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’re no longer relying on dating apps for dates, you may wonder what a first date is like. I know, it's hard to imagine — a first date not from a dating app. But if you're doing Bustle's App-less April, a challenge to delete your dating apps and focus on meeting people IRL for a month, and you're curious about how dating is different, let me explain. While you may know a little less about someone you're going out with that you met at a party, like where they graduated from or what their job title is (though chances are you can get that info if you have their last name or a mutual friend, or found them on Facebook), you're actually at a huge advantage going into the date — you've already physically interacted with them.
"There's no better way to gauge attraction and chemistry than to be physically present with someone," Thomas Edwards, founder of The Professional Wingman, tells Bustle. "You get to experience their vibe right away, which is something no online dating platform can deliver." Hear ye, hear ye! On that note, below are a few things I learned from a first date after I deleted my dating apps, and you'll probably be able to relate.
Yep, without having all the background info on someone that you could get from a dating app profile or initial conversations, you'll ~have to~ ask them questions, from general ones to more specific ones. Personally, I've toggled between believing you should not Google someone before a date, even if you have the ability to, and why you ~should~ Google your date in advance. Chances are, this will make you and your date have more authentic conversations and you can let them tell you all about their job or why they don't want kids versus reading about it in their profile or how they answered an OkCupid question, though you're trying to pretend you don't know (which can be a challenge).
Yes, while you're off dating apps and dating again, you won't be as dismissive about something your date says. For instance, you can read something you don't like in their dating bio and swipe left as a result — even though you liked everything else they wrote! However, when they tell you this same thing IRL, they may explain why they feel the way they feel about it, which makes you less dismissive and more open.
I don't know about you, but when you're online dating and/or using dating apps, it can get confusing — FAST. You have to keep track of 101 simultaneous conversations, not to mention agreeing to coffee with Match A on Thursday, drinks with Match B on Friday, and maybe a brunch with Match C on Sunday. You want to be efficient, right? However, when you date people from IRL interactions, I think you tend to date less people at once; meaning, fewer first dates within the same week or two.
So, when you're detoxing from dating apps and on your non-online date, you can focus more. You won't have the 101 other people in your head, and you won't have to work extra carefully to keep track of the conversation with your current date. Instead, you'll have more room in the dating part of your brain to remember what he or she says in person instead of in an app chat.
If you're on a dating app date and it's not going well, you may sneak peeks at your Tinder or Bumble messages when your date's in the bathroom. Or, you'll excuse yourself "to go to the bathroom," aka look at your apps. But now, by detoxing from dating apps, you'll focus less on your phone. Yes, you may have some dating app withdrawal happening, but you will be OK, trust me! Again, you'll have more time to focus on the date at hand, as well as more time to go out and do activities IRL to meet even more potential dates if you're not feeling the current one.
I think a lot of people can relate to this one: Falling for a person through a dating app — they sound way too good to be true, and it turns out they were. You messaged so much leading up to your first date that now a lot of the excitement is gone. And/or, you may not know what to talk about in person (you covered so many topics in messaging convos!). And/or, you finally meet in person for a date and instantly know there is no chemistry — but what about all those too-good-to-be-true chats?!
A non-app date is a perfect way to see the person for who they are without preconceived notions based on their dating profile.
When detoxing from dating apps, it means you already met your date IRL (whether it's at that aforementioned party or somewhere else), so you already know there is some chemistry going in. And we all know people sometimes sell themselves online one way, but are ~totally different~ in person. A non-app date is a perfect way to see the person for who they are without preconceived notions based on their dating profile.
As you can see, I think there's plenty of benefits to dating — and first dates — when you're not using dating apps. The only way to believe me, however, is to go on some non-app dates for yourself. Who knows, you may become so hooked.