With so many online dating websites and apps, trying to find a date can start to feel a little overwhelming, especially if you’re hot off a divorce. Meeting someone in real life (IRL) can be refreshing and much more meaningful. The best thing you can do is try to get out as much as possible. Spending all your free time at home, hiding behind your computer or smartphone isn’t the best way to get over a divorce. And don’t hide behind your screen when you’re out in public, either. People are much less likely to come up and start a conversation with you if you’re in your own world on your phone.
Why You Should Find a Date IRL
There seems to be an endless opportunity for dates in the online world, which is precisely the problem. The fact that there are so many options means people think they can sift through different apps until they find an ideal human they’ve conjured up in their minds. But dating apps encourage you to sit behind a screen rather than getting out there to meet new people. The problem with dating apps is that people are always thinking about the potential that the next person they come across could be better than the one they’re talking to right now. It’s often a never-ending cycle of feeling unsatisfied because of the possibility that there’s something better out there.
Getting out into the real world, you’re forced to be confident, be friendly and make meaningful connections with real people who aren’t at home scrolling through their phones waiting for the next best thing. Always make sure to smile and start a conversation with someone, even if it’s just to say hi. These small interactions will get you ready for more meaningful conversations that come your way.
If you’re ready to get back into the dating game after divorce, here are 10 of the best places to score a date IRL.
1. A Friend’s Get Together/Party
Meeting someone through a friend is one of the most popular ways to find a date. In fact, ReportLinker found that 58% of single Americans meet potential dates through friends. They’ve already got your friend’s stamp of approval, and you may be more comfortable knowing they aren’t a total stranger. When your friends throw a get-together or party, try to make it out to as many as you can and talk to as many people as you can. The more people you meet and the more you get yourself out there, the better chance you have to find a date.
2. The Gym
Do you spend lots of time at the gym? It may be a good place to find your next date. I know multiple couples who are now living together who first met at their gym. If you’re a regular at your local gym, you start to see familiar faces that spend their time there too. And you already have something in common you can chat about (fitness!). When you’re working out, your endorphins and adrenaline are already high, so it’s a good time to put yourself out there.
3. A Coffee Shop
Do you work out of office? Or enjoy spending Saturday mornings at your neighborhood coffee shop? There are likely other singles who are doing the same. Many people keep to themselves at coffee shops, but that doesn’t mean they’re totally closed off to a conversation. Test the waters. You can usually tell within the first few seconds whether someone is up for chatting or not. Start a conversation around the book they’re reading or the drink they ordered. You never know who you could meet!
4. The Dog Park
If you have a dog, take them to a dog park rather than just walking around the streets in your neighborhood. It’s so easy to strike up a conversation with another dog owner, and the fact that you’re both animal lovers can make your connection even stronger. Don’t keep to yourself at the dog park, put yourself out there and meet people. Your next date could be waiting for you.
5. Your Local Bar
It may seem cliché, but it’s still entirely possible to find a date at a bar. Just make sure you don’t get obnoxiously intoxicated before trying to find one. A drink can give you some liquid courage but stick to one or two at most if you’re trying to meet a woman. A bar with live music is always a good bet, and the band that’s playing could be the perfect starting point for a conversation.
6. A Bookstore
A bookstore is a great place to meet someone new IRL. A lot of people love browsing and spend hours on end at bookstores, and you know anyone who’s there values literature and learning, which are excellent values to hold. It’s a great way to form a connection with another book lover who you share common ground with.
If you have the time and money, travel as much as you can. There’s something about getting out of your own city that makes you more confident and not as scared of rejection. Obviously, the only problem with this is that you’ll have to go back home eventually. But if you’re looking to get back in the dating game with a few dates, traveling and meeting new people can be the best way to do it! Who knows, you might even happen to meet someone who’s on vacation from your hometown.
8. Join Extra-Curricular Activities
Do you like to cook? Play soccer? Sketch or paint? Join an extra-curricular activity you’ll enjoy doing on a weekly basis. It will be filled with others who have the same interest, which makes it easy to get to know people. It’s easier for some people to meet and talk to others in a group setting, so if that sounds like you, joining an extra-curricular might be your best bet!
9. Take a Class
Is there a topic you’ve always wanted to learn about? Or something you’ve always wanted to learn how to do? Take a class. You’ll get to meet a lot of like-minded people, and who knows, you could end up hitting it off with someone. You already know you have something in common and the class will give you tons of talking points to work with.
10. Don’t Be Afraid to Get Set Up
Ask your friends and family members if they have anyone in their circle that would be a good match for you. Don’t be scared to get set up on a date; it could end up being the best date you’ve ever been on. Your friends know you best and likely only hang out with people you would like, so trust them if they say they want to set you up with someone. They only have your best interests in mind, and especially since they know you just went through a divorce, they’ll only set you up with the best of the best.
Are you ready to find a date IRL? Try out some of these places and see how easy it can be when you put yourself out there!