The Top Places You're Most Likely To Have An IRL Meet-Cute

Be open to the possibilities.

by Kristine Fellizar
Originally Published: 
If you're wondering how to meet people without online dating, here are 10 ways to have a real-life m...
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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.

“There’s no reason why you can’t be putting it out there in every way you can,” Alyssa Dineen, author of The Art of Online Dating and founder of Style My Profile, tells Bustle. “Almost all of my clients are looking offline even if they have a dating profile online. I always encourage my clients to be open to finding love IRL as well.”

When you’re looking for love offline, Dineen says feeling good about yourself is key. “My number one tip for anyone looking to find love is to wear what makes you feel the best and that energy will project out to the people around you,” she says. “Even if you’re ‘just running to the corner deli,’ don’t just throw on your old stained sweatshirt. I’m not saying you have to dress up, but dress so you feel good. You never know if that’s when you might run into someone!”

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.


Through Friends

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“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.


At Bars

“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.” The bar is the one place where most of the people there are looking to socialize, even if their main intention isn’t necessarily to meet someone. “Think of bars as the sea where those “plenty of fish” we’re always referencing are,” she says.


At Work

It’s true, most of us spend the majority of our waking hours with our coworkers (even if that time is spent virtually these days.) Meeting someone at work can be a little tricky, thought. “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 seeing 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.


At An Event

It’s not a bad idea to look for love at places you usually go, like events related to sports, religion, or hobbies. “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.


Through Family

Many people ask their family members to introduce them to someone new. According to Lipman, turning to the people closest to you is a great idea. “I encourage clients to come up with a list of everyone they know whose judgment 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.” Your loved ones obviously want the best for you, so don't be afraid to ask.


Walking Their Dog Down The Street

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Though it might not always seem like it, 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, like Camille Virginia, author of The Offline Dating Method did, it will become a lot less scary and awkward over time.


Through Dating Services And Events

If you’ve never considered consulting a matchmaker, it may be worth it. 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 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 jam, 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.


Meet Up Groups

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If you don’t want to use an app to date, try using one to put yourself out there so you can meet people offline. “A lot of my clients join Meet Up groups to meet new people,” Dineen says. “Even if you don’t meet a partner that way, you meet new people who then may introduce you to someone.”



If you’re really into a certain cause, volunteering is a great way to meet people. That way, you know there’s something you already have in common. “It's important for singles to remember that they must leave their house to meet someone IRL,” Brooke Fitzpatrick, matchmaker and dating coach, tells Bustle. “Check out some of the non-profits in your area to see when they have volunteer opportunities that align with your schedule.”


At The Grocery Store

When you’re looking for love offline, it’s important to be open to the possibilities. According to Fitzpatrick, there’s a good chance of interacting with other singles just by doing regular daily tasks like going to the grocery store. “The key is paying attention to the people that you interact with and turning those thankless interactions into quality connections,” she says.


Alyssa Dineen, author of The Art of Online Dating and founder of Style My Profile

Dr. Sophia Reed Ph.D., national certified counselor

Evin Rose Lipman, dating and love life coach

Karenna Alexander, matchmaker and dating coach

Brooke Fitzpatrick, matchmaker and dating coach

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