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10 Things You Should Do to Meet Your Person in 2018 (None of Which Are Apps)

By / January 15, 2018
   Daisy Barringer
   Daisy Barringer

Meeting people is hard. There are apps, of course, but I think we all agree those are mostly a waste of time. And then there’s trying to meet people in real life. But I feel like all of the advice for how to do that is stuff like “join a club” or “volunteer at a charity.” Except, if I volunteer at a charity just to meet someone and then I do meet someone, I feel like that kind-hearted good soul is going to be pretty disappointed when I’m like, “Oh, I don’t ACTUALLY enjoy giving my time to help others; I was just trying to get laid. Wait… Is that a problem?”

Truthfully, all of the advice the experts give about how to meet a potential significant other is pretty useless. It all just feels so earnest and trite. But if you’re reading this, it’s ‘cause you’re sick of not having anyone to fight with over the remote control and also don’t really want to die alone. And I get that.

While I’m definitely not an expert, I have been doing this whole dating thing for a while, which, personally, I think makes me more qualified to dole out advice than some “matchmaker” or “dating expert.” And anyway, what do you have to lose?

So here’s my best advice for the stuff you should do if you’re really looking to meet the person you’ll spend the rest of your life asking “What should we eat for dinner?” in 2018.

@micki via Twenty20

Don’t Rely on Serendipity

Listen, I don’t want to be harsh, but if serendipity were the way you were going to meet your person, you wouldn’t still be single. It pains me to admit this, but if you want to meet someone, you have to work at it. I know, that makes me want to crawl into bed and hide under the blankets too, but it’s the hard truth, and going forward, wouldn’t it be nice to hide under the blankets with someone? And by “hide,” I mean… Okay, you get it.

Change Your Routine

You know where you haven’t met someone to knock boots with?. At Soul Cycle/the coffee shop you go to every day/your favorite wine bar/etc.

It’s very easy and comfortable to become a creature of habit, but if you want to see (and be seen by) new people, you’ve got to mix it up. It may feel uncomfortable (What will your fellow Soul Cycle cult members think if you don’t show up to your Thursday night class?!), but it’s an easy way to discover a whole new set of potential paramours… And, even if you don’t meet someone new, you’ll have discovered new awesome things about the place where you live, which is almost as good.

Ask Your Friends to Set You Up

One time, after I’d recovered from the demise of relationship, I sent an email to 20 friends telling them I was ready to be set up and outlined what I was looking for in a partner. My criteria included things like: must ski or snowboard; must watch NFL football, but not be a fan of the Cowboys, Seahawks, Patriots, Eagles, Cardinals, Rams, or Giants; understands the importance of sunscreen (I wish I were joking); orders dessert after dinner… the list went on. And on. And on. Mostly I was just trying to have fun with the whole thing, but it didn’t work because not one single person tried to set me up.

Hopefully your friends are better than mine, and if you put it out there that you’d like to be set up, they’ll deliver. And hopefully the person they deliver hates the Seahawks and knows the importance of sunscreen.

@lelia_milaya via Twenty20

Make Eye Contact

If you see someone you want to meet or if you’re talking to someone you’re interested in, look them in the eyes. Like, for longer than feels comfortable, even if it’s just a second. A normal face scan takes three and a half seconds and lingering for even one more second signals interest. After you’ve met and talked, if you want to show that you’re interested in a little more than chitchat, make eye contact for 10 seconds or more. If there was any sexual tension between you already, just wait to see what happens at the eleventh second.

Move Closer

If you see someone you want to meet, move closer. Not in a creepy way, but in a way that makes it possible for you to start talking. It’s hard for people to get up the courage to walk all the way across the bar; it’s much easier to strike up a conversation with someone who’s within earshot already.

And while I hate that I have to caveat any of this advice, when I say “move closer,” I am not suggesting you invade anyone’s personal space or keep following them around if they aren’t into you. I know that YOU would never do that, but there are some weirdos out there, so just want to make sure that’s clear.

