How to Meet People Without Dating Apps

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "How to Not Die Alone" by Logan Ury. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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Do you want to give offline dating a try? What are the best places for meeting people offline?

Dating apps aren’t the only way to meet people—although they are probably the easiest. Meeting people offline is more challenging, but it’s also more rewarding because in-person gatherings normally revolve around interests, so you’re more likely to meet people you have more in common with.

With this in mind, here’s how to meet people without dating apps.

How to Meet People Offline

To meet people offline, Ury recommends two strategies. First, go to events. Optimize your chances of meeting someone great by attending events that facilitate connections and that you’ll likely enjoy: You’ll have a good time even if you don’t meet any potential partners. Consider local meetups, volunteering, or athletic leagues. 

You should also connect with people at the event. Start by going alone, since people are more comfortable talking to people who are by themselves than big groups. Introduce yourself to at least one person; if you’re shy, practice first by introducing yourself to people you’re not attracted to. Be friendly during your conversation—and if you find someone you like, ask for their contact information so that you can follow up later.

How to Meet People Without Dating Apps

Ury’s event strategy focuses on exposing yourself to more people by attending more formal events: Meetups, volunteering, and athletic leagues all involve signing up for something. But if you’re afraid to go to a formal event alone, relationship experts also suggest making small changes to your routine, like signing up for a different workout class at your regular gym. Making small changes feels easy because you’re only veering slightly outside of your comfort zone, but these changes still allow you ample opportunities to meet and practice talking to new people.

Once you meet someone who intrigues you—whether romantically or just as a friend—how exactly should you approach them? In The Fine Art of Small Talk, Debra Fine recommends the following strategies to converse with strangers: Make eye contact with someone who’s also alone. Smile at them—if they smile back, walk up and introduce yourself. Learn their name and break the ice with anything you can think of; the key is that you show genuine interest in their answer. Ask open-ended questions to keep the conversation going. And at the end, regardless of whether they provide their contact information, express gratitude for conversing with them: This leaves the other person feeling good and makes you seem confident.  

Ury’s second strategy is to go on blind dates set up by people you know. To do this successfully, first ask your connections for help, describe the type of person you’re looking for, and send them some good photos of you. Then, actually go on the date—and always provide feedback. They’ll appreciate your gratitude if it was a great date. Otherwise, telling them what you liked and what you didn’t will help them provide you with better options next time or allow them to gently point out if you’re being unreasonable.

(Shortform note: Other relationship experts have additional strategies for getting set up and still maintaining a good friendship. First, your friends might be reluctant to set you up because they’re worried about the outcome, so when asking for introductions, specify that you won’t blame your friends if the relationship goes south. Second, if you’re nervous about a one-on-one date, ask to go on a double date, which can help relieve some of the initial awkwardness. Third, while you should always provide feedback, don’t pester your friends for your date’s opinion of you, which may result in an awkward situation.) 

How to Meet People Without Dating Apps

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Here's what you'll find in our full How to Not Die Alone summary:

  • A science-backed approach for finding the true love you’ve always wanted
  • How your patterns may be sabotaging your quest for true love
  • How to effectively navigate the twists and turns of a relationship

Darya Sinusoid

Darya’s love for reading started with fantasy novels (The LOTR trilogy is still her all-time-favorite). Growing up, however, she found herself transitioning to non-fiction, psychological, and self-help books. She has a degree in Psychology and a deep passion for the subject. She likes reading research-informed books that distill the workings of the human brain/mind/consciousness and thinking of ways to apply the insights to her own life. Some of her favorites include Thinking, Fast and Slow, How We Decide, and The Wisdom of the Enneagram.

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