Let’s start with the obvious - dating apps can be extremely weird and awkward… but they can also work (if you do them right).  Still, they shouldn’t be the only way you meet people.


“hi.” “how was ur day” “<eyes/wave emoji>” “<copy/pasted pickup line>”.


Anyone who has dared the wild world of Hinge, Tinder, Bumble, etc has either sent or received some variation of those mindless vanilla intros.  And accounts like “Tinder Nightmares” and their ilk paint an even bleaker (albeit humorous) picture of the dystopian dating app scene.  


So why do the apps fail more often than not?  Why does it sometimes feel like the exact same empty  experience over and over again? Why do these apps leave so many people frustrated and feeling like it is a second job?


For a few reasons:


  1. Connection, shared interests, personality, and chemistry are the things that matter - and you can’t get those through a phone

  2. In-person community interactions are a much better way to get to know someone

  3. 30 quasi-blind app dates are not worth 1 community sourced connection


That’s why, despite the ease of online dating, many people are moving toward another more effective way to meet friends and potential partners - IRL community.

What is IRL community?


Almost everyone has had a great IRL (in real life) community at one point - high school, college, a soccer team, band, rock climbing crew, etc.  It’s that “in real life” social circle of people that you see on a regular basis, mixed with the larger group around them that lets you meet new, and exciting people who share your interests.  It’s how you meet people who challenge you, inspire you, introduce you to new things, and help you grow.  It’s how new businesses, travel adventures, and even relationships often get their start.


However, the sad truth is that for many people, once they graduate their social circle begins to shrink as friends move away, and they never truly find that new community.  So they settle - for friends, for experiences, and occasionally even for partners.  And sometimes, that’s when they let dating apps replace community for their social life.

Why should community come before online dating?


Online dating is not some great evil, but at the same time, if you let it take over it can leave you feeling lonely, frustrated, and like you’re missing out on life.


Imagine getting off of work and already having a bunch of plans in your group chat.  No organizing, no bored Netflix nights, just new adventures in an exciting city, hanging out with friends and meeting a ton of new ones.  On the weekends it could be a road trip to a winery, white water rafting, underground immersive theater experiences, huge social brunches, etc.  Going somewhere with people who are into the exact same things you are, without any of the awkwardness that so often accompanies meeting new people for the first time.  That’s what a great community brings.


Connections do not just happen in a vacuum though.  They’re built, piece by piece, through experiences and deep interactions.  It’s difficult to get to know someone over text or over that 1-on-1 bar conversation that both of you have probably had a thousand times.  But when you’re in a book club, at a music festival, on a ski trip together, chasing adventures and exploring new things, you get to know people on a more meaningful level. 


Community gives you things that online dating never will be able to, and it helps you grow into a happier, more fulfilled  person that ultimately more people would want to date.

What are the best things about meeting people through community?


  1. It’s exciting
    When you meet that person, get to know them over time, and realize there’s a spark - it feels so much more real than deciding you’re in a relationship because you’ve been on 5 dates with your tinder match.

  2. Relationship vs. Never see them again
    You don’t have to decide over 1 hour whether you want to date that person or never see them again - you can take your time and get to know them.

  3. Experiences and people
    Instead of going on 1 million dates at that same bar, you’re doing things you enjoy and meeting incredible people. Many of whom will stay in your life regardless of whether there was a romantic spark. It doesn’t feel like wasted time.

  4. Reputation
    On dating apps, it favors people who treat dating like a business, and there’s no consequences for liars or jerks.  In a community, if you’re a scumbag, it comes back to bite you quickly.

  5. Money and time
    When you factor in the swiping, weeks of texting, and first dates, apps take up an incredible amount of time and money with little in return if it doesn’t work out.  Instead of all that - you can meet 50 people who have similar interests from your community in a weekend and decide if you’re interested in any of them without awkwardness or effort.

How to find your community


The best way to find your community is to find your interests.  You may not know those yet - which means it’s time to experiment!


Find a friend or two and make this the month of discovery.  Join a scuba diving class, an entrepreneur club, a ski and snowboard group, a sushi making class, stop by the “Explorer’s Club” (fyi, it’s pretty amazing), etc.  Or, find a large community organization that runs a bunch of activities, bring a few friends, and start meeting people through it.


But the most important thing is - don’t quit.  Find something you enjoy, and make sure you push yourself to join.  Meet people, make connections, get their info, invite them out, and put in that effort to join something you love.  You never know when you’ll meet someone who makes you forget about dating apps.


And consider joining us at Better Off for some incredible experiences with our amazing community.

See also

What Are Better Off Experiences?

Better Off Experiences - What they are and how they work



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