Back when there were dinosaurs and shit, people thought online dating was weird and exclusively the domain of computer nerds. How times have changed. Now, in this age of tech that we live in, if someone says they’re dating, some of the first questions to pop up are “Which apps are you using?” “Do you message people first?” and “How selectively do you swipe?” Now, if you’re dating OFFLINE, people are shocked and a bit taken aback by your bravery and optimism and hoping you can find someone out there… in the wilderness of the real frickin’ world.
As a serial Tinderella, I’ve always valued online dating for its efficiency. And I’m not alone – one in five relationships in the UK now starts online. It’s the norm for me too. But after going on loads of Tinder dates, I got used to the routine a bit too much and experienced dating burnout – Find out more about that HERE. So, I took a different approach when I visited Berlin this Christmas. I started hanging out at Meetups just to make friends with people. And yeah, I ended up hooking up with a couple of them. But I found it was actually nice this way round too and not as hard as we think. Then, Zach, one of my subscribers wanted to find out about where we can find people offline so hey presto, here’s this article!
Things to keep in mind when approaching people offline
First things first. Approaching people offline may seem unnatural and scary. But don’t worry; it can totally be done. Here are some key things to remember before you head out:
1. Go places just to meet people.
You will have absolutely no chemistry with 90% of people you meet in real life. That is a truth. Chemistry is uncontrollable but your mindset it totally under your control. If you go into a place solely searching for ‘The One’, you will probably be disappointed. If you head in there to meet people, make some new friends and learn shit, then hey, you’ll be fine. And if there’s chemistry, great! If not, also OK. Friends are valuable within themselves.
2. Body language is powerful.
Body language is the new grammar – it makes or breaks your first impression. Thomas Edwards, founder of The Professional Wingman advocates SOLD: Smiling, Open body language, Leaning and Direction. So be friendly, keep open postures, lean in when they talk to show interest and point your body towards theirs. In her TED Talk, Amy Cuddy explains how ‘power posing’ or standing in positions of power can boost confidence and chances of success – maybe try a five minute Hakka before heading out (kidding)! Another great tip for body language is to smile at 20 new people a day – trust me, it will brighten your day as well as get you more accustomed to positive body language.
3. Eye contact is key
Try looking at someone for two to three seconds then smile and look away. Then look back. If they’re looking back, that’s a great sign! If they’re smiling, even better. Congratulations, they probably like you too. Eye contact has been proven to create feelings of arousal in potential partners, so use with caution. If you’re hesitant to try this, practice making eye contact when talking to a group of friends (in a non-sexual way…)
4. Dress well regularly
Because you never know who you could find. Make sure that beard is trimmed (men) and those eyebrows are on fleek (ladies). Now may be the time to expand your casual wardrobe beyond tracksuits.
5. Don’t be afraid of rejection
What’s the worst anyone can say to you? No. That’s fine. Accept it and move on. Practice interacting with people by saying ‘hi’ to five new people a day – it’s friendly and will show you that people appreciate interaction. If someone thinks you’re creepy, analyse how you approached them or consider that maybe they’re not ready to be approached offline.
6. Be confident within your own skin.
You’ll be in a better place to date when you’re truly comfortable with being you and being alone. When you have a strong sense of identity, accept your flaws and are proud of your strengths and quirks. Know yourself and don’t try and be someone else to please others.
7. Divide your life up
Don’t take the plunge and suddenly dedicate twenty-four hours a day to finding your soulmate! It will burn you out. Try using the 50-30-20 rule on your free time; so spend 50% of it doing things you love, 30% of it trying out new things and 20% of it going to singles events or actively trying to meet potential partners.
8. Say yes more
Get used to getting out of your comfort zone and do things you wouldn’t otherwise do. Obviously don’t go jumping off cliffs…. But be open to new experiences.
Where can you find people offline?
So the big question. Where are all the people? We live in a world of about 7.6 billion people but are increasingly disconnected. However, I believe that where there’s a will, there’s a way – so if you do some of these things with the intention of meeting people and yeah, perhaps scoring a date, it will happen.
1. Expand your social circle
You only know so many people. If you want to meet someone IRL, you’ll have to meet a bunch of people. This is where your friends come in handy… If you’re feeling bold, you can ask them to set you up (and tease them that it’s a test of how well they know you) OR you can just make sure you don’t miss any birthday/housewarming/ work party/ wedding party/ their dog’s engagement. You’ll hopefully have fun regardless of whether or not you meet someone.
2. Do more stuff alone
OK so going with friends is fine. But there are HUGE and underrated benefits of being brave and going solo. Being alone WILL NOT make you look weird; it will in fact do two things: 1. It will make you seem more approachable. People will be less intimidated than if you have a bunch of friends around you, so it will actually be easier for them to talk to you. 2. It will push you out of your comfort zone and you’ll kind of have to talk to people – use your fear and make it push you to do this. Make Meetup and Facebook events your BFFs.
3. Places single people hang out
Contrary to popular opinion, not all single people spend all their evenings at bars… Try creative, interest-based places that people with kids wouldn’t have time to hang out in (just saying). E.g. coffee shops, bookstores, galleries etc. Practice being present whilst offline in these places and not just glued to your phone screen…
4. Singles’ events
Yes, GO! Once you’ve tackled your demons and put yourself in the room, you will know that it’s not THAT scary. A quick Google of ‘Singles events near me’ will come up with a gold mine of results. And if it’s still too much to handle, use some of these conversation starters to break the ice once you’re there.
5. When doing things you’re interested in
Actively pursuing your interests will not only create a more fulfilling environment for you, but you’re more likely to meet people with similar interests as you. Don’t just go to singles parties and places you think the opposite sex will chill out – look out for yourself too! Take a class, pursue a sport, start playing an instrument or be creative in any other way you see fit. Yes, it takes up time, but if you want to meet people, expand your social circle and get dates…. then you’ll have to invest time.
We are not alone. Yes, we may be becoming increasingly detached as a society due to technology, but we’re not in an episode of Black Mirror… yet(!) Remember, the world is inhabited by 7.6 billion people. Interact and be friendly, because you never know who you could meet in your next trip out the door.
What do you think? If you have any more ideas of where or how to meet people or get dates offline, let me know :).