Updated: Oct 4
Dear Caitlin, I'm really tired of online dating. Do you have any tips for finding dates without using online dating? “Offline dating”?
That is a great question, and one that I get asked a lot. Before I talk about some of the options for offline dating, it's important to know that at the end of the day, if you don't do the inner healing work and learn how to be relational, you'll end up feeling the same way you feel about dating apps regardless of the way you meet people.
That being said, if you're burnt out by dating apps and websites, you're not alone. If you'd like to step away from the internet, here are a few other options for meeting someone, along with the pros and cons for each:
1. Do things you enjoy. Instead of focusing on when your next date will be and with whom, start focusing on how you can do things you enjoy. Doing things you enjoy is a great way to create a fulfilling life, and presents an opportunity to meet people who enjoy the same thing you do. You can make friends this way--who may know someone who would be perfect for you--or you can get to know someone you end up being interested in. If you're not sure what you're into, start trying new things and find out! If you tend to enjoy doing solo activities, push your comfort zone and see what it's like to do those things with others! Or, try new things!
The more you show up and do things you enjoy, the more access you have to people—some of whom will be single and searching. You can get to know people this way and build relationships in a natural way--no timelines or pressure.
Doing more of the things you enjoy can lead you to feel happier and more fulfilled. The better you feel, the better you show up to meet the right person. When you're living the best life you can, you stop looking for someone to make your life worth living. You make your life worth living, and then you choose someone who adds to your life, rather than choosing someone because they're better than no one.
You never know when or if the right person (or any person of interest) will show up so you have to be patient
2. Speed dating. When you go to a speed dating event, you meet people in person for a controlled amount of time; it's like a short in-person introduction.
There's a beginning and end to the dating process, rather than the neverending scroll of dating apps. A smaller pool can feel less overwhelming.
You can connect differently with people when you meet them in person. It may feel easier for you.
Most likely those in attendance live locally
There's pressure to show up to speed dating events that doesn't exist when you send an online message
Your options are limited to whoever shows up for the event, whereas on an app, your options increase each day with new members joining
3. Join a group working for a cause you believe in.
This allows you to fight for what you believe is right, and meet people with a similar belief system. Finding a partner with similar values and beliefs is certainly easier to get along with than someone with opposing views.
This can be a lot of work to keep up with
The truth is, you can meet people anywhere if you're willing to put yourself out there. But if you want to meet someone and develop a healthy, long-lasting relationship, that takes learning, healing, and growing. So often we look to external factors to change when we’re not getting the results we want (apps vs in-person), but more often than not, you need to look inward to make the necessary changes.
What have you tried for offline dating and what did you think? Let us know in the comments below!
Need advice on dating, relationships, self-worth, boundaries, break-ups, or mental health? Send your questions anonymously and Caitlin will answer in an upcoming Dear Caitlin column! Fill out the application below!