How to Meet People In Real Life (Instead of Online)

I am so excited to officially announce our newest column, the dating advice column Asked & Answered. (Because I could definitely use some dating and relationship advice…and I have a feeling other people could do regardless of their current relationship status.) We can all work to improve our relationships. I’m excited to have my new friend Stephanie Cuba leading up the series. We met up for lunch and she has some great advice. I’m excited for her to share it with you! Do you have a relationship question? Email Stephanie at Our first question is about how to meet people in real life (instead of online).

How to Meet People In Real Life (Instead of Online)

How to Meet People In Real Life (Instead of Online)

Dear Asked & Answered,

Hinge, Tinder, Bumble.  You name it, I’ve tried it.  If I go on one more online date, I’m going to lose it. I really want to meet someone, but I’m so discouraged. I’m thinking about hunting offline in the real world, but I don’t know where to start.  Please help!

-Offline in NYC

Dear Offline in NYC:

I hear you.  Online dating gets exhausting. And the online part actually drags out the process.  Swiping, texting, emailing, texting some more—and you haven’t even seen him!  Ironically, meeting the old fashioned way can be more efficient—you certainly see each other sooner.

So with summer near, it’s time to step away from your phone and exit the building.  No more digital dating.  Shut down your computers and turn off your tablets.  It is time to take the virtual out of reality.

The greatest thing about living in any city—especially NYC where I notice you live—is there are so many people to meet.  That’s also the worst thing about it.  You need to narrow it down.

Step one is to think about yourself and what you like to do. It’s easier to connect with someone over shared interests.  And common sense says if you want someone who likes what you do, go do those things.

Scan this list of things to do with real people—and pick three you can easily see yourself doing.


Especially as the general election nears, volunteer for a campaign. Besides making a difference, it’s easy to start up a conversation and plenty of team tasks to get done.


Go to a reading, popular in any city, especially in bookstores and libraries but also museums and bars.


Whatever your faith—or lack of it—most religious groups welcome new blood.  Especially if you are religious, these events are great filters to narrow your search.

Food and Drink:

An abundance of offerings for every taste, from high end cheese to evening Prosecco tastings at your local wine store. Pop in!


If you prefer action to watching, take a cooking class—offered in many locales beyond formal culinary schools like restaurants, bakeries and gourmet food stores.


Combine your desire to give back with your interest in dating by volunteering. Try soup kitchens or shelters when you have a Saturday morning free or work on a benefit for a steadier role.

Spectator Sports:  

If you have a favorite team, go cheer them on at a popular sports bar. If you don’t have a favorite, go anyway and learn why people do!

Team Sports:

Most cities boast multiple single, co-ed sports groups or running clubs or biking clubs—join the fun for both organized events and training.


Many cultural organizations—museums, operas, symphonies, libraries—offer discounted rates for younger members invited to attended events and social gatherings. So a lot of the work is done for you!

University Clubs:

These are hot spots every night of the week, for alumni and others alike, so check out their events or drop into their lounges.


Going back to your high school or college reunion does not mean only catching up with classmates but making new friends from old faces: that scrawny editor of the yearbook may now be an accomplished and handsome journalist.

Long as this list is, it is only partial—think of family events, summer share houses, weekend barbeques and the rest. But as you think about these ventures and make plans, here are a few principles to guide you through the hunt:

Creep Outside Your Comfort Zone: 

I say creep for a reason. Don’t join a skydiving club if you are afraid of heights. But do something you wouldn’t normally do. If you like to bike but are sick of the Loop, join a club or go on a bike trip. Take whatever activities you enjoy to the next level.

Baby Steps: 

Take it slow. Choose one thing to do per month. That way you can choose wisely and not get overwhelmed.

Dress the Part:

Whatever event you chose, dress for it.  If it’s a reading, dress up a little. If it’s a soup kitchen, dress down, but pay attention to what you wear. You never know where he may be.

Modest Commitment Necessary: 

While some class registrations require multiple weeks of commitment, many events are one-off commitments or perhaps two.  Try it out. Just once. No need to go back or buy a series. But try it.