Say Something

If you see someone you think is cute, talk to them. Ask them a question… Even “Can you believe this weather we’re having?” will do. It’s always lovely to offer a compliment, but just know that it doesn’t necessarily open the door for the person to say more than “thanks.” Also, this probably goes without saying, but, like, “nice ass” is not a compliment you should give a stranger. Even if it’s true.

@Vinokurov_Yury via Twenty20

Appear Unoccupied

Would you approach a person working on their laptop, frantically typing on their phone, or who’s sporting headphones? Then why would you ever think someone would approach you if you’re doing those things? I’m not saying that you should spend your entire commute trying to make eye contact with other people on the bus/train, but when you’re waiting in the line at the grocery store or sitting at the bar waiting for your friend to show up, do it without your phone in your hand. I know, just typing that made me very uncomfortable, but you’ve got to be approachable if you want to be approached.

Go Out Solo

Most people don’t feel comfortable approaching a group; after all, it’s hard enough just to approach one person. Try going out alone once a week—whether it’s to a restaurant, a bar, to see a band, an open mic night… see what happens when you show up solo. Just be sure to come off as approachable, which means appearing unoccupied (see above), sitting at the bar instead of at a table, etc.

It can feel uncomfortable at first, but with a little practice, it’s actually quite liberating. If going somewhere alone really scares you, try frequenting a local bar. Once you know the staff, it will feel less like going out by yourself and more like stopping by to say “hey” to your friends. Or like being an alcoholic. One or the other for sure.

Say Yes

Listen: I, more than anyone, understand how fun it is to sit on the couch on Saturday night and binge watch old episodes of “Gossip Girl.” But you’re not going to meet your Chuck or your Blair sitting on the sofa in your jammies.

If you want to meet people, you have to make time to meet people, which means you have to leave the house. Say yes to birthday parties, happy hours, playing in a softball game, going to a jazz club, dinner parties with friends, and, most important, to people who ask you out on dates. Sure, you might not meet someone you want to fall in love with, but at least you’re out trying. Which is really the most important thing to do.

Have Fun

I can only speak for myself, but I seem to always meet people in two situations: when I’m doing something I love or when I’m dating without expectations. I think both of those situations encourage a natural confidence that people find attractive.

So while I don’t want to end this by saying “be yourself” (I abhor a trite cliché), if you go out into the world, do the things you love, and present yourself as open to opportunities and possibilities, your person will think that’s attractive. And while you’re waiting for them to show up, at least you’ll be living your best life.


Daisy Barringer moved to San Francisco when she was six years old and though she considers herself a “local,” knows better than to ever call herself “a native.” She resides in the Upper Haight/Cole Valley, but spends a lot of time in Tahoe with her 150-pound Saint Bernard, Monkey.

More articles by Daisy Barringer



  1. While most of the info is interesting it might depend on the city you live in and honestly Boston isn’t easy to meet people…my opinion as a 50yr old woman of color..

  2. Linnear Hanna

    I loved this no-nonsense article of how to become proactive to get your desires met. I think, although challenging, the author waa correct in encouraging individuals to go out alone. Her baby step suggestion in how to get started with this task is wonderful. I have been able to do this, but have been unable to go to a club alone (3 attempts made and backed out of each one). Went back to drawing board , my dilemma locating safe and affordable parking near the venues I have selected – due to mechanical car issues I cannot use valet parking, my choice in the past. Reside in a Western suburb outside of Chicago. Again, I liked you article for its useable strategies.

  3. Thank you! I especially liked how you ended this w/, “go out into the world, do the things you love, and present yourself as open to opportunities and possibilities, your person will think that’s attractive. And while you’re waiting for them to show up, at least you’ll be living your best life.” Solid advice! And re: eye contact, as a hetero woman of color, the times I’ve been single, I had tried this and there really is slentning empowering about looking at someone. It makes me realize how as women were conditioned to not make eye contact and when we do, for not very long. I used to think flirting was about laughing a lot and tilting your head (not that I ever did that), but the simple act of eye contact communicates so much and is empowering at the same time. Thank you for these non app suggestions to meet people IRL.

