The question you posed—Is it still possible to meet people in real life?—is a thought-provoking one with all kinds of nuances.
One particularly amusing nuance is that even when we do meet someone in real life, we often proceed to back track to communicating online in order to solidify a connection before re-entering the real world with more courage.
Case in point: Recently, my landlords had a male friend visiting from Winnipeg. As we often do, we got together for dinner. I met their friend in the flesh, and together we researched the most humane way to kill a crab for our seafood feast dinner, had some drinks, some laughs etc.
A day later, with him staying directly above me in the same house, there we were, you guessed it, Bumbling (As a sidenote, I don’t recommend matching with someone residing in your own home. When they knock because they heard you making a racket, pretending you’re not home or not available isn’t really an option). (I’m kidding: Come back soon, Ed).
But seriously, it’s an actual thing to meet in person and then move to online communication—be it Bumble, Hinge or social mediaI. Essentially it means we no longer have to muster any courage when we meet someone who intrigues us IRL, because we know we can go home and do a quick online search and stock and plant a seed in a safer zone, as we cowardly hide out behind our screens.
Reverse online dating aside, let’s take a look at my numbers to see if I can reach a conclusion to your original question:
The number of people I have met for a date who’s origin stemmed from an online website or app of some nature:
150 + (Keep in mind, I was an early adopter who started at the age of 21, no less than 14 years ago). So, I will draw the conclusion that dates are readily available through website and apps and such.
However, of those 150 men, the number that have turned into anything masquerading as even remotely significant = 2.
2 out of 150. Low batting average, indeed.
Now, if we look strictly at my long-term committed relationships, as well as somewhat committed relationships that lasted at least multiple months, that number is 7.
This means, 5 of these 7 men I met in real damn life!
But here lies the problem: Beyond those five men, how many other first dates have I had with men I have met in real life through the years? Not very many. Maybe 10.
The point is, without the dating apps, I could very well go weeks, even months at a time, without even a glimmer of romance in my life. So even if 135 of the 150 first dates from app men I have experienced were completely unmemorable (with another dozen or so peaking some interest before resolving of their own volition relatively quickly in one way or other), at least I have experienced the odd dash of a spark here and there.
Here comes a bigger question: Is it worth it for a mere spark?
I would argue no. And when I dig a little deeper, I think it becomes apparent that the promise of endless matches online has led me to be less inclined to give anyone a chance (see my post about the guy who called me Buttercup)—online or otherwise. And I don’t think I’m unique in this matter. I think app dating simply makes us less willing to give anyone a real shot, because there’s always another option just around the corner that might be better. Not only that, it probably even makes us less likely to bother trying to talk to people in real life—because of the apparently infinite number of candidates on the app.
Thus, while counter intuitive, it seems online dating—although it’s based off the very concept of there being a never ending inventory of men—makes us less likely to find a match than if we were to embrace the scarcity of the real world.
Alas, my final answer to your question: It might only possible to meet someone in real life if you ditch the app! (Mind is blown).
This brings me to your last question: Where does a girl go to meet a guy?
I’ll let you know, because I’m hitting up a 25 dates event early in the new year. I have a feeling a whole new can of worms is about to be opened. Will circle back with the verdict.