What’s the best way to meet mature singles nearby? Opinions on this topic can get quite passionate.
One the one hand, there are plenty of skeptics about online dating and dating apps. On the other, there are others just as frustrated from trying to meet older singles via traditional offline networking.
Online vs. Offline Places to Meet Senior Singles
Here on our blog, we routinely see people venting about one dating method or another.
For instance, some folks swear they’ll never use dating sites again. Others say it’s impossible to find dates via traditional offline methods. Others who have given up on finding compatible singles often blame it on a lack of eligible older singles in their area.
But there are compelling reasons to use a mix of methods to meet singles, no matter where you are searching geographically, or where you are in your dating journey. The reason for frustration often lies not in the online or offline method, but in how they use them.
Allow me to explain.
How Singles Meet Today is Different
For those returning to dating after a lengthy absence, it’s no secret things have changed. Heck, dating has changed considerably in just the past five years.
No single women or men over fifty can expect to date the same way they did in their youth. (Nor should they, if they’ve matured at all.) Dating expectations, based on youthful memories, can easily lead to frustration upon re-entering the singles scene.
This chart illustrates a Stanford University study that shows how heterosexual couples met their partners in 1995 versus how they met in 2017. The changes are significant.
As of 2017, 39% of heterosexual couples met online. That’s up from only 2% in 1995!
They also found that 65% of same-sex couples meet online.
Regarding offline ways to meet, only one method showed an increase:
- 27% at a bar or restaurant (up from 19% in 1995)
The remaining offline ways to meet declined:
- 20% through friends (down from 33%)
- 11% at work (down from 19%)
- 9% at school/college (down from 19%)
- 7% through family (down from 15%)
What does this mean for singles who want to meet other singles?
One tenet from the business and marketing world is that you never rely on one method to get customers. If that one method goes bust, so does your business. More methods means a more stable business over time.
The same applies to meeting singles for dating. Don’t rule out one or the other until you give them a fair shot.
Just because one method is trending down does not mean it won’t work.
There are reasons to consider both.
Pros and Cons to Offline Dating Methods
Think about this for a minute: how many eligible singles can we meet from our social circles?
There’s a thing called Dunbar’s number from studies by anthropologist Robin Dunbar. He claims the average human can only maintain stable social relationships with a maximum group of about 150 people. That’s all our brain can handle.
Within this social group, the central person knows every person in the group and how they relate to each other. Of that group, only about five will ever be close friends.
So, what does that mean to our ability to find a partner through our circle of friends? Well, it’s limited, to be sure.
Sure, if each of those 150 people has 150 people in their social group, that’s 22,500 people you can theoretically reach.
However, there are three reasons why most of these people will probably never hear about your desire to meet singles.
First, no one else has your best interest at heart, like you do for yourself. If a friend says they’ll help you in your search for dates, they probably intend to. But it will never be their top priority. Their life is number one on their agenda. They’ll help you when they can, and when they think about it.
Second, even the most generous of friends will tire of trying to set you up after a while.
Third, they don’t really know you like you know yourself. So, they’ll be searching for partners who they think are right, based on their perception of you and of the potential date.
The other downside to dating referrals from friends and family, unlike online dating, is you don’t get much of a get-to-know-each-other period before that first date. That all happens on the blind date itself.
Also, going on lots of blind dates takes a lot of time.
On the plus side, there are dozens of places to meet singles that can be a lot of fun.
Doing activities that you enjoy is its own reward. It’s a great way to take care of yourself. And taking good care of yourself makes you more attractive to the right partner.
If you happen to meet someone, consider it a bonus. Just don’t pin all your hopes for meeting someone on any given hobby or activity.
Pros and Cons to Online Dating Methods
There are several good reasons to include online dating sites and apps in your attempts to meet singles.
First, as mentioned, online dating is now the number one way couples connect. This means that if you don’t use any online methods to meet singles, you’ll miss out on a big population of eligible singles in your area.
Second, online dating sites and apps let you target personality, hobbies, interests, personal preferences, habits, and location. You can fine tune your search without relying on someone else’s judgement about who might be a good candidate for you to date.
Third, online dating saves time. You don’t have to leave your home until you’ve had several communications with prospective dates. This saves you from well-meaning but uncomfortable and time-consuming blind date situations.
Fourth is diversity. The online singles population is diverse, probably more so than your close circle of friends. You can meet people you might never meet through your inner circle.
The downside to online dating is that it takes some work.
- Your dating profiles have to be complete.
- You must know what you want in a partner. What’s acceptable? What’s not.
- You’ll have to communicate.
- You’ll need to be proactive to get good results. Don’t rely on the dating app or site to send you perfect matches every day.
- There are scammers online. But these are easy to avoid if you follow best practices recommended by the dating sites themselves.
Keep in mind that all of the “negatives” I just listed, except for dating profiles, also apply to offline dating.
Final Thoughts on How to Meet Singles
Statistically speaking, I could say that online dating is the best way to meet singles.
However, I always return to a less scientific, “multi-channel” approach.
Remain open to finding compatible singles from anywhere online or offline. The more ways you use, the better your odds of finding great singles near you.
For example, before I met Daisy, I was one of those online dating skeptics. I got online to try a couple of dating sites and it wasn’t long before Daisy reached out to me.
It turned out that although she lived right across the street from me for several years, we had never met! If I’d have stayed away from online dating, we would have probably never met despite living a couple hundred feet away from each other!
When we close ourselves off to avenues for meeting a romantic partner, we can miss many golden opportunities.
Lastly, remember that the one thing that never changes is human psychology. The “how-to” (the tools) of meeting singles have changed and will continue to change, but humans remain the same.
Whether it’s on the other end of a dating app, or across the table on a blind date, there is always a unique, living, breathing human being with a lifetime of experience. Enjoy the person and the moment.
Share your stories about how you met in the comment section below. What’s working? What’s not? Our readers would love to hear!