Getting Away From The Apps and Meeting People in “Real Life”

A customer once described her online dating experiences. ‘Nope, that’s it, I’m sorry, I can’t do this anymore,’ she said. She’d just returned home from another failed “app” date. I indicated she might have known this date wasn’t going to be much fun because he had a profile picture that wasn’t actually him but that of a celebrity.

That’s the problem with dating apps: you see some great photos and pretend to yourself that they can genuinely have a conversation that isn’t about them. If this profile had approached this lady in the typical manner, weeks of texting would not have been wasted. There would have been a quick dialogue and then it would have been over. I see this every day in practice, frustration at meeting the next “loser” and the feeling that it will never work.

Apps revolutionised dating — and, let’s be honest, not always for the better — but it appears the world is starting to fall out of love with them and the reason is, they don’t get results. According to the research firm Fullscreen, 61% of 18 to 34-year-olds would prefer be single than use dating apps to find dates. There are apparent hazards that women, in particular, face that may be at the root of some of this, and I personally hear many cases of vulnerable women being exploited. It appears to be mostly a medium for manipulative individuals to test their theories on others. As a therapist, I have heard some terrible stories concerning meeting people on apps, including sexual assault and date rape. The most common, probably not surprising, is “ghosting” after a period of “love-bombing” that lead to sex. We may think it was better “back in the day,” it probably wasn’t, but the opportunity to do so is now more readily available.

The problem is that meeting someone in person nowadays sounds like something from a bygone era. The young, in particular, may find it difficult to imagine. Covid limits didn’t help much (though are being lifted in most places at the time of writing). In a social atmosphere, socialising away from your assigned table is difficult and every time you stand up, you must put on a mask. Under those conditions, your chances of meeting someone are slim. There are steps you may take to increase your chances of finding an app-free romance by “living your online profile”.

Live it

You can spend time writing about how much you enjoy specific activities such as biking or hiking—or you can actually do them. Many people state their interests on their dating profiles but spend little time doing them. Taking time away from the screen and engaging in these activities may help you connect with like-minded people in real life.

Comfort Zone Anxiety

Many people use apps as a method of avoiding getting out of what is comfortable for them. Performing the same actions with the same people will produce identical consequences. “If you’re stuck in a rut and see the same friends every day, venture out. Volunteer, attend a charity event, or enrol in a new fitness class,” advises Rori Sassoon, co-founder of Platinum Poire, a New York-based premium dating business and author of The Art of the Date. “You’ll expand both your horizons and your circle.”

Be Brave

I’m talking about the person who begins a conversation while waiting in line at Starbucks or weighing the produce at the supermarket. “Put yourself out there wherever you find yourself,” says Wyatt Fisher, PsyD, a marriage counsellor in Boulder, Colorado. “Start a conversation. You never know when one of them will lead to another.” This has to come with obvious caution but may be a way of gaining confidence. Small talk has always been an opener for deeper conversation.

Friends/ Social Circle

According to a ReportLinker poll of 500 singles and 550 married people, 58% of respondents who did not date online met their partners through friends. According to Jeannie Assimos, Chief of Advice at eHarmony, this is because you not only get a good sense of the individual, but also receive the stamp of approval from the people you care about. You can host a party in which you invite one new person from outside your typical social circle. If you make it a recurring event, you’ll gain the added benefit of catching up with your friends on a regular basis. A third party can serve as an excellent objective filter for determining who would be a good fit for us. You may come across some unexpected possibilities that you would not have chosen for yourself but who may actually be exactly what you need.

Delete The Apps

The first step is to delete the apps that keep you addicted. It will, however, work only if you take the initiative to step away from their influence and examine the world around you. It is critical to broaden your “real-world” social circle or to extend one to someone with whom you do not often socialise. If you do not broaden your social network, you will miss out on meeting new individuals. Attend meetings with the intention of meeting new people, not of finding a prospective significant partner. Even if nothing occurs, you never know who these new friends’ wider networks may expose you to. To remain offline, keep the following in mind: catfishing, ghosting, and lying. Keep in mind that the reason you left online dating was because it wasn’t benefitting you. Either you didn’t get dates or you had bad experiences and didn’t meet quality individuals.

Even if you choose the “real-life” route, you will need to exert effort regardless of where you seek to meet people. The majority of individuals choose online dating because it is more convenient and time-efficient than going to a number of groups with the hope of meeting one fascinating person who is single, attractive to you, and attracted to you. As with meeting someone on an app, you’ll need to maintain focus and intention, be communicative, establish boundaries, and be open to risk rejection while attempting to create love connections in real life.

If you discover that you despise dating both offline and online, this may be a clue that it’s time to take a step back and think about your dating concerns. You may need to address those deeper issues before finding the perfect partner to share your life with. In some ways, seeing a potential love partner in person is preferable to meeting someone online since you can get a true sense of their appearance, demeanour, and energy. Additionally, you can be a more typical version of yourself if you meet someone in real life while participating in an activity rather than meeting a complete stranger for coffee.

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Dr. Nicholas Jenner

Dr. Nicholas Jenner is a counseling psychotherapist in online private practice working with individuals, couples and groups, dealing with codependency issues, severe depression, bipolar, personality disorders, anxiety, PTSD, eating disorders and other mental health issues. He has been practicing online for many years and recognized early that online therapy was a convenient method for people to meet their therapist. Working outside the box, he goes that extra mile to make sure clients have access to help between sessions, something that is greatly appreciated. He also gives part of his spare time up to mentor psychology students in a university setting.

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