If you’re trying to find that special someone in life, going online might seem like the best way to go. You can access hundreds of profiles of local singles all from the comfort of your own home. But swiping through all those profiles might be doing more harm than good. The more energy and time you put into online dating apps like Tinder, Bumble, and OkCupid, the less energy you’ll put into meeting people out in the real world.
Before we talk about some alternatives to online dating, let’s look at the facts.
Dating apps are a relatively recent phenomenon, but Millennials don’t seem to be benefiting from this new technology, at least when it comes to dating. Studies show Millennials are much less likely to be in a committed relationship or married than generations passed.
Okay, but what about dating and having sex? Not so fast. Studies show Millennials have fewer sexual partners than their parents or grandparents. Online dating might be to blame. A recent survey shows that around 33% of online daters aren’t meeting up in the real world. You can’t start a relationship or have sex if you can’t meet up with the person in real life.
So, why aren’t online daters taking the next step, especially when so many dating apps rank potential partners based on their proximity?
It could be related to catfishing, or the phenomenon of people misrepresenting themselves online, which seems to happen to most online daters. Or maybe Millennials are always chasing the hottest person in their feed, even if that person is inundated with more messages than a more average-looking person. As one Millennial online dater reports, “My eyes always go straight to the guy with the biggest arms.”
Or perhaps, Millennials and online daters simply have too many options, from going out with their friends to watching Netflix, meeting up in-person with a stranger might fall to the bottom of the priority list. Another Millennial online dater said, “I’m usually just too busy to actually meet up with most of these people.”
What’s worse, looking at so many potential mates without meeting up with them can lead to low self-esteem and even depression. If you’re tired of looking at profiles of people instead of meeting people in the real world, try these alternatives instead.
Technology isn’t your enemy. You can use websites like MeetUp.com and Facebook to find groups and events in your neighborhood that appeal to your interests and hobbies. Try not to get too caught up in instant messaging or what your friends are posting online. Focus on in-person get-togethers that you think you might actually enjoy, regardless of whether or not you meet the love of your life. Keep your expectations low and go with the flow.
Sometimes it’s better to take your mind off dating all together by focusing on another activity like volunteering for a local charity or organization. You and some of your peers can rally together to support a cause you believe in. Taking the pressure off dating might help you relax as you broaden your social circle and explore new opportunities.
If you’re a workaholic, you don’t have to put your ambitions on hold as you look for a life partner. Look for networking events and business associations in your area that can help you further your career. 85% of jobs are filled through networking, so instead of sending out resumes, try shaking hands instead. With so many ambitious, talented people around, you never know when a business connection may lead to a bit of romance.
If you’re interested in a topic or field of study, you can always take a class at a local college or learning center. Try to get to class early and don’t be afraid to speak up and introduce yourself to some of your classmates. Look for more hand-on classes that give you a chance to work the room and meet other people.
Wherever you are, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Being curious about anything and everything can help you forge all kinds of connections. If you meet someone, keep asking questions instead of letting the conversation fall away. You can ask questions at your local farmer’s market, an art gallery, or even at a local café as you soak in your surroundings. Staying silent won’t get you very far, so always look for ways to make conversation.
Online dating might be more trouble than its worth, especially if you could use a break from technology. Use these tips to change up your approach to dating.