Do you remember a pre-smartphone world? One where you looked ahead rather than down at your screen? These gadgets have taken over our lives in almost every conceivable way. With a simple swipe of your finger, you can organize your to-do list, browse recipes, play a game and even look for your soulmate (or at least a casual fling).
The problem is that the world of disposable online dating is making it difficult to pin down a real and sustainable relationship. It’s hard to give one person your full attention when thousands of “perfect” singletons await you at the click of a couple of buttons. Even on real-life dates our phones represent a tempting distraction from the person across the table! Why listen to a boring anecdote when you can scroll through Twitter updates or hunt down another potential match?
There has to be a better way to search out Mr. or Mrs. Right! Give your swiping finger a well-deserved break and check out these five ways to avoid online dating and meet people in the offline world.
TALK WITH STRANGERS
*Gulp.* Actually go up to random people and TALK to them? For some reason, we think nothing of throwing out comments to anyone and everyone we come across on Facebook and Twitter, but talking to an unknown on the bus fills us with every type of irrational fear. The truth is that if you really want to immerse yourself in offline dating, you’re going to have to get this down to a fine art. Like most things in life, it will get less scary the more you do it. Take a deep breath and say hello to the people around you! You might be surprised at how much this brightens your contact with the world both romantically and otherwise. Still not convinced? This might change your mind.
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JOIN THE GYM
What better way to bond than over a killer spin class or tough session on the treadmill? The brilliant thing about the gym is it combines doing something really positive for your mind and body with the chance to meet a whole host of potential matches. Exercise is one of the best mental boosts you can give yourself and you can learn about some of the key benefits here and here. The most important rule of gym romance: leave your phone in your locker. Turn off the tunes and the constant life updates to really connect with your workout and those around you.
Taking up a worldly experience such as volunteering in a foreign country presents a wonderful opportunity for personal experience and growth. It provides a chance to see the world, help people in need and expand your horizons. Volunteering with a group places you with like-minded people with whom your life will become intertwined for weeks or months. It’s no wonder then that romance springs from these intense situations. Go exotic enough and you’re likely to be without a phone signal and those online dating apps. You’ll have no choice but to interact in real-time.
BE A SOCIAL BUTTERFLY
Learning to say yes to a whole range of activities is a key part of dating in the real world. From a pure numbers perspective, putting yourself into lots of situations with lots of people is likely to lead to real-life matches. So say yes to that gig you aren’t sure about or those work drinks you would normally dodge! Not only does being a social butterfly mean you could stumble across that special someone, it also actively improves your social skills. Try and schedule in at least three activities per week for maximum impact.
Would you risk it all for love? It seems that those who are willing to take a leap of faith or put themselves out there are more likely gain success in finding their perfect match. So date someone outside your comfort zone, say yes to an unusual dating activity or just take the chance to pass your number to that guy you see every day on your commute. Yes, taking risks, being unpredictable with a pinch of spontaneity, leaves you open to getting hurt or disappointed but it also leaves you open to so much positive energy that we should all up our risk factor. You might uncover a whole new side of yourself.
Turn off the Wi-Fi and online dating apps, see what happens!
Holly Barry is a Digital PR Executive working in Hertfordshire, England. A Journalism graduate from Brunel University in West London, Holly has embarked on many adventures within the fashion industry. Her most recent endeavor was spent at Condé Nast’s Brides magazine and previous to that, her time was spent at Cosmopolitan and Four Marketing, the UK’s leading brand agency.