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How to ditch the dating apps and meet someone in real life

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 2/6/2019 Laura Hampson
a person sitting on a couch © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited

While London is home to around 8.7million people, meeting new people can be tough. Finding someone you like enough to date or be in a relationship with can be even tougher.

For this reason, many people have turned to dating apps to make process of finding a bed buddy that much easier. In fact, a recent study by of 5,000 Millennials found that they spend an astonishing 10 hours per week on dating apps alone.

Men racked up the most time on dating apps, spending 85 minutes per day on them – with an average session lasting 9.7 minutes, while single women spent an average of 79 minutes per day sorting through the dating minefield.

Before dating apps, there were dating websites and before then people – shock, horror – met each other in real life.

While this still does happen, it’s easy to fall into the comfort of a dating app and forgo trying to meet people in person.

Dating Coach, Hayley Quinn told the Standard: “Dating apps have changed how we date - in my opinion for good and for bad. As the people you meet online are more 'randomised' you meet people outside of your immediate social circle which has the ability to make us more connected, with wider friendship groups. So in a strange way dating apps have increased our ability to meet people via our social network, which was traditionally the dominant way people met.

“However with all the perceived choice that's on the 'dating market' people are taking longer to commit, and are also decidedly more 'flakey' when it comes to meeting up. It's important to remember to look out for people online who seem ready to meet IRL versus being just a really bad pen friend.”

a woman posing for a picture: (Hayley Quinn) © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited (Hayley Quinn)

While dating apps are one way to meet someone, Quinn advises you should use different avenues to meet new people.

She added: “Dating apps can introduce you to lots of new matches but they won't build your confidence like a hobby, or be as emotionally rewarding as going out with your friends. Dating, like pretty much any goal in life, requires some time and consistent effort. Simple changes you can make is arriving 15 minutes early (I know!), trying to visit one new place a week, and putting your phone away to give people an easier signal to talk to you.”

So, what is the best way to meet someone in real life?

Going to a bar doesn’t need to be the only way to meet someone, and living in London means there are plenty of opportunities to find someone with common interests.

Quinn explained: “London is full of opportunities to meet people: I always like to encourage people to think outside of the box and not be limited to bars or single's events. For instance look at events listings in areas that you like. Chances are if it's a ticketed event that's more social and doesn't scream 'date night' there will be single people there.

“I often scour the ‘what's on’ guides for my clients. Late night openings at museums and galleries are another sober way to connect to more people. Failing that just focus on leaving the house. I know this can be challenging in the winter but take your laptop or book down to a nice coffee shop instead and smile if someone attractive sits nearby. “

What about if you are naturally shy?

The key is in non-verbal cues, Quinn explained: “There is a lot of quiet power in shyness, you just need to know how to work it. Focusing on non-verbal cues (moving closer to someone, eye contact, smiling) is a great minimalist way to encourage more people to say hello to you. Especially with modern dating people need a clear signal that you're open to talking.

“Hobbies are also amazing. If it takes you a little longer to open up to people then building out a new social circle via a hobby like dance, bouldering, martial arts, or even meditation can mean that you get to know a new crowd of people.”

What is the best way to approach someone?

Again, this is where non-verbal cues come into play.

“The best bet here is to first get a non-verbal 'okay' from someone to say hello. This means the next time you swap glances and smiles with someone you then need to put one foot in front of the other and move closer to them. Say 'Hi' or 'Excuse me' first to make sure that you have their full attention before you start speaking,” Quinn advised.

“An ice breaker after this can be simple. Instead of feeling the need to say something really witty just focus on being clear, speaking slowly and smiling. You can do anything from asking a detailed question, 'Hey, I know this is a little awkward but would you be able to take a photo of me and my friend? I've been meaning to visit this bar for ages..' to 'Hey, I just wanted to say, I like how we're clearly the first to arrive, I'm Tom by the way...' or 'Hey, I know this is a little unusual but I wanted to say you have great style, it really stands out in a good way...’”

You can find Hayley Quinn on Instagram and YouTube and contact her via her website.

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