In a world where we are oversaturated with choices, dating has fallen to the same fault. With Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, OkCupid, eHarmony, and more, we have a dating app for almost every dynamic. Hinge has marketed themselves as “the relationship app,” where Bumble puts women in the driver’s seat. Tinder has changed much since I did my senior thesis on dating online vs. meeting face-to-face and how that impacts initial body language, but now, it’s virtually known as the hook up site.
Though I have had both good and bad dates from various dating apps (I met my last long-term relationship on Tinder, but have also met short-term flings on the same app), I’ve also learned that we’ve been taught to depend on our phones for finding a solid match in the dating world.
Dating apps overall are about convenience—meet true love, your next friends with benefits, or another hook up all from the comfort of your own couch. Little effort, but big results—or so they claim. In a culture where we’re taught that instant gratification can be found in almost every area of our lives, what would happen if you decided to ditch the apps and find meaningful connections the good, old-fashioned way?
In short: yes, it’s totally possible to meet someone without using apps. People have been meeting each other face-to-face, at bars, at parties, and more for years. If anything, the aim of dating apps wasn’t meant to challenge this dynamic, but to help it along. However, as the apps have changed, and as we continue to adapt, we’ve become very dependant on using this tech to find the person of our dreams.
David Bennett, a certified counselor, relationship expert, and founder of Double Trust Dating and Relationships with his twin brother (so basically the Property Brothers of love), made an interesting observation when it comes to the disconnect of meeting on apps vs. finding people face-to-face: “I have been in places where everyone looks bored and lonely, and sure enough, some of them are swiping on dating apps instead of talking to the people around them,” he says.
I know this is something I see almost everywhere I go. In order to meet someone in the present moment, you simply have to be present, physically and emotionally. Open your eyes, and pay attention. I constantly have friends who ask me about how to meet someone, but spend the entire time when they’re out sulking on their phones, or having a “leave me alone” vibe. The only way to put yourself out there takes a little bit of vulnerability. Yes, you might not talk to anyone that night, or you might shoot your shot and get rejected immediately, but without being open to that vulnerability which yes, includes failure, then you’re limiting yourself to hiding—both behind a screen and from your true desire.
“The best way to meet people organically is to be open to the present moment and the people around you,” says Bennett. “It’s very easy to retreat into your phone or hide behind a laptop, often with headphones on. Instead, put your phone away and talk to people. Be present. The more people you open up to on a regular basis, and the friendlier you are, you’ll be surprised how many more friendships and dates come from it.”
Some of the best ways to meet people organically is to do what’s natural for YOU. Going to places that already ignite your passions means you’re genuinely A) open and interested and B) going into this with a happy and excited vibe.
After speaking to Xanet Pailet, sex and intimacy educator and coach and author of the new book, “Living the Orgasmic Life,” she suggested meetup events, classes, retreats, salsa classes (heck yes!), and music festivals as just a few places to actively meet someone.
“When you meet someone organically, you can tell right away whether or not there is chemistry. Often you will feel more connected and aligned with someone who you share an experience with, even though you may have never swiped right because of their height, looks, or awkward pictures,” she says. “I’ve had many clients remark how they met someone at a class, event, music festival etc that they would have never considered dating, but the chemistry “just felt right.’”
It’s no surprise that dating apps make us more shallow, but they also close us off to those we might be inexplicably attracted to outside of looks and a quick bio. So put on your favorite outfit, pick something you know you’re going to have a blast at, and get your social butterfly on!