchmakers in your area and ask to be put in their free database. "You never know when they'll have a client who will want someone who matches your criteria," she says.

Meeting through friends wasn't just the most common among singles, it was the most common way people already married or in relationships met their partners too, followed by work, bars, events, and dating apps. While there are so many great ways to meet people today, dating apps and sites included, meeting through friends seems like it's still probably one of the best options.

This post was originally published on January 31, 2018. It was updated on June 5, 2019.

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