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In college, meeting new people wasn’t very hard at all. I couldn’t spend five minutes on campus without someone flagging me down to join a club, attend a rally, or follow a new-age religious group. That last one wasn’t so appealing to me, but, in general, I always felt surrounded by opportunities to get involved, pursue my interests, and, incidentally, meet attractive guys in my age bracket.
Once you graduate, though, staying social and meeting date prospects isn’t as easy as stepping outside your dorm. You may have to put in a little more legwork to meet the right guy for you. We want to help by recommending 11 fun ways to meet guys in your 20s, 30s, and beyond.
If you’re looking for ways to meet a decent guy, you’ve probably already considered online dating. It’s the most popular way to meet singles nowadays, and it’s easy to join. Many top-tier dating sites and apps allow singles to join for free and use smart matching technology to find people who may interest them.
You can significantly improve your love life by signing up for one of our three favorite dating sites, which we’ve reviewed below.
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Any of these dating platforms can provide you with instant access to nice, available men looking for someone like you. With a time-tested network behind you, you can increase your odds of finding a date and make connections based on mutual interest.
What we love about online dating is that it caters to so many different audiences and niche dating styles. It doesn’t matter if you’re interested in shy guys, military guys, bisexual guys, nerdy guys, rich guys, or even European guys — the right dating site can connect you to someone who’s exactly your type.
OK, so maybe online dating isn’t your thing. Maybe you make a better impression in real life. That’s fair. But you’ll need to start adding events to your social calendar to put yourself out there and give yourself a chance to meet people.
You can search for free community events on Eventbrite and attend a festival, marathon, or bar crawl that appeals to you. Singles parties and speed dating events can be particularly exciting and effective ways to meet more single guys without going too far outside your comfort zone.
You don’t have to conduct your search for a partner alone. You can reach out to people who already know and like you and ask them if they know of someone who’d be a good match for you. Who knows? Maybe your aunt’s coworker has a son who’s single and perfect for you (this example is based on a true story).
Having people you know look through their contact list and fix you up can be an effective way of meeting new love interests. And it’s fairly common, too. In one study, 39% of respondents said they’d met their significant others through mutual friends. So if you haven’t met someone through your friend group, maybe you should let them know they’re sleeping on the job.
Certain social settings are known as dating hunting grounds. You may already be familiar with hipster bars or trendy clubs where singles go to flirt and hook up. These popular places foster connection in a fun and casual environment. The moment you step into the club, you’ll find lots of guys willing to put the moves on you and get you in a partying mood.
If you’re headed downtown for the night, make sure to bring a wingman or wingwoman to ensure you have a great time no matter what.
Weddings can provide another venue for mingling with new people and catching the interest of singles in your area. It’s easy to express your interest by asking a guy to dance or inviting him to an after-party. You can basically go anywhere with a dance floor and find romance while the music plays.
A wonderful way to meet compatible dates is by pursuing your interests and passions. So take up a hobby and look for groups dedicated to that hobby. It could be a bowling league, a book club, or a Whovian fan club. The point is to surround yourself with people who like to talk about the things you like to talk about and do the things you like to do.
Not sure where to find such a group? Try going on Meetup. This networking site has everything from walking groups and bird-watching societies to improv theater troupes and foodie groups.
This is for all you socialites out there. Why wait for someone you know to throw a party, when you can do it yourself? You can start hosting events in your apartment, house, backyard, or clubhouse to draw friends and friends of friends into your social network.
It doesn’t have to be a large, rowdy party to give you the chance to meet people. Just invite your closest pals to hang out and ask them to bring someone new. Whether you’re hosting a barbecue or a Dungeons and Dragons night, you can expand your dating opportunities by taking the reins and creating a lighthearted Meetup group or Facebook event.
