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When I made the switch from carefree student to serious professional, I realized that it’s not always easy to meet singles in my area, and I had to get creative if I wanted to find a date.
Meeting a new person and falling in love can look so simple in blockbuster films. One moment, you’re happily going along and living your life, and the next a god-like hero falls out of the sky and changes your universe. The stars align, circumstances conveniently bring you two together, and in no time you’re gazing fearlessly into the sunset in the arms of your leading lady or leading man.
Unfortunately, real life isn’t as epic as a Marvel movie. You can’t expect single men and women to assemble in front of you at a moment’s notice. In real life, you usually have to make a little more effort to meet singles in your area. Here are some quick tips to help you move the plot along and meet the right person.
Online dating is an effective way to fill your date calendar and meet a potential match within a certain mile radius. Whether you’re looking for casual fun or a serious commitment, online dating apps and sites can be a great place to mix things up with a like-minded person. In The Knot’s annual survey, 22% of brides said they had met their significant others online.
You don’t need any prior experience to join a dating site or app. You don’t even need a credit card. Most dating platforms support free registration to make it easy for newcomers to get started. Check out the following local dating sites to get into the action and meet a lot of high-quality people.
Relationships: Friends, Dates, and Relationships
Match System: Browse by zip, age, appearance, more
Our Experts Say: “Match has facilitated the most dates and relationships of any dating site, and its large audience and high success rate make it our top review...” Full Review »
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|User Base||Gender Ratio||Popularity (Visits/Mo.)||
|39.7 Million*||Try Match FREE|
Since 1995, Match has basically become the uncontested king of the online dating world. Not only has this dating site been around longer than any other dating site or app, it also has a long list of success stories to back its features.
Over the years, Match has perfected its match algorithm and developed a time-tested system for identifying personal compatibility. The dating site (and its companion app) has specialized in introducing relationship-minded singles who are willing to invest in the dating process.
It’s free to join Match and browse detailed profiles, and free members can send unlimited messages to the local singles in their Top Picks list.
Relationships: Serious Relationships
Match System: Search, Receive Partner Suggestions
Our Experts Say: “EliteSingles is a leading dating site just for busy, single professionals. More than 80% of members have earned a college degree, and most are looking for a serious commitment...” Full Review »
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|User Base||Gender Ratio||Popularity (Visits/Mo.)||
|2 Million*||Browse Profiles Free|
Elite Singles is considered the best dating site for high-caliber singles seeking a potential partner who is educated, interesting, and attractive. Over 85% of Elite Singles members have earned at least a college degree, and over 90% are looking for a relationship on the dating site.
Over 381,000 new members join Elite Singles every month and discover matches on their level. The dating site guides beginners and seasoned daters through the process, and its free features can help local singles explore the dating pool with no pressure to swipe or chat right away.
Relationships: Fun Dates, Serious Relationships
Match System: Search and get match recommendations
Our Experts Say: “Zoosk is integrated with social media sites, like Facebook and Google+, so it's very popular with singles on the go...” Full Review »
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|User Base||Gender Ratio||Popularity (Visits/Mo.)||
|28.9 Million*||Start Zoosk for FREE|
If you want to make a quick online connection, you should create a dating profile and browse Zoosk in your free time. This dating site boasts one of the largest and chattiest dating networks around.
More than 40 million singles have joined Zoosk so far, and Zoosk members send over 3 million messages to one another on an average day.
The Zoosk Carousel feature can help daters quickly sort through potential matches and express interest in a local single person. Zoosk also offers SmartPick match recommendations based on specific date criteria.
A dating website isn’t the only way to meet local singles. We all have access to built-in dating networks thanks to our friends, family members, and coworkers. It’d be a shame not to use your social circle when pursuing potential love interests. You can easily ask around to see if any of your contacts knows someone who’s single and could be a good match.
A lot of people enjoy playing matchmaker for their friends and can recommend dates who share similar tastes, goals, and lifestyles.
