As a professional single who suffers from serious dating-app fatigue, I’m sometimes at a loss for ways to meet my future (potential) baby daddy. Another bar? Groan.
And now that one glass of wine gives me a hangover, tequila shooting in the hopes of meeting someone feels worse than a chore. Plus, the real me indulges in chocolate-covered anything and likes to be in bed by 9:30pm, so a wild night out wouldn’t really be an accurate presentation of my truest, best self. (Wow, I sound like a blast!)
I want to meet someone whose priorities match mine, which could mean that he’s also very busy doing things that make it tough to actually meet other people—working hard, having dinners with friends, and watching documentaries on Netflix. So how in the world am I supposed to bump into this like-minded unicorn? I decided to ask around and find out.
Keep reading for a few modern, slightly unexpected—and healthy!—strategies for meeting someone new.
Join a meditation group
My best friend gets mindful once a week and has met a few prospective partners there. (She’s not the only one doing this.) There are several advantages to this approach: Unlike meeting through a dating app, you’ll know if you have chemistry before you commit to coffee, and you’ll have time to get comfortable before moving your unplanned interactions into date territory.
What’s more, this person doesn’t just say they’re into wellness; you can see their practice firsthand. Actions—or, in this case, sitting in silence—speak much louder than words.
Take a retreat
I love going on retreats because they enable me to make new friends. 95 percent of my current BFFs are married with kids, and it can feel lonely out there! While many of the retreats I’ve attended—like this one, which introduced me to an ancient healing steam bath—tend to be female-only, you can certainly find getaways geared towards both sexes. And while your sole reason for joining a trip such as this shouldn’t be to troll for dates, a new crush’s phone number would definitely be a nice souvenir to bring home.
Do some good
I can’t think of many things more adorable than a meet-cute at, say, an animal shelter. And, like meditation, this type of encounter will tell you a lot about a person. You’ll know, for example, not only that they like to spend time engaged in health-enhancing volunteer work, but also that they’re invested in the same causes as you. Time to finally sign up for that activist group you’ve been following on Instagram?
Hit the gym
Where I live in LA, *everyone* frequents the rock-climbing gym, and I know more than a few early-stage romances that first sparked there. “It’s just a huge room full of shirtless men,” my best friend tells me. But if you aren’t into dudes or prefer a different kind of workout, any kind of fitness setting will do. Just choose something that’s more community-based, like a running group or a CrossFit organization . “Everyone at my CF gym is dating each other,” my friend Allie says, which almost motivates me to try it.
Register for a class
I once met a guy in the Portuguese class I signed up for in order to better communicate with the long-distance Brazilian “boyfriend” I’d acquired on a trip to Rio. (I was in my twenties!) Other types of classes—none that I’ve actually finished, sigh—that gave me the opportunity to meet new people include a GMAT prep course, a sketch-comedy writing class, and a weeks-long vegan cooking course.
This tactic worked for my friend Marla. “I started taking graduate classes because I was bored with work, but through them I unexpectedly met someone who made me realize I had outgrown my current on-again, off-again relationship, too,” she tells me.
You likely don’t want to commit time and money just to meet a romantic partner, so don’t just think of these group educational experiences as opportunities to broaden your dating pool—more importantly, you’ll be broadening your horizons. (Plus, as Lupita Nyong’o points out, learning new things is a totally legit form of self-care.)
Frequent a health-food restaurant
My hometown is fast becoming populated with vegan restaurants, and they are definitely hotspots for mingling. Why? Because they allow like-minded people to meet organically in an inherently social setting. Sometimes, a girlfriend and I will eat apps at the bar in one of these joints, and conversation with strangers always ensues. These types of places are just more open, know what I mean?
You can employ this strategy at any kind of vegan, vegetarian, smoothie, salad, or even grain-bowl type of establishment. Try going it alone at lunch with a book, your journal, or some work—and see what cosmic, match-making magic might happen over your chikn-and-cashew-cheese melt.
To up your dating game, try taking a few empowering cues from the French. And if you’re not quite ready to stop swiping, here are some things you should be looking for in a partner, according to matchmakers.
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