Be Bold: 

If you want something in life that’s worth anything, you need to take a risk. When opportunities present themselves to meet someone, you must step up. For instance, a great way to meet someone is at a wedding. If you don’t have a boyfriend, don’t take a friend, go it alone.

One of my favorite match stories featured a woman stuck at a dud table during a reception. She wrote a note on a napkin to a handsome man at another table: “I’m stuck here, but I’d rather be sitting next to you.” Upon receiving the note, he looked around and saw her smiling at him and took her out on the dance floor. And the rest, as they say, is history.

If you attend events and parties that you enjoy, you will be your best self which makes you ripe to meet someone. I know because I met my husband at my favorite place in the world:  the beach. To find out the great story how we met, keep reading this blog post over the coming months! My name is Stephanie Cuba, and I’ll be answering your questions about love, relationships, marriage.  Whatever you want to talk about, I’m game.  (Just send me an email at

Truth be told, I was pretty late to the marriage party, which gave me an enormous amount of experience in this department. I can tell you in all honesty, that I met a guy at almost every venue I suggest above. I was late to the party because I was waiting for my match. I found him. And if you open your heart and mind to the possibilities that lie ahead, you will too.

Stephanie Cuba is a blogger, writer, lawyer and real estate developer. Stephanie is writing a novel about finding love as well as a book about the early years of marriage. When she’s not juggling her career, friends, marriage and two little girls, she loves to mess up the kitchen creating culinary masterpieces and cupcakes.

Image via Style Me Pretty.

16 Responses to How to Meet People In Real Life (Instead of Online)

  1. Harriet says:

    Great post–inspires me to get out “there” in the real world.

  2. Whitney says:

    These are all great recommendations! Getting involved and out there is one of the best ways to find friends or romantic partners!

  3. Tracy Schwartz says:

    Ok now this is a series I am very interested in. I’m over Match, JDate, Tinder etc….

    Thanks for the recommendations. Excited for more advice!

  4. Morgan says:

    Cause, cooking, and faith are GREAT ways for me to meet people!! I’m no necessarily against online dating, I just feel it isn’t for me. I love your ideas for good, healthy ways to meet people IRL!

    How 2 Wear It []

  5. Cristina says:

    Love this new column! I met my boyfriend IRL in school and I’m so glad it happened that way! We really got to know each other by having things in common like loving our school football games and having mutual friends that we enjoyed hanging out with.


  6. Anna says:

    This is such a great column, especially for someone like me who’s been in the dating pool for a long time with no luck! I loved the story at the end about the couple at the reception!
    -Anna |

  7. Stephanie says:

    These are great tips and ideas! Since I don’t really think online dating is for me, I will definitely have to keep some of these in mind!

    Stephanie |

  8. Jenny says:

    Love this! Although I have found my life partner, this post will totally come in handy for those who haven’t.

    xoxo, Jenny

  9. Michelle says:

    Such great tips–I think some can be applicable to just making new girlfriends! I live in a really small town so my boyfriend and I are always looking to meet new people and expand our friend circle. Thanks for sharing!

  10. Sarah says:

    Met my current boyfriend at a going away party! I always try to never turn down an invite to a birthday or holiday party – they generally bring different groups of people together who all have a friend in common and an automatic intro (and person to gut check).

  11. Annaliese says:

    Haha I am soooo single at the moment so this is a great post 🙂

    xoxo A

  12. This has got to be one of the hardest things to do. I always feel overly pushy starting up a conversation with someone new.

  13. Her advice is spot-on! We tend to get so used to hiding behind our phones and computer screens that we forget it’s possible to meet people the old-fashioned way! I wish I was living in a city where I could just go out and meet someone like this! My community is way too small for that 🙁

  14. Amy says:

    Such great tips! Def applying this into meeting new friends!
    Amy | Pastel N Pink

  15. Oksana says:

    Ha, so funny to think that we live in a world where we have to remind ourselves how to meet people in real life vs. the online world… LOL

  16. Tiffani says:

    I love these tips! While I’m in a relationship, some days, especially lately, I’m dying to meet new girlfriend and it is so hard! I will definitely be keeping these tips in mind!

Comments are closed.