If you’re serious about making a move, you can ask your mutual contact to introduce you at a party or give you the person’s phone number so you can introduce yourself.
Meeting a single man or woman through an acquaintance can help you build trust and make a deep connection based on common interests. In a survey of 2,373 people, 39% of adults under 34 said they met their significant others through mutual friends, while an additional 22% said they met in a social setting.
The online dating world may be convenient and tempting, but many singles say they prefer dating the old-fashioned way. According to a Tylt poll, 83.8% of singles would rather find love in real life than online. Perhaps these singles feel more secure in a time-tested dating environment rather than pioneering a new way of meeting people.
Many singles head to the bar or the club on the weekends hoping to find some face-to-face flirtation in the local dating scene. These steamy settings provide a perfect backdrop for romance, especially before 10 p.m. when they’re not very crowded. Neighborhood bars offer a great social spot to just hang out and see where the night leads. You can light up the dance floor with someone in your arms, or you can linger by the bar and have a low-key conversation.
There are many different types of bars in the U.S., so you can choose the brewery, winery, arcade bar, or speakeasy that appeals to your tastes. You don’t have to go to the most crowded bar out there — just choose a place where you feel comfortable.
When you’re hanging out at a bar, you can’t be sure that everyone there is single and looking to meet someone. However, at a singles event, you have that peace of mind and can approach new people with confidence. Singles events offer fun activities and entertainment to get people talking and enjoying themselves.
People attend singles events with the goal of building friendships and relationships, so it’s often easy to jump into the conversation. Just say hello! A single person will enjoy a lot of opportunities to break the ice and find the perfect match in fun-loving crowds at single events.
“It was pretty much like any other night at the bar,” said a Glamour writer named Ryan Dodge. “With one crucial difference — everyone there was single and looking to mingle.”
You can search Meetup by the keyword “singles” to find opportunities to mix and mingle with available people in your part of town.
If you want to score a date, an adult sports league can be a great resource for you. Its sporting matches and practices can get you into the action alongside dozens of physically fit and outgoing folks. You don’t have to be a pro or anything to get involved and find a team.
With teams stretching from San Francisco to Las Vegas to Miami, Clubwaka lists a variety of sports leagues that can catch your interest. Whether you enjoy basketball, kickball, or dodgeball, you can have fun, get exercise, and meet some great people all at the same time.
According to survey data, people between 35 and 44 years old are more likely to volunteer for a local cause. Volunteers also tend to be well-educated and financially stable. In a lot of cases. volunteers are at a point where they’re satisfied with their lives, so they start looking for ways to give back to others.
By volunteering on a regular basis, singles can invest their energy to something positive and build deep bonds with people in the community. The volunteer work can also be a nice change of pace for singles who are stuck in a rut or tired of swiping through prospective dates on an app.
A volunteer event can involve a lot of work, but that sense of fulfillment you get at the end of the day is absolutely priceless. Whether you’re picking up litter or caring for shelter animals, you can lend a cause that matters to you a helping hand while meeting kind, generous folks who have similar values and objectives.
VolunteerMatch lists opportunities to volunteer with local nonprofits. You can sort through this list by category, among which are advocacy, arts and culture, education, technology, animals, health, and seniors.
Finally, if you’re flunking out in the dating scene, maybe it’s time to go back to school. Seriously, an adult class can be a fantastic way to meet people who share your interests and goals. It doesn’t have to be a full-on degree. You can find a foreign language course or a writers workshop with a little clever searching.
Groupon suggests attending cooking classes, mixology classes, or art classes to mix things up in the social scene. Not only is it fun to learn something new, but you also have a classroom of date prospects to keep you laughing along the way. Keep an eye out for a good study buddy, and you’ll be on your way to a grade-A love life.
Approaching someone in the real world can be nerve-wracking, but just put on your best smile and say hello. You don’t have to make an elaborate overture, or lay on a cheesy line — that can come off as creepy or desperate.
