How to Date "Old-School" if You're Sick Of Swiping

Kelly E.

Perhaps it's time to get social IRL
Meeting IRL? But how?Alan Quirvan on Unsplash

Tired of online dating? With the scammers, the married guys claiming to be single, and… the unwelcome photos, I'm not surprised. I’m sure there are plenty of great guys and girls online, but sifting through to find them is exhausting. As we open our doors again perhaps it's time to ditch the apps and give old-school dating a try?

Let's date like they did in the 90’s!

Here’s how to do it the retro way:

Meet in real life (well, obviously!)

There weren’t dating apps in the 90’s. Most people didn’t even have a phone! You had two choices — go out and meet people or stay home and watch Beavis and Butthead. Or even better, go out and watch Beavis and Butthead with someone cute.

In the 90’s people generally went out more. Pre-Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger, if you wanted to socialize you were forced to phone people up — one at a time — or meet in person.

Going out more equaled more opportunities to meet new people. It felt normal (but still scary!) to chat to the cute stranger at a party, join in with the group of guys at the beach playing frisbee, or invite the random girl at the club to go for a drink.

The bonuses of face-to-face meeting

A major plus of meeting someone in person is that you can immediately weed out weirdos, without seeing any risky photos. Okay, there was a fair amount of streaking at big events, but there were no scammy soldiers on duty in Africa, or guys showing you photos of a hot ship’s captain and insisting it’s really them.

“I swear, beautiful! That’s me in the photo.” Nope.

There weren't even filters to hide behind. (The closest was meeting a girl then taking her home to find out she was wearing 60 layers of makeup, clip-in hair extensions, and a padded “Wonderbra”.)

Openers that worked then and still work now

Go out with the aim of talking to at least one stranger — not in a creepy way, just say “the supermarket’s busy today, isn’t it!” or some other small-talkish comment and see what happens.

Ask for advice, give a compliment, offer a kindness, or ask for help. For example:

  • “Why don’t you go first in the queue, you’ve only got one thing.”
  • “Can I ask where you got that ice-cream from? It looks good.”
  • “Hey, if your heading to the beach, my mates and I are having a barbecue and you’re totally welcome to join in if you like.”
  • “Would you mind if I asked your opinion on something? Do these look okay or would you buy the other ones?”

If you’re shy, use the power of the group

In the 90’s, social media meant watching T.V. in a group. People sought out group situations in real life rather than online. There’s power in numbers and this is handy in dating, especially if you lack confidence.

When you’re in a group, it’s easy to meet and start chatting with others. It takes all the pressure off meeting one-on-one. You can talk to a few people and see who you click with and who seems to enjoy talking to you.

Of course, there are down-sides to this, like hanging out with the friend who always ends up making out with the cutey while you pretend to be busy and not look like the awkward loser — that’s depressing.

Hanging out in groups though, generally increases your chances of finding a potential date. It’s a numbers game!

Ways your mates can help with dates

Go out with a group of mates to a public place.

  • Play pool.
  • Swim at a popular beach.
  • Go to a rock climbing gym.
  • Sing karaoke.
  • Go dancing.
  • Head to a concert.

You could also ask your mates to introduce you to people. (Don’t be too proud to ask for help!) Is there a work party you can attend as their plus one? Do they play a sport you can watch and attend the after-match function? Is anyone running a games night?

If you’re shy, get your friends to help start conversations with others. The hardest part is breaking the ice — the most confident person in your group can do that so you don’t have to.

Whatever you “thing” is, see if your friends can set you up with a group event. Even if you only meet new friends, you never know what that could lead too — perhaps your new mate has a cute cousin?

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For your uplifting local news. Bringing positivity back to the media. Viral online and magazine writer, bylines in Apple News Spotlight, Mamamia, Natural Parent, Thought Catalog and more.


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