Remember when dating apps felt like the most exciting thing ever? Yeah, it seems like that ship has sailed for a lot of folks. These days, there’s a noticeable shift away from swiping left or right and more people are trying their luck in the real world, just like the old times.
Take Lacey, a 55-year-old social worker, for example. She kicked dating apps to the curb a couple of years back and now she’s living her best life, dancing the nights away at underground clubs in London. She’s meeting plenty of guys and loving it, saying the experience beats any app. And she’s not the only one feeling this way.
For a hot minute, dating apps were the end-all and be-all of finding love (or just a fun Friday night). They popped up in the early 2010s and changed the game. We all know the big names like Tinder, Bumble, and Hinge. But fast forward to today, and it’s a different story. Folks are deleting their profiles and looking for something more genuine. Even the big players in the game are feeling the heat with user numbers and share prices on the downswing.
Dylan, a 29-year-old from Toronto, is over it. He says dating apps feel like an “algorithmic doom barrel” (which sounds intense, but honestly, pretty accurate). And he’s not alone, especially among the younger crowd. More than 90% of Gen Z folks are just not feeling the dating app vibe, according to a study by Savanta.
Even the people who seem to have options on these apps aren’t having a great time. Sophie, a 33-year-old writer in London, got tons of likes on Hinge. But instead of feeling flattered, she felt overwhelmed and ended up ghosting everyone, which left her feeling guilty.
It’s not all doom and gloom, though. Some folks are getting creative and trying new ways to meet people. Kevin, a pharmacist in Nottinghamshire, is giving the Pear ring a shot. It’s a ring you wear to show you’re single and open to meeting someone. It hasn’t worked wonders for him yet, but he’s hopeful.
Then there’s Katy in London, who’s ditching the apps and challenging herself to flirt with someone new every day. She’s having a blast and says it’s helping her reconnect with people in the real world.
She tried Tinder and thought it was even worse than the rest, and even gave Raya a shot. You know Raya, right? It’s this fancy-schmancy “private community” where all the cool kids and celebs hang out. Lily Allen found her hubby, David Harbour, there, and big names like Ben Affleck and Matthew Perry have been spotted on it too.
She laughs as she tells about her experience trying to get on Raya, saying it was too exclusive for her. “I just gave up. I was holding onto these stories from friends who found love online, but it was time to let that go,” she says.
After a year of trying to bump into Mr. Right in the real world, she’s decided to be more proactive. She’s reaching out to friends and acquaintances to play matchmaker for her. She admits it’s tough to say out loud that you’re unhappy being single and looking for someone, but she’s learned it’s the best approach.
“You have to be picky, though, because friends can sometimes set you up with the wrong people,” she explains. She’s been on a couple of dates with musicians through friends, and one of them seems promising.
There’s a guy named Jeevan too, a 30-year-old IT worker. He’s considering the idea of letting his Indian parents set him up, something he never thought he’d do. “Time has caught up with me, and I’m ready to meet someone now,” he says.
Clare, a 38-year-old from Bath, shares her journey with online dating and how she’s now looking for more personal connections. She’s been on and off various dating apps, always quitting after a few months because meeting total strangers just didn’t feel right to her.
She explains, “People are more magical in real life. Online, you might swipe past them, but in person, there’s just something more.” Clare has tried slow dating and even attended a workshop called “The Art of Flirting,” which she found to be a confidence booster.
She’s now interested in trying out events where you bring a single friend along. The idea is to create a relaxed environment where you can meet new people without the pressure.
Interestingly, the demand for these face-to-face events is on the rise. Data from Eventbrite shows that the number of singles events in the UK has doubled since the pandemic started. People are craving physical connections and getting tired of the dating app grind.
Events are now catering to specific groups and interests, and some are even adding a twist, like naked speed dating or drunk Jenga. For those looking for something low-key, there are also meet-up groups like the one Stef joined when she moved to Paris.
Lucy Webster, a political journalist, shares her negative experiences with dating apps, highlighting the unpleasant comments she received about her disability. “It encourages this awful, unacceptable behavior,” she says. She’s decided to step away from online dating and found her mental health improved significantly.
Many readers shared that they’ve found contentment away from the pressures of dating. Erica Smart from Banbury gave up dating apps a year ago and has never looked back. She’s at peace with the possibility of remaining single.
Emma Chappell, 42, is focusing on doing things she enjoys, like choir and nature walks. She’s open to the possibility of meeting someone but is content living her life in the meantime.
The overall vibe of this part of the article is a mix of frustration with dating apps and a hopeful turn towards more personal, real-life connections. There’s a sense of optimism among those who’ve decided to step away from the online dating scene and find fulfillment in other areas of life.