There is no one way to pick up a date in person because your approach should reflect your surroundings and the person you’re interested in. Maybe you can ask for a recommendation at a coffee shop, bookstore, or another daytime spot, or maybe you can offer to buy a round of drinks at a bar. It’s all about starting a casual conversation and seeing if that other person is open to something more.
Online dating tactics are different from offline dating tactics because you can generally get away with being more direct online. You can usually establish that you’re looking for the same things by reading through the profile, so you can make a good impression by pointing out something you have in common. The best first messages say something specific and original. You don’t want to sound like you copy and paste the cheesy line to everyone.
A good opening line can be as simple as: “Which do you like better, hiking or biking?” or “I just need to put it out there that I will kill all the spiders for you.” These messages say something more than just “Hi, how are you,” and that originality ups the odds that they’ll get a response.
GIFs actually also have a high response rate on Tinder. The dating app has reported that first messages that include GIFs are 30% more likely to get a response. It’s a fun and easy way to get the ball rolling, but just be sure to have some good follow-up questions to keep the conversation from dragging.
You have to build confidence in yourself to feel good while talking to someone new. It’s all about making eye contact, appearing relaxed, and keeping your energy up. The more you practice your approaches and gain experience in the dating scene, the better you’ll get at it.
The fear of rejection can hold singles back at times, but it’s an unavoidable part of the dating process. Singles have to be resilient through rejection and keep focusing what they can do to improve and turn things around. Remember, every “no” you receive helps you learn how to get a “yes” next time.
It can be hard to look a person in the eye and say, “Hey, I like you,” but if you don’t say what’s in your heart, that special someone may never know you’re interested, and you may never get what you want.
Asking someone out is a pretty straightforward process. It doesn’t matter if you’re doing this in person or over a text message, you should be clear about what you want (i.e. to go out on a date) and have a plan for what you want to do (dinner, movie, coffee, museum, etc.). That way, your date just has to say yes.
“Don’t overthink it or make it harder than it has to be,” said Dr. Kristie Overstreet, a clinical sexologist and psychotherapist. “Keep it simple.”
Whether you’re asking out a friend, an online pen pal, or a single woman at the bar, don’t jump the gun and make your move too soon. You should try to establish common interests and get the chemistry going before asking anyone out. That way, you can make a plan that appeals to both of you.
A lot of dating experts recommend keeping things casual on a first date (especially if you met online) by meeting at a bar or coffee shop. These places make it easy to stay a long time or duck out quickly, depending on how much you like your date. It’s a familiar and non-intimidating environment.
The biggest upside of a coffee date is that it’s flexible to your needs. You can take your time and just sit and talk for awhile. Many singles see this as the go-to first date locale because it’s quick and easy, but it’s also impersonal and not very memorable.
As a Hello Giggles article said, “A coffee date may be great to get to know each other better, but you could be missing out on an opportunity to really wow them if they’d much rather go to a county fair or a book signing.”
If you want to really make a good impression and have fun, you can go outside the box and plan a date at a theme park, a bowling alley, a festival, or other unique attraction. An activity-based date can give couples something to enjoy together, and that can help them relax and be themselves.
Instead of treating the date like an interview, why not treat it like an adventure? You don’t have to spend a fortune to make it fun. You can go on a long walk in the park or visit a farmers market in town.
You can make your first date as elaborate or as simple as you want, but the important part is that it reflect your personality and interests.
Fictional characters may be able to rely on coincidence, plot twists, and the occasional world-ending conflict to bring them together, but real singles don’t have that luxury. You can’t sit around waiting for a superhero to rescue you from singledom. You have to get out there and create your own marvelous happily ever afters.
We hope this list of fast ways to meet local singles has given you a few good ideas as you start your adventure. Any of these dating strategies can be a good starting point for a relationship, and we recommend trying multiple sites, apps, meetups, and matchmakers until you find something that works for you. As long as you keep at it and don’t give up, you’ll find your way in the end.
“I choose to run toward my problems, and not away from them,” Thor says to his friends. “Because that’s what heroes do.”
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