While there’s no question that dating apps are an amazing way to connect people, they’re far from perfect. And they’ve left a new generation—especially millennials—unprepared to date face to face. From social awkwardness to unrealistic expectations, millennials are struggling to decipher what kind of human connection is worth pursuing.
The next time you’re out and about, notice the number of people on their phones. I was recently out at a nightclub and was shocked by the number of people swiping through their dating apps instead of making an effort to speak to one of the thousands of real-life human beings right in front of them.
If your life is a constant check-in to see who is messaging you, winking at you, viewing your profile, and so on, you’re probably missing out on someone amazing, someone real, and if you’re lucky, someone who exists within a few miles of you.
So how can you find a lasting relationship without the help of dating apps? I’m so glad you asked.
1. As you’re moving through your daily routine, stay present.
This is as easy as getting off your phone, making eye contact, smiling, or striking up casual conversation. Pay attention! Remind yourself that this is how people met for centuries before you. Whether it’s someone standing behind you in line at a coffee shop or the person next to you in your yoga class, stay present. You never know who you’ll meet.
2. Smile at people.
While I’m certainly not of the opinion that women need to smile more, if you’re hoping to make a meaningful connection, keep in mind that a smile is a welcoming way to make that happen. A smile is your best asset to show off your positivity, confidence, and kindness. Anyone who isn’t attracted to that probably isn’t in your future.
3. Talk to strangers.
While you should never put yourself in a situation that makes you feel uncomfortable, don’t be afraid to strike up conversations in a safe, friendly environment. Taking initiative is attractive, and people will respond to you. Remember that talking with your eyes is very powerful, too, so don’t forget to make strong eye contact.
4. Join a club or group you’re passionate about.
Love running? Great. Join a running group. If your thing is cooking, sign up for regular cooking classes. When you put yourself in situations like this, you’ll not only have fun doing your favorite activities, but people will notice and be attracted to your passion. Besides, if you do end up making a strong connection, you’ll know you have a shared interest right off the bat.
5. Meet a friend of a friend.
Oftentimes friends just need to be reminded that you’re single—so many times they just need that prompting to be able to think of the perfect person they hadn’t considered the last time you asked. Not everyone is a natural matchmaker, so help them out by suggesting family friends or colleagues. Since they’ve likely never considered these people in the context of dating, it may take a bit more to pull it out of them. I have seen this method work repeatedly.
The moral of the story? Close those dating apps and get back to the basics. You may just meet someone amazing.