According to a recent study, more than 35% of relationships now start online. But, what do you do if you’ve tried online dating and it hasn’t worked out? Or, maybe you want to try your hand at your very own meet-cute in the "real world." No matter the reason, rest assured that plenty – and I mean millions and millions – of relationships still start offline. And it happens every day.
This article is all about meeting IRL, and no -- none of these suggestions include a bar.
The local book shop or library can be a great place to meet a likeminded guy/gal. Consider spending a Saturday afternoon sipping on a coffee and browsing the shelves for a new read at a busy bookstore or central library. You’re sure to encounter many other singletons and will have the advantage of knowing they enjoy reading as well. Also telling, you'll be able to get a pulse on their interests by way of noting which section they frequent and/or the subject matter they've selected. Making a casual comment on a topic you clearly have in common is a fantastic way to start a conversation.
- Grocery store
Everyone has to eat and everyone shops for groceries. While it might seem a little mundane, the reality is that the grocery store is the perfect place to bump into someone new. There’s no pressure, it’s easy to start a conversation ("Which pasta brand would you recommend?"), and it’s even easier to jump out of a conversation if you’re not feeling a spark. Weekday evenings and especially Sunday evenings are prime time for singles to get their groceries.
- Dog Park
There’s something about a man with a dog that just melts hearts, right? This goes for women too. If a man is a dog lover, seeing you in the park with your K-9 companion creates prime opportunity for conversation -- not to mention a foundation of commonality. Take your pup (or a friend's dog on loan) and head over to the local dog park on a busy afternoon. Feeling nervous about starting a conversation? Ask about his/her dog. “What’s your dog’s name?” or “What breed is your dog?” is sure to get the conversation flowing. Then, once you’re more comfortable, you can transition the topic to one of your liking (such as, that coffee shop down the street..."I've heard their pour-over is one of the best in the city. Want to check it out?).
Volunteering is a home-run idea for several reasons. First, you will meet lots of new people (not just potential romantic interests). Second, you’re doing something for your community, and third, you're going to feel fantastic about participating. Consider volunteering at a clothing drive, charity event or even sign-up for a walkathon. You’ll be surrounded by people with good hearts who have come together for a common cause. Plus, once again, you have something easy and pressure-free to talk about.
- Public Transit
Those of you who take public transit probably spend hours, if not tens of hours, every single week getting from Point A to Point B. Instead of catching a nap or trying to pass an hour by staring into your phone, I encourage you to take a seat next to someone you find interesting and just start there. Even if you only smile or say “hello” to one new person every time you get on the train/bus, imagine how many new people you will meet in a week! Heck, your next destination may very well be to the first date. Of course, I know what you are thinking, you don’t want weird people chatting with you – so be casual, considerate and funny (if you can). Just saying "hi" is often all it takes.
- Home Improvement Store
Unlike the other tips, this suggestion is specifically for our single female readers. If you’ve ever spent time in a home improvement store, it likely doesn’t surprise you that the customer base is made up of mainly men. So, why not kill two birds with one stone by taking on a DIY project and meeting a new guy?
Consider enrolling in a weekend workshop (many home improvement stores regularly run them) or finally tackling that project you’ve been eyeing for months. While at the store, ask a few other store patrons for their opinions and/or advice and see where the conversation takes you. Even if you don’t wind up with a date, you’ll have learned a new skill and will feel seriously accomplished. One last tip -- think of all the items on your “to buy” list and see which ones can be purchased at a home improvement store – duct tape, cleaning supplies, coat hooks, etc. And again, you may not “pick up” but you will gain more confidence in “just having a normal conversation with someone you find attractive.” Practice, practice and have fun with it!
To your authenticity,
Christine Hart, Relationship Mentor + Couples Coach
For more information on Christine, click here.
P.S. For more on dating IRL, check out: Dating In Real Life