  4. I feel you girl. And you might be lucky your friends didn’t set you up with anyone because the men my friends have set me up with were totally insulting and made me think that my friends clearly don’t know me at all. The two best men I ever dated I met at a bar. The first one I was standing by myself while my friend was at the bar getting our drinks and the second one was a night I went out by my self. It is true that when you are with your friends you are less approachable. If you are out with your friends, put the phone away and tell your friends to give you a few minutes and stand by someone you find of interest and yes make eye contact. For all you ladies over 40, I am 46 and know very well how hard dating is, at any age really. What I found was in some ways it doesn’t matter what you do, it’s how you think. I did not have very many good male role models growing up. I saw women not being treated right by men and got an earful of women complaining about men. I also did not have the best family. They really made me feel less than and that I was ridiculous in wanting what I wanted. There was nothing at all ridiculous in what I wanted and there was nothing wrong with me. They were just really messed up. But that conditioning has stuck deep in my mind. It takes work and effort to undo all those lies we have been told about ourselves and what we can have in life. Try this out and see what happens. Pay attention to your thoughts and whenever you find yourself thinking things like; men suck, all the good men are taken, I’m never good enough, there is always someone better than me, if he has the looks he doesn’t have the personality and vise versa, etc… Think about what the opposite to those negatives. Stop yourself and say, “No, there are a lot of great men and I will easily find the right man for me that is exactly what I want and I more than deserve it. ” Even if you don’t really believe it. Keep telling yourself you will have what you want. Eventually, you will start to find what you want and then it will become easier to believe over time. I finally did this and I so wish that I had been given this advice a long time ago.

  5. Hadiyah S.

    Great advice, and I really enjoy how it is centered around simply living thy best life 🙂 I also read it as advice on being more present with others in various public spaces whether a connection is made/relationship forms or not. Thanks Daisy for sharing!! Looking forward to checking out your other articles.

  6. This is too funny…Why???because the advice she is giving IS what I am doing now…even though I have not meant my person yet, I’m having fun…I’m going out on different nights instead of just Friday or Saturdays…I go out by myself…I’m enjoying being me…Yes, I still get lonely, but I’m trying to be less lonely…I feel like I’m validated in what I’m doing now…

  7. I meet my Prince Charming at the age of 61 years old on I am a black female living in Atlanta and thought I would never meet a decent guy.
    This has been 36 years in the making, but God family answered my prayers. I just hope my final prayer will come to fruition, that he will one day ask me to marry him before I’m in a wheelchair. PS I have never been married, no children and ironically he has never been married or have children. All I can say is keep hope alive and pray without ceasing. The struggle is real for black women though because if I had not met him, I was getting ready to have Jungle Fever!

  8. Hi. I took your advice and I’m (1) saying yes more often (2) breaking my routine of staying at home most evenings (3) going out solo (4) having fun. Still taking baby steps on (1) making eye contact (2) say something (3) move closer – but I’m getting there.

  9. Wowwww I’ve been thinking “I want to start back dating” I just happened to can across this and boyyy this I GREAT advice because I didn’t know where the heck to start. I do make eye contact when I’m out running errands but I QUICKLY look away. I will definitely stop doing that if I see someone I’m interested in. I don’t mind going places alone but never thought of it the way you explained it. Thx for that lil nugget. Now that I’m going to start back dating, I’m certainly going to be implementing your advice.

  10. Thank you – I used to go out alone and I haven’t done that in a while, I love your comment “being and appearing available while Living your best life” this was a great read and usable information even for a single Christian women in CT. 🙂

  11. This info sounds so good, positive, encouraging and uplifting to many singles im sure, including me, but to me its easier said than done in Boston and yes i’m an introvert probably to the

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