Raised on Tinder, but looking to grow up...
January 22, 2017 2:34 PM   Subscribe

Extensive use of online dating apps in NYC has led to a warped sense of what it means to "date". I'd like to break the cycle but it seems to be all I know.

I'm a straight mid-20s man living in NYC. I've been using several online dating sites / apps for the past 4 - 5 years, really have grown tired of the transient and hookup driven culture that seems to come along with these apps.

Decided to spare everyone my special snowflake dating history but in summation; my experience has been 1) there is extra reluctance to get to know someone when there are endless other options just a swipe away 2) matching based mostly on mutual physical attraction with no shared interest or experience or network leads to only one night stands or devolves into a physical relationship only

Reason for me posting here today is that I feel like I don't know how to meet people other than using a dating app. Seriously. Sure I can make small talk with someone at a bar or an event but that might be the extent of my experience. I have some social anxiety which is why I have so heavily gravitated towards these apps (they take away the initial risk of rejection and just makes things much simpler - both parties are presented to each other with implicit mutual attraction).

For those of you out there that meet new people socially - how do you do it? Not sure if it is harder or easier given I would like to meet people around my age (23 - 26ish).

Looking for young professional organizations or clubs to join, different activities to consider, and most importantly... how to "handle myself" once I find myself in a situation where I could be meeting new people. Not sure that I feel totally comfortable trying to get to know someone even if we met at an event or activity we had a mutual interest in, but I am committed to trying. Open to all advice.
posted by Funky Claude to Human Relations (3 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Is there any shit you like to do, that you could plausibly do with people? Running, cooking, reading, carving little ducks out of soap? It sounds like what you need is something you enjoy in and of itself, that gives you an opportunity to meet people and get to know them a bit before being presented with the question, "Want to bang? Y/N."

The way you handle yourself is to pick a thing you like anyway, go in with the expectation of talking to people about/learning more about that thing, and if in the course of that you come across someone you're attracted to you go from there. Worst case scenario being, you meet some people who also like the things you like, even if you end up not wanting to date any of them.
posted by Diablevert at 3:05 PM on January 22, 2017 [5 favorites]

Best answer: It's been some 20 years since I was a single male in my 20s in NYC so take that into context here. It was before really any online dating existed at all, and at the time I most certainly would have welcomed some of the easy hook-ups you say apps have afforded you. Not that I don't empathize with your complaint about the superficiality of it all.

So what did I do to meet women at the time? I flirted with them to see if I liked them and if they seemed to like me. If I sensed they might be receptive, I asked for a phone number or gave them mine. Sure, it wasn't always easy. I'm not really a natural flirt, and when you ask someone out, you're making yourself vulnerable. But I got better at it and had fun with it. In the end, what do you have to lose by asking someone out? Maybe she'll say no, most likely in a roundabout way. Maybe you'll lose a little face. So what? Of course the good news is maybe she'll say yes.

Like many things in life, it's a numbers game. The more you put yourself out there, the more likely you'll get some dates, and the more dates you get, the more likely you find someone you really connect with.

The girlfriend I had in New York I met at a small club with a DJ. We ended up dancing near each other and ended up talking. At the end of the night, I got her number, and called her a few days later probably. It's was as simple as that. We ended up dating for a couple years. Of course, there were many rejections or lame dates before her.

You say you can make small talk at a bar or an event, and that's great. That's the beginning. Build on that. Be open and interested in people. When you sense a connection with a woman, even a suspicion of one, try to take it to the next level. Admit you'd like to get to know her better. Ask for her number.

It might be good to choose events or places where you're likely to run into the same crowds repeatedly. A quick word with a woman the first time you see her could lead to a longer conversation the next time.

I'd say your age group is a great time for this. There are plenty of parties and events for people in your age group. Your peers are still open to meeting new friends and widening their horizons, which can get more difficult as you get older.

Practice flirting. Ask a women out. Politely take 'no' for an answer, but realize many times the answer will be 'yes.' Take it easy and have fun with it all. Good luck!
posted by Leontine at 9:12 PM on January 22, 2017 [3 favorites]

Also, try a different dating site. (I'm a woman in my early 30s in LA, and a big fan of OkCupid, but offbeat enough that I didn't get a lot of attention on the site.)

There will still be a huge number of people who aren't looking for a relationship (a factor of your age and location), but you can filter who you contact and engage with based on how they fill out their profile and how they answer questions. It's not perfect, you're still limited by how each of you use the tool, but at least you know ahead of time that the women are approachable.

You can game the time-sink/endless supply of matches by limiting yourself to evaluating 10 profiles per session. (Sort by top match percentage, evaluate the top results, contact the ones who interest you, hide all of them (prevents them from showing up in your search results, but does not limit their access to you), start over another day.

By all means, get out there in social situations. But remember that flirting with people in public is still based on attractiveness and not much else, and making friends with the possible goal of dating is either creepy or a very very long process.
posted by itesser at 11:35 AM on January 23, 2017

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