Finding a date in real time is almost like a pleasant pastime in 2016. With apps like Tinder, Bumble, and OkCupid, singles have started relying heavily on swiping and typing to make their love connections. It’s as if we’ve all forgotten what it looks like to date in the real world.
Dating apps can be addictive. Swiping and scrolling through potential matches is more like a game than a legitimate true love search. How many matches can I get? How many first dates can I schedule? How many likes or Super Likes will I have today? There’s nothing wrong with dating apps. They’re a lot of fun, and they’re great for helping people get back into the dating game and out of their comfort zone, but sometimes too much of a good thing is overkill. If you think you might be headed towards the Dating App Trap, embrace Appless April, the movement to delete all of your dating apps and put yourself on a 30-day detox to meet new people in the real world.
Here are some tips and tricks to help you get out of the Dating App Trap!
1.Leave Your House
Yes, it’s really that simple. Put on some stylish clothes, and actually walk out the front door. In order to date in the real world, you have to actually go into the real world. Challenge a few close friends to ditch their dating apps too, and go to a new bar, restaurant, or event in town. I’m not a big fan of outdoorsy activities, so I’m not saying you have to get active and start hiking. Just be open to exploring your city and trying new things. Meeting real people and making real connections is inevitable if you just get out and explore your city. Check out Meetup.com to find some interesting events taking place in your city. This is a great resource for finding fun people.
2. Put Your Phone Down
Don’t text your friends, scroll through Instagram, or make another Snapchat. If you actually take the time to leave the house and brave the real world, don’t waste time looking at your phone. If you’re staring at the sidewalk, you’re never going to see the cute guy in line at Starbucks, or the hot chic at the Trader Joe’s. It’s hard to approach someone glued to their phone, so put it down and start flashing a smile and batting your eyelashes every now and then.
3. Be Confident (not cocky)
Stand tall and carry yourself with confidence. Walk into a room like you own it, but follow it up with a smile and some eye contact. Uncross your arms and leave that #RBF at the door. Leave your judgments about others there too.
Be open and engaging and start conversations with strangers, whether you find them attractive or not, just so you get used to talking to people you don’t know. The more you do it, the easier it gets. You get what you give, so if you go out with an open, friendly attitude, you’re going to attract people who are open and friendly too.
4. Master the art of eye contact
If you see someone you like, try holding eye contact a second longer than it feels comfortable for you, and you’ll make more genuine connections. If you’re trying to entice someone to come over to you, here are a few standard guidelines: 1-2 seconds indicates normal social interaction, 2-3 indicates attraction, and 4-5 is called “eye f**king,” and, as the crude name suggests, it clearly indicates sexual attraction.
4. Engage in Intelligent, Two-Sided Conversations
The world of dating apps has created a society where social interaction can be reduced to “Hey. You’re hot.” At the end of the day, everyone wants (and deserves) more than that. If you want to have meaningful conversations, remember that most people love to talk about themselves. When you’re chatting with a potential date, steer the discussion towards something of substance. You can open with current topics about movies, events, or even the weather, but try to ask questions about the other person and really listen to their answers. Look in their eyes and pay attention. Show that you genuinely care and are interested in making a connection.
5. Be Open, But Picky
I know that sounds like a contradictory statement, but what I mean is work the room, engage in conversations, flash a smile and move on. You don’t need to hang out all night with the first person you meet at the bar or the first person who asks for your number. In other words, don’t settle for the first potential suitor. Unlike an app, saying “yes” to everyone who is interested won’t boost your confidence—it will only make you miss out on your chance with the cute guy who might be even more compatible for you just across the bar. Your time is precious, so give your energy and time to people who really deserve it.
It’s time to consider the possibility of striving for more than a make out session and a hot date. While dating apps can be a great resource for helping you get out of the house and date with more confidence, they also make it really easy to go on a string of first dates and never experience a meaningful connection. There’s nothing wrong with that if it’s all you’re looking for right now, but if your goal is to have a relationship with someone special, it might be worth it to try meeting them the old fashioned way.
Appless April is just for 30 days, and it’s worth a try if you haven’t taken a dating app detox in awhile. Don’t worry-- they will all still be there (along with ten new ones probably) come May 1st. Give it a shot, and let us know who you meet. You never know what’s waiting for you when you stop swiping and typing and you start living in the real world.
For about App-Less April check out all the articles from our friends at Bustle.com! Click here
Founder of Bare Organic Mixers, Natalie is a 30 year old, single entrepreneur who is simultaneously building a brand, writing a book, and still trying to make quality time to date quality men. Her blog titled, “The Business & Love” will follow her dating adventures one cocktail at a time as she begins to put love first and business second.