Sure, online dating works for some people. I have friends who met through an app and have just moved in together, so there’s definitely proof out there that technology isn’t just for hookups and can result in real, lasting relationships.
But remember the days before Bumble, Tinder or Hinge? The days where people met in real life and had to actually strike up a conversation?
While apps a great for bringing people together (especially introverts), nothing beats that story of eyes meeting across a crowded room.
Organic dating worked for thousands of years before the Internet was invented, so if it can work for them, it can still work now.
If you’re the type of person who hates texting, online dating can be really, really annoying. Trying to keep up a conversation with someone you’ve never met feels like hard work. Sometimes, I struggle to text back my real friends who I’m actually invested in.
Then there’s the pressure to be funny. I’m an extrovert. In real life I’m outgoing and social, and I have no problem chatting away to strangers. Put a phone in my hand and I’m boring as hell. I use a phone to make arrangements and that’s it.
Some people are the opposite, they’re incredibly whitty via text but incredibly shy in real life. So sometimes apps just can’t convey what a person is really like. There’s a huge disconnect.
If you meet a guy in a bar, at least you get a sense of his personality, the way he carries himself, his height and his general demeanor. You know whether there’s chemistry between you from the get go.
So where do you go to meet quality guys IRL? Here’s how to meet guys without online dating:
The majority of men tend to like sports and fitness, particularly the more alpha types. While some men do like yoga, you’re probably going to want to skip the yoga and pilates if you want to increase your chances of meeting men. Look for group classes where there’ll be an equal mix of men and women.
Try something like climbing, boxing, Barry’s Boot Camp, Crossfit, kickboxing, rowing, running club or martial arts. The great thing about meeting guys at a fitness class is you’re not under the influence of alcohol (so you can actually remember each other’s names) and people tend to let their guard down a bit more.
Sports games are a great way to meet wholesome family guys, whether it’s watching NFL in your nearest sports bar on a Sunday or heading to a game at the stadium. There’s a certain camaraderie that comes with watching sports, with people singing, sharing pitchers of beer and high-fiveing each other every time somebody scores.
Yep they might be laser focused on the game but there’s always half time to chat to that group of cute guys.
If you support the same team then that’s a great way to open the conversation, or you can console your crush after his team loses. From personal experience, I’ve found sports games are the #1 way to meet guys or make new friends.
In neighborhood bars
Bars get a bad rap. “You’ll never find a quality boyfriend in a bar” people often say. And yes to a certain extent, bars tend to attract people who are just out to get drunk, party and have a good time.
But it also depends on where you go. Local neighborhood bars are a lot more chill and better for meeting people than say, a boujis nightclub.
You might meet a guy who lives round the corner and has just popped in for a quiet drink. Sitting at the bar is always your best bet, since you can easily chat to the bartender and the person sitting next to you.
After work happy hours
Instead of heading home straight after work, why not say yes to that Happy Hour invite? Happy Hours are full of professional men who have just clocked off work and want to let their hair down. It’s early in the evening, people are in good spirits and they’re not so drunk that they’re slurring their words. It’s more likely you’ll find a high-quality man at 5pm than at 11pm after 10 pints.
Friends’ house parties
The great thing about house parties is that the invitees are your friend’s friends, so you mix in the same circles.
You’re not in a bar, you’re in a house, so the setting is a little more intimate and you can get your friend to introduce you to that cute guy in the corner. If you hit it off with a guy at a house party, you have a much greater chance of seeing him again because you have people in common.
Dog parks & dog-friendly bars
Have a furry companion? Dog parks are a great place to meet men, although you might want to check for a ring on that finger because they might be walking a dog that they share with a giflriend/spouse. Awks.
Still, lots of single guys have doggos these days and it’s an easy way to strike up a conversation as they play with each other in the park. Don’t have a dog? Borrow one or start pet sitting on Rover.
If you have a dog-friendly bar in your neighborhood, bring fido along – it’ll be a great conversation starter.
The main issue with meeting someone traveling is that it usually winds up being just a holiday fling or you end up in a long distance relationship. Still, many people have met traveling and made it work.
Traveling solo is a great way to meet people since you don’t have friends to fall back on. You could meet someone at the airport bar, by the hotel pool or on a group tour. When you’re traveling solo you’re forced to get out of your comfort zone and talk to strangers from different walks of life.
Networking events and conferences
Networking events are perfect for meeting men since the crowd is already somewhat curated. You know the guys are professionals in your industry, so you already have something in common. It’s also way less weird to approach someone at an event like this, since you’re doing it in the name of “networking”. Likewise, conferences are also brilliant for meeting potential suitors. Yes your days might be filled with meetings and seminars but you can let your hair down and chat at the cocktail parties afterwards.
Courses and education
Perhaps you’re too old to head back to university but you could always sign up for a part-time course of summer intensive. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to learn Spanish or you fancy taking up acting….whatever you feeling like studying, classes provide an opportunity to socialize and meet men. After the class is over, suggest getting a drink with the group so you can get to know the person you have your eye on.
Most of all, be present
My top tip for meeting guys organically is to get your head out of your phone and be in the present. Look around you and talk to people. Even if you’re not attracted to the person you’re talking to, they might introduce you to their friends or invite you somewhere new.
Keep expanding your social circles and it will increase your chances of meeting the one. It’s OK to talk to strangers and the more you do it, the more you will hone your skills. So next time you’re tempted to skip that invite in favor of a Netflix binge, put the remote down and get out there!