3 Simple Steps You Can Take To Meet The Love Of Your Life — No Dating Apps Required

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I met my boyfriend, Al, through a mutual friend who brought me up to Boston for New Years Eve weekend. When my friend and his friend had too much to drink, we sent them home and got to know each other over a few beers in a corner bar that I’m pretty sure keeps its Christmas lights up all year long. 

My friend met her husband of three years when she took a leap and decided to study abroad in London. They lived across the hall from each other and did a stint of long distance before he decided to move to America. He still jokes that he’s her favorite “souvenir.” 

And another friend of mine met her husband of five years when her dad, a principal of a local high school, fired him. He was a beloved basketball coach and it caused a literal riot, so she reached out to him via Facebook to apologize. They went to dinner and decided they were going to get married pretty much that same night. 

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Now, if you’re single and looking for love, those stories probably made you smile and roll your eyes simultaneously. Those stories seem like the exception to finding love, not the rule. And the rule, nowadays, looks a lot like this. 

You, signed up for more dating apps and websites then you can count on one hand. 

You, going on so many bad dates that the idea of having a good one doesn’t seem physically possible. 

You, constantly updating your profile and changing your bio because maybe “down for anything” is giving the wrong impression. 

You, always having to tell your mom to stop sending you articles about meeting people in real life because dang it mom, WHO MEETS IN REAL LIFE ANYMORE. 

People do. I did. My friends did. In fact, most everyone in relationships I know did. 

Despite all the worry and effort we put into dating apps, most people still meet offline. In fact, a 2016 study found that only 5 percent of Americans who were in a committed relationship or married met each other online. 

And 88% of Americans who have been with their partners or spouses for less than five years, say that they met their significant other without the help a catchy bio or an enticing profile picture. 

While the hopeless romantic in you might find that comforting, the logical part of your brain might be panicking. If there’s a greater chance of meeting someone in person than online, then where the heck do you go? 

Well the beauty of it is that you can meet someone literally anywhere. All you have to do is make the most of the opportunities that are presented to you and keep your mind open to the possibility that there is at least one person on this god-forsaken planet who you can get along with. 

So quit your pity party, and listen up. Here's how to find love offline: 

Step 1: Evaluate your circle. 

Where have you met most of the people in your life, both platonic and romantic? Is it at work? Your weekly pottery class? Through your family? 

Now think about the most special relationships in your life. The people who you care about the most. Where did you meet them? 

The friends and family we hold to the highest regard often share similar qualities that we’re looking for in a partner. Rather than putting your energy into the insanely wide, and unreliable 5- to 50-mile radius Tinder gives you, focus in on the top three places you’ve met your favorite people. 

And in addition to that, think about where you’ve met your worst, most toxic relationships and friendships. While you don’t have to completely disregard anyone you meet out at a bar after last call, you should definitely proceed with caution if it’s where most of your bad relationships started. 

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Step 2: Nurture your circle. 

Most people met their significant others through mutual friends. 

A study by Mic conducted in 2015 found that 39% of people met their partner through common friends and 22% of people met them while out in a “social setting.”

So start friend-ing! Growing your friendships! Meet up with your girls every week, reach out to that friend who you haven’t talked to in awhile and focus just on being social. Not only are people more likely to want to introduce you to someone if they, well, like you, but having more friends and things to do significantly takes the pressure off dating. 

When you’re surrounded by your friends, you’re more relaxed and approachable if someone interesting joins the group. And when you’re in the early stages of dating, the anxiety of him not liking you is less likely to bother you because you’re always busy doing something fun. 

It’s a win-win. 

Step 3: Grow your circle.

In addition to nurturing your existing friendships, focus on finding some new ones. 

Join a networking group or start learning a new hobby. Do literally any and everything that interests you and gives you the opportunity to meet more people. 

Because yes, you could meet your next boyfriend in a new acro-yoga class. Or, you could meet his sister. 

Either way, put less focus on “finding a boyfriend” or “getting a girlfriend” and put more on just having fun.

And with that, comes more opportunities to meet someone awesome. 

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Emily Blackwood is an editor at YourTango who covers pop culture, true crime, dating, relationships and everything in between. Every Wednesday at 7:20 p.m. you can ask her any and all questions about self-love, dating, and relationships LIVE on YourTango’s Facebook page. You can follow her on Instagram (@blackw00d) and Twitter (@emztweetz).