Joining a cause you believe in is a great way to meet people because you’re working alongside caring, altruistic individuals who share your core values and interests. Volunteer Match is a good resource to find local opportunities to lend a hand and help a cause close to your heart. Whether you want to save the manatees, plant trees, or foster kittens, getting involved will open you up to new experiences and opportunities to connect.
Volunteerism can benefit your love life as well as the community. One of my friends was single and wanted to fill her empty heart with puppies, so she started volunteering at the pet shelter. She ended up meeting a big-hearted, dog-loving guy who started volunteering too just to be near her. Long story short, they’re married and live with four rescue dogs.
There’s a reason school was such a convenient place to meet new people — you’re in a classroom together, and you have a natural conversation starter (i.e. “Did you do the reading?” or “What did you get for this equation?”). Young 20-somethings aren’t the only ones who can take advantage of this social atmosphere. Adults can take night classes to learn a language, a dance, or another skill. Then it’s easy to make conversation with your fellow students and perhaps find someone willing to tutor you after class.
Michael Gringas met his future wife while baking a cake in a cooking class. “Seven years later, we are still cooking together,” he said. “I may be nobody’s idea of a good cook, but I’m the chef of her heart.”
Matchmaking may sound old-fashioned, but it’s actually come a long way from the days of arranged marriages. Modern matchmakers use technology and their networking resources to find ideal matches for their clients. They have the intuition to create solid matches, and some matchmakers allow women to join their database for free.
If you want to save yourself time and energy, hiring a boutique matchmaker is the way to go. “Matchmaking is more than just setting people up on dates,” said professional matchmaker Talia Goldstein of the Three Day Rule. “Our mission is to help people learn enough about themselves to be better equipped to find someone.”
Hey, you’re never going to meet someone special by lounging on your couch ordering pizza — no offense to all those charming and successful pizza delivery guys out there — so why not work on improving your health and fitness while actively looking for a compatible date? The gym is an excellent place to meet attractive guys who care about taking care of themselves.
If you sign up for a gym membership and go regularly enough, you’ll probably start to see some familiar faces and maybe those shy glances will develop into a stimulating connection over time.
Plus, gyms usually have private lessons and activities for members who want to work out in a group. Melanie met Andrew at a fencing gym, and they’ve been together for four years now. “We’ve been fencing partners throughout most of our relationship,” said Melanie, “and I’m excited to have a gym buddy who can spot me.”
Last of all, our dating experts recommend simply becoming more aware of the dating possibilities around you in your everyday life. You can meet someone anywhere and everywhere you go. It could be someone standing in line at the dry cleaners. Or someone buying a book you love at the bookstore. Keep your eyes open. That doesn’t mean approaching every cute guy on the bus. It just means being open to starting a conversation with someone and seeing where it takes you.
“The cool thing about making daytime approaches is that because they’re so short, it’s easy to fit in a few when you have the chance.” — Dr. NerdLove
Whether you enjoying hanging out at the dog park or a coffee shop, try looking up from your phone every once in a while to see if there’s anyone sitting off by themselves. Maybe they’re looking for someone to keep them company too. All it takes is a little self-confidence to get things rolling and turn that stranger into a new friend.
“If you want to meet people in the real world, go to where the single people all are,” suggested Dating Guru James Preece. “Think about all the things you do when you have a little time to fill on your own… once you look around, you’ll realize how many people are out there just waiting for you to say hello to them!”
When I was going to school, it seemed like it was raining men, but now that I’m more adult-ish, my dating life feels more like that old poem: “Guys, guys, everywhere, but not a single stud to date.” I may be paraphrasing it. Anyway, my point is that every now and then you have to go outside your normal routine to find dateworthy people in your area. But the search process can actually be more fun than work if you’re doing it right.
You can join a club, a dating site, or a community event to position yourself to meet tons of new people while having a fantastic time doing things that interest you. That’s what you call a win-win.
Our 11 tips for meeting guys online and offline have all worked for someone, so why not let them work for you? These dating strategies can help singles kick their love lives up a notch and meet guys after college. Good luck!