Ditch the Apps: Ways to Meet Potential Partners in Person
As life slowly returns to normal, you might feel inclined to resume your dating life. My relationship with apps typically follows a few patterns, where I’ll download some, make profiles, swipe for a bit, land some matches and then either one of two things happens:
- I have a skin-crawling conversation with someone who "looked interesting," which forces me to question all of humanity, accept my single status and subsequently delete all apps from my phone.
- I go on a few dates and get ghosted or there is no sign of a spark.
If this sounds familiar and you’ve had enough of how much time and effort dating apps take, it’s best to start looking up from your phone and out into the world for your next match.
Location, location, location
When you’re trying to meet potential partners in the flesh, look to places where you’re likely to encounter people with the same interests. While a crowded bar may be the quintessential place for a meet-cute, there are less intense options out there. Try mirroring the algorithm matching of dating apps in real life.
You’re big into art? Go walk around an art supply store, museum or sign up for a class. Reading or music more your style? Head to a book or music store and browse a bit. Do you like being outside? Post up at your favorite local park or outside spot and chill.
Doing the things you’re passionate about is a quick way to put you in a space with people who like the same things. Shared interests don’t have to be a cornerstone of a good relationship, but at least you have something to break the ice with.
Be observant and bold
You’ve spotted someone you’re attracted to or are interested in talking to in a public place. What’s next? The first thing you should do is make sure they would be open to having a conversation with a stranger. No one wants to be creepy or rude, so if they’ve got headphones on or are heavily immersed in an activity, leave them alone. If you’ve made repeated eye contact, they seem to welcome company and are not in a rush, then they may be fine with a conversation.
Here comes the hardest part: the approach and initial interaction. This first interaction depends on your level of comfort. If you’re bold, introduce yourself, strike up a conversation and ask them out. If you want to play it safe, maybe just slip them your number and let them know you’d be interested in getting to know them.
In any of these instances, being a realist and equipped for rejection is key. While you may be nervous, pay attention to the cues of this stranger; if they’re not reciprocating interest, stop bothering them. Not everyone you are brave enough to talk to wants to talk to you.
What if you’re shy?
If striking up a conversation with a hot stranger sounds like your worst nightmare, this is where a friend or even a self-promotional card can help. Having a friend who is willing to go up to someone for a chat takes all the stress off you and your new potential partner. Make sure your friend is ok with being a buffer between you and a potentially awkward situation and then send them on their way.
Or, if you’re serious about putting yourself out there, custom business cards are cheap to make. Put your social media handles, phone number, a cute picture, a small bio and message of interest on a card and then hand it to a stranger, no conversation required.
Rejection hurts less than you think
While it may seem wild in this day and age to put yourself up for in-person and real-time rejection, I’ve found it’s actually not so bad. You should brace for a temporarily bruised ego, but you’re not emotionally invested in the person you’ve asked out just yet, so the sting dissipates fast. This quick rejection from a stranger is far easier than getting ghosted by someone you’ve talked to for hours online.