How To Date Without Traditional Dating Websites | #facebookdating | #tinder | #pof

 

The ways in which we form relationships are ever-changing and heading into 2021, I predict they’ll change even more. People are finding the added benefits of being social online, using platforms like Facebook for more than just touching base with mom or grandma. If you’re like me, then you enjoy scrolling through your feed and catching up with others, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re ready to fully put yourself out there, only ready to test the waters. Here are a few ways you can do that without setting up an online dating profile on a traditional dating website or app.

Change Your Social Networking Activity

We’ve all heard the saying, “familiarity breeds contempt” and guess what? That’s true for your social media networks, too, especially traditional dating websites. If you live in a little big town like me, you’re likely to see the same faces pop up randomly in your “People You May Know” or “Instant Matches” windows. Instead of packing up and leaving home, huffing and puffing, why not wipe your slate clean and stay where you are? Sometimes people mistake a craving for change in scenery with a craving for change in interaction.

On my old Facebook profile, I had around 1,000 friends, with impersonal connections to about 75 percent of those people. Once I completely deleted my old profile and began adding strangers with similar interests (either from their bios or work listings), I saw a huge response to not only my personal profile, but my business page. This was within six months of deleting my old profile (my new profile only has around 250 people, but I’m interacting WAY MORE with that smaller group). I initially did this to promote and brand a new product I created. While I was marketing that product, people within my audience were reaching out to me via messenger, striking up conversations about my magazine launch (an arts-based startup offering content on the indie circuit). That led to conversations starting with “Let’s grab a cup of coffee, you seem interesting and I’d love to learn more.”

Many entrepreneurial article writers will advise you to scrub your existing social media activity, but few advise you on how to clean your act up to look presentable to potential suitors. That’s why my advice is to not overthink it, save your old content to your computer, and wipe your slate clean on a new profile completely. Choose who you want to be from the get-go and brand yourself from there. Showcase your best assets and personality traits online, without feeling encumbered by “little big town” syndrome or your social media activity from dating history’s past.

Join Unlikely Online Communities

Before I tried joining a traditional dating website, I found an online community of people who shared the same love for food that I did. Dining out is a universal experience, and what better way to socialize than at a private dinner or cooking class? Yelp is an online community of foodies from your city that want the skinny on new business, and depending on how many reviews you post, you might even land a spot in the Yelp Elite. This club of foodies receives special promotional offers to local businesses before the general public gets the scoop.

Yelp isn’t limited to food, however; the first time I was asked out on a date outside of Facebook was at an in-person Yelp Elite fitness class. A new boxing club opened up in my town, and the club (our attendance was around 8-12 members) was invited to try a free class. This is a great tool for people who are a little more reserved, but want to break out of their shells by exploring the town within a small group setting. Similarly, there are apps like Meetup, another great platform to use, because unlike Yelp where users gain followers from review postings, Meetup users do not publicize any direct links to others. No past? No problem!

Make Yourself Visible IRL, Too

Within our digital communication-frenzied society, some people still find it hard to believe that true connection exists offline. My advice is this: Bring a book to a quiet pub, sit at the front of the bar, and read by yourself. Or better yet: Bring a sketchbook to a park, sit in the middle of the park, and draw to your heart’s content. Connection is only possible if you’re open to it. Make it easier for people to find you, not the other way around.

Body language speaks volumes, and non-threatening, nonverbal language is a hook, line, and sinker for potential suitors. You’re communicating to the world that you have your own interests, you’re confident enough to treat yourself to a night out without being swarmed by people, and that you truly can have a good time being yourself, by yourself. The same goes for group settings, too: Do you like going to seminars, book clubs, lectures? Be the first to raise your hand and ask a question. We’re a society that judges others on our contributions, so offer up yours and let nature take its course.

This post is republished on Medium.

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