In a world of Tinder and Grindr, dating in 2018 without using apps like these almost seems impossible.
But with so many daters struggling with online fatigue — and the routine of downloading and deleting apps from time to time — some experts say we are moving in a direction that’s focused less on texting and more on meeting face-to-face.
Online dating expert Julie Spira says if you’re dealing with the fatigue, it’s perfectly fine to disconnect.
“Allow yourself some time to unplug if you feel burned out with the swiping process, take a break, but be finite about it. Allow yourself one week and then come back refreshed. Remember, there are always new people becoming single.”
She says part of the reason dating apps are so popular, is because the stigma around them is gone. The majority of single people know apps aren’t just about hookups, and the idea of meeting a stranger from the Internet for a date is completely normal.
“More apps are created daily and there’s an abundance of opportunities to meet and find a date in record speed,” she continues.
WATCH: How to navigate the dating scene
But there are also downsides that come with this.
“Many singles are unable to commit or are juggling too many people at once. Having such an abundance of choices means you might end up becoming addicted to the process,” she says.
“Even if you meet the perfect person for you, you might want to keep playing the field.”
Spira suggests dating two to three people at a time, until you decide who you want to be exclusive with.
“The best part of online dating is when you click, and both of you decide to retire your profiles at the same time. Take a risk and focus on one person. It’s worth it when it comes to love.”
But getting rid of your app addiction is hard and meeting people elsewhere seems even harder. But Spira says it is possible. Here are five ways to meet people without using dating apps.
University alumni groups
If you’re still thinking about all those missed connections from your university or college days, it’s not too late to see what people are up to.
“Bonding over campus life after you’ve long graduated is a way to bring people together,” Spira says. “Join the local college alumni groups and attend events as a way to mingle and reminisce. Make sure you attend a high school reunion or join the Facebook page from your hometown and get ready to flirt.”
Use social media sites
And although dating apps will continue to be popular in 2018, they are not the only online app designed for dating.
Sites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are great ways not only to reconnect with people from your past but scope out new dating potentials. And although most social media feeds are filtered, they generally have a better reflection on a person’s interests, hobbies and thoughts.
Spira says in 2013, she even created a website to document love stories on Facebook.
“So many singles were meeting and flirting on Facebook. Many of these couples had silent crushes and when they saw a relationship status was changed to single, they struck up a conversation. Others found long-lost loves through social media.”
“Donating your time for a cause will help you meet someone with similar values and can create shared experiences. Whether it’s feeding the homeless in a soup kitchen or teen mentoring,” she says.
And although you shouldn’t volunteer somewhere for the sake of getting a date (you’re better off on apps), it will also help you broaden your network of friends.
Get out of the house
“Staying home and feeling sorry for yourself won’t fill your date card,” she says.
Spira suggests looking at local events happening in the city, current exhibits at galleries or museums, concerts or any other event where you and a friend can socialize with other people.
“Go by yourself or bring a friend, but do things that you love and remember to smile when you see someone who captures your eye.”
Join a singles club
“Many towns have singles events and parties. A simple Google search will reveal group hikes, holiday parties and events where you’re guaranteed that everyone who attends is single,” she says.
Make a point of swapping numbers or social media handles with someone interesting enough to be a friend and take it from there. And even if you are just friends, a member of one of these events is likely to have other single friends he or she can introduce